A letter to me

Posted: February 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

Dear onfield,

Wow! People from over 100 countries have signed our petition to Vodafone and Orange/France Telecom urging them to restore internet and mobile phone service to Egypt. Before these vital lines of communication were cut, we witnessed the Egyptian police shooting unarmed protesters and journalists, torching the streets, and hurling cans of tear gas at protesters. Who knows what other human rights abuses have taken place under the shroud of this information blackout.

While Vodafone and Orange are feeling the heat, Mubarak’s government clings to power. A million Egyptians are mobilizing for a massive demonstration on Tuesday. It is time for President Obama, who controls America’s massive aid budget to Egypt ($1.5 billion just this year), to take a stronger position in support of freedom and justice.

Right now, President Obama is reviewing US-Egypt relations. Let’s call on him to make US aid conditional on the Egyptian government reopening the free flow of information over the internet and phone networks and honoring the Egyptian people’s demands for true democracy:


Since 1979, the United States has donated $50 billion in aid to the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. Much of that aid has been used to purchase military goods, including American-made tear gas and grenades used this week against innocent people. So far President Obama hasn’t made foreign aid conditional on a restoration of internet and communications access in Egypt and a full commitment to holding free and fair elections.

In this era, open access to the Internet and communications technology is central to the defense of democracy and the protection of human rights. The Internet blackout in Egypt not only poses an immediate threat to the safety of the protesters, but also stands in the way of their vision for democratic reform. Real reform in Egypt cannot happen until there is real freedom of speech, and freedom of speech will not be possible until the internet and mobile phone networks are switched back on.


Last year Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “Both the American people and nations that censor the Internet should understand that our government is committed to helping promote Internet freedom. We want to put these tools in the hands of people who will use them to advance democracy and human rights…” It is time that all our elected officials be held accountable for their words and their deeds. Please sign this petition to President Obama urging him to defend free speech and democracy in Egypt:


With hope,
The Access Team

Access is a global movement for digital freedom. To learn more about us go to: https://www.accessnow.org/about

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