Friday, 25 March 2011 | By: Julie

Keep your fiends close and your enemies...shut down

What does The Odyssey has to do with Libya?
Why, then the military intervention of the Alliance in the Arab country has received that name? Maybe the absolutely  illogical procedure that The Pentagon has for operation names is to be blamed. But does a name really matter? Of course it does! Not more than the action itself, but as a reference to a serious conflict, we cannot just use a word combination that “means nothing”. And although there are much more serious problems to worry about now, people are amusing themselves analyzing the name:
I guess this could be quite funny for us as well. But one thing that we pay a bit more attention to is the relationship Libya-Internet. Or maybe I can generalize here and say repressed countries-Internet. Seems that shutting down the Internet is becoming the latest trend in revolutionary countries. Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya, everyone is doing it! Why leaders fear the power of the web? Rebellions do not start online, but obviously what people may say and see on webpages, social networks and global sharing communities is of vital importance. At least for the dictators, who in order to prevent any trouble (on the Internet as well) just prefer to cut the cable.
Col Gaddafi has a history of systematically repressing all kind of media freedom, starting from the closing of his own son’s newspapers, through the arrest of various journalists, to the blocked access to YouTube and other independent sites
Source: Google Transparency report

From the beginning of the unrest of the Arab countries and especially seeing what role did social networks and blogs played in the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, Libyan leader became aware of what might the consequences be for him and hurried up with action.
The uprising in Libya began on the February 16th and after trying to completely ban all the foreign journalists, authorities tried to prevent locals to report the events on the Internet by cutting it off. February 18th is when they literally repeated Egyptian history, shutting down all the servers. Since the country is part of Reporters Without Borders’ list of Internet Enemies 2011: Countries under surveillance, everyone was keeping watch over Gaddafi’s every move. Renesys were the first to confirm the official disconnect and to report live action.
Source:Foreign Policy

Source: Foreign Policy

The desperate situation led hundreds of thousands of people to leave Libya and to try to find refuge in Tunisia or Egypt. There they could tweet their current situation or at least to post some videos of the revolution.
But Internet access was soon improved, traffic resumed to normal and reports showed that the cut-off in question was just a kind of a curfew that wouldn’t harm the domains. Nevertheless social websites as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube remain shut down.
What we should worry about? Stupid names, access to Twitter? Taking into consideration what is happening now in Libya the thing that least matters is Gaddafi’s decision whether or not to block Internet. Yes, world has to know what is going on. But world also has to know there is a war down there. Seeing everyone’s intentions it’s not going to be a short one. Get ready for the Odyssey. 


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