Anthony Scopatz

I think, therefore I amino acid.

Exodus Reality

Shit has gotten real in Egypt.

The typical commentary about democracy, Tunisia, Wikileaks, and ElBaradei (a personal hero of mine) is available elsewhere.  Here I will try to give you the anarcho-cyber-feminist take.

The revolution should succeed for all of the reasons people generally think that it should (populist, anti-corruption, public empowerment).  Moreover, the reasons people generally feel that it should fail (instability, lack of a powerful replacement, uncertain postpartum relations with the US and Israel, formation of religious rather than secular state) are quickly disappearing.

However, what is striking about affair from an information age perspective is not what inspired the demonstrations or how the government tried to prevent them.  What is absolutely incredible is that despite the government’s attempt to create a digital wasteland in their own country, they have effectively failed.

It is true that large swaths of the people do not have internet or mobile access.  But even if 1 in 1000 people figure out a way to semi-consistently, tweet this appears to be enough.  News is flowing into, out of, and internally to the country.

Consider if the same thing were to happen in the US, where the populous is generally more technically capable.  The degree of revolutionary organization would likely be much higher.  The road to revolution is likely paved with ham radios and shadow networks.  It is a historical irony that the US military’s gift to the world of TCP/IP is now being used in an open source way as a tool against another government’s regime.

As with every revolution, both the replaced and the revolutionary must question what the overthrow buys.  Was the pain worth the price?

If one looks at gender relations in Egypt (not a subject on which I am an expert), I do not think that much will change.  The suffrage proof is in the suffering’s pudding.  In all of the footage I have not seen a single female protester.

This is not to say that there are not any, or perhaps maybe I simply missed them.  Still, this is an Egyptian man’s revolution.   Naturally, I don’t claim to understand all of the subtleties going on here.  (Maybe mothers are urging their sons to go out and protest…)  Relatively speaking, Egypt has been fairly progressive on women’s rights.  Thus a male-lead revolution is cause for concern.  I doubt that the Egyptians social policy will regress.  However, I am not holding out hope for vast improvements coming out of recent events either.

Contrast Egypt with imagery from the Tunisian revolution where women are clearly present.  This discrepancy may be due to the Egyptian situation, by all accounts, being more dangerous and the police using greater amounts of force.  Still, history shows that agency is something that one must fight for.  Though I can not rightly say what I would do if I were an Egyptian woman, I urge them all to go out and get while the getting is good!