Darkness and light in Tahrir Square, a red phosphorescence glow interrupted by the camera flashes and the glowing screens of mobile phones. I wasn’t there, and yet I know how each one of the Egyptians felt, gathered last night in downtown Cairo. I, who have never been able to shout and cry in public, overwhelmed by happiness that the cycle of authoritarianism under which I was born has ended, I know I would do the same until I had no voice left, I would hug everyone, I would feel light as if a huge burden had fallen from my shoulders. I have not experienced a revolution, much less a citizen revolution, but this week, despite the caution of the official news, I have the sense that the Suez Canal and the Caribbean Sea are not so far apart, not so different.
While young Egyptians were organizing on Facebook, we were watching with consternation the leaked chat of a cybercop, for whom social networks are “the enemy.” This censor of kilobytes and his bosses have every right to fear these virtual sites, where as individuals we can meet outside the controls of the State, the Party and the ideologues. Reading the words of the young Egyptian Wael Ghonim, “If you want to liberate a country, give it Internet!”, I understand more clearly the secrecy our authorities display regarding whether or not they will allow us to connect to the Web. They have become accustomed to having an information monopoly, of regulating what comes to us and reinterpreting for us what happens both within and beyond our national frontiers. They now know, because Egypt has taught them, that every step they let us take into cyberspace brings us a step closer to Tahir Square, leads us quickly to a plaza that trembled and a dictator who resigned.