An extraordinary wave of people power is flooding the Middle East, but autocratic regimes are responding with violence -- and Egypt-style internet blackouts. Let's blackout-proof the protests by providing satellite communications technology and support teams to key organisers:
Across the Middle East -- in Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, and more countries every day -- autocratic regimes are trying to crush unprecedented peaceful protests with brutality and blackouts. These countries are poised on the brink between liberation and enormous bloodshed -- and the protesters' ability to reach the eyes of the world could determine the outcomes.
Avaaz is working urgently to "blackout-proof" the protests -- with secure satellite modems and phones, tiny video cameras, and portable radio transmitters, plus expert support teams on the ground -- to enable activists to broadcast live video feeds even during internet and phone blackouts and ensure the oxygen of international attention fuels their courageous movements for change.
The window for us to deliver this help is closing fast, as regimes are moving quickly to choke off borders and internet connections. Small donations from 10,000 of us would fund critical technology and support teams for those who need it most. Let's chip in to empower those now carrying the destiny of the Middle East in their peaceful hands -- donate now:
The amazing live-feeds from Cairo's Tahrir Square vitally sustained public support and broadcast the Mubarak regime's shameless violence against Egyptian demonstrators. As we watched the scenes of protest from around the world, hundreds of thousands of us signed the Avaaz solidarity petition--which was announced on Al Jazeera to ensure Egyptians knew of the world's support. Today, Egyptian protest leaders say that knowing the world was with them helped spur them on and helped stop moments of violence from becoming bloodbaths.
As Egypt's internet blackout deepened, Avaaz and partners worked to send satellite internet equipment to organisers there. Now, Bahrain is scrambling to implement its own internet clampdown -- and we have the chance to provide critical support to ensure the blackout can't succeed. The communications equipment and support teams will help leaders to broadcast locally to organize rallies, communicate with other activists around the region, and provide information to the world if there is a blackout -- providing an essential counterweight to regime propaganda, and a form of protection to demonstrators through increased exposure and prominence.
And if media outlets are kicked out, protesters could keep a livestream of information flowing across the internet. With the needed funds, Avaaz can immediately dispatch equipment and world-class expert teams to the Middle East.
Every day, the protests grow and the crackdowns escalate in violence. Organisers say the next few days are critical to the survival of these democracy movements and that our support is essential. Let's all donate now and provide tangible solidarity to this inspiring explosion of people power.
There are moments in history in which the impossible becomes unavoidable. Like the dissolution of the Soviet Union just before its fall, the changes sweeping the Middle East were unimaginable to most a month ago. But people power has a logic and timeline all its own. While many of us may never step foot in the Middle East, the hopes of its people are interwoven with ours and those of the world. In moments like these, it is inspiring to know that our solidarity, in hope and action, can play a small part in big change.
Stephanie, David, Alice, Morgan, Ricken, Rewan, Maria Paz and the rest of the Avaaz team
Bahrain, Libya and Yemen try to crush protests with violence – The Guardian, 18 February 2011:
Internet use in Bahrain restricted, data shows – New York Times, 18 February 2011:
Clashes rock Bahraini capital – Al Jazeera, 17 February 2011:
Crackdown against Protests Continues as Yemen Boils – Yemen Post, 16 February, 2011:
Algerian founding father urges reform – BBC News, 17 February, 2011:
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