Why yes, I will make an analogy between Gaddafi and a resort manager

the "up north" region

So here I am in a lovely cabin approximately four-ish hours north of the apartment.  I believe this qualifies as the “up north” region of Michigan.  I’ve accomplished the mandatory country road run, lake time, waterfront magazine reading, and general lounging and have decided my laptop was feeling a tad neglected and that I needed to do some writing and research about this whole internet shutdown topic that I am focused on.  Great, except that I couldn’t get the internet in the cabin to work.  oooo look how ironic I’m being right now……

Never mind the fact that I am on vacation with the family in the middle of nowhere and perhaps shouldn’t be concerned about internet access.  Sorry, it happens to be an important subject that I’m working on and a quiet cabin is a rather nice place to work.  In fact, I think I would like an away from the office-office someplace like this.  My productivity and creativity and all other appropriate ivities would sky-rocket, I’m sure.  Anyway, after convincing the resort owner to reset the modem, I got my wifi fix.  And then it went out.  And then it came back.  Fingers crossed.

There’s nothing quite like a lack of internet to underline my dependence on it.  It’s frightening, honestly, how much I, and the majority of our society, has come to rely on this single piece of technology.  Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian who created the Facebook page credited with starting the Egyptian revolution, said:  “If you want to liberate a people, give them the internet.”  The opposite rings just as true.

When I mention to people that I’m doing research on internet control/shutdowns, the initial response is usually somewhat confused facial expression.  I follow up with an explanitory “you know, similar to what happened in Egypt or what’s going on in Libya”.  It’s surprising and somewhat worrisome how many people either don’t know what I’m talking about or take a few more memory triggers to remember.  Your know,,,  January 27, Egypt’s former leader pulled the plug on the nation’s internet…  less than a month later Libya’s Gaddafi followed suit.  Seven months have passed, and the internet in Libya remains severely limited.  Ring a bell?  Anything?

I suppose it is almost offensive to compare my lack of vacation wifi to extreme government control, revolutions, and tragic civil wars, but the underlying principle is the same in all scenarios:  The internet is powerful, and those who control access to it are powerful people, whether that person is a dictator, AT&T’s CEO, our president, or the owner of the cabin that I’m sitting in.  Not an issue to be ignored…

-your self-professed internet addict,  Alissa Jean

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