EGYPT. Phones and internet are down in Egypt. But Hossam, a young journalist from Cairo, has managed to connect through a proxy server and to answer some questions through the Facebook chat, shortly before the Friday prayer.
(Original article published in the Swedish Daily Göteborgs-Posten)
Hossam is a journalist and works as a programme chief at one of the several Egyptian commercial channels. He has 782 friends on Facebook. Only three of them were online on Friday morning. But none of them was from Egypt.
– It feels strange, this has never happened before. A friend helped me set up a proxy so I can be online but not everyone can do that.
– Can we call you?
– No, the phones have been down for two hours. I have lost contact with all of my TV teams. We can talk on Facebook. These are the biggest demonstrations since the start of Mubarak’s regime. That is why they apply such tough measures. They are worried.
Hossam compares the situation in Cairo during Friday morning with “the calm before the storm”.
– There are no people on the streets. After the Friday prayer, the volcano will erupt.
The Friday prayer is held in all the mosques in Cairo at noon. Hossam believes that the demonstrations will be held in all the districts of the city.
– I hope that millions of people will march the streets and put pressure on Mubarak to resign. People want new elections, constitutional and economic reforms. If we can’t remove the dictator, maybe we at least can deliver our message.
– Are you afraid?
– I should be. The police and the army are much stronger here compared to Tunisia. And they have already arrested over a thousand people.
Demonstrators will be joined by Mohamed El-Baradei, former chief of IAEA and possible presidential candidate. What role does he play?
– He is just looking after his own interests. We have no hopes invested in him. He arrived only yesterday. Where was he before?