During the early nineties, I traveled to Poland with my parents to visit the rural village where my dad grew up and where he eventually lost his family and his home. As part of the trip, we visited a concentration camp. While every aspect of this tour was moving and upsetting, I was most shocked by what I saw outside the fences that surrounded the camp.
I saw homes. On hills. The concentration camp was in a valley and in each direction I could see more and more houses built on the raised dirt that completely surrounded the killing factory where I stood. These neighbors would have constantly seen and smelled the plumes of smoke.
As I stood at the center of camp I wondered if things would’ve been any different if the whole world was watching. Not just knowing. Watching.
Nearly two decades after that trip with my parents, I am staring at this computer screen and I realize that I am living on those hills.

Tweetage Wasteland : Is the Internet God?

It is rare that the most important piece of equipment in your bag is the bag itself, even more rare for that bag to be a black plastic trash sack slung over your shoulder as you walk past pro-government thugs on a bridge over the River Nile. The trash bag’s purpose, of course, is to conceal your large nylon camera bag, which is likely to get you grabbed off the street by the aforementioned thugs.

What Not to Bring to Tahrir Square: Stephen Farrell Learns to Pack a Smaller Camera Kit – NYTimes.com

This containment strategy has worked. By politically encircling the protesters, the regime prevented the conflict from extending beyond its grasp. With the protesters caught between regime-engineered violence and regime-manufactured safety, the cabinet generals remained firmly in control of the situation. The generals that now man the cabinet also sought to wage a war on the non-protesting population, and they did so without firing a single shot. As the state framed the demonstrators as troublemakers, non-protesting Egyptians experienced the uprising’s effects. Banks have been closed since January 27, ATMs have been emptied of their cash, and the prices of food and staples have slowly risen at a time when school is cancelled, offices are closed, and curfews are in effect. Similarly, the Internet and cellular networks were shut off and have been patchy at best since their return. Although some of these citizens may have sympathized with the protesters initially, their mood appears to be shifting. People are tired of being cooped up in their apartments, made anxious as their stockpiles of food and money decrease, and they are ready for a sense of “normalcy” to return. Ironically, the normalcy they pine for resembles the police state so many tried to banish just thirteen days ago. This method of wearing down the non-protesting public seems just as strategic as the violence employed on those airing their grievances in the streets.

Egypt’s Democratic Mirage | Foreign Affairs

We teach these tactics to governments. Is it any surprise that they use them?

To be clear, I don’t believe that Egyptian security forces trained at SOA; instead, we provided them with weapons and money and then asked them to torture people for us.