Tens of thousands continue to take to the streets of Cairo, Egypt in an effort to end President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year authoritarian rule. Elsewhere in the world, there are people who are disproportionately more concerned with the average Egyptian's ability to communicate with them than with what drove the average Egyptian to the streets in the first place.
These people have moved the issues of Egypt's unemployment, high food prices, and government corruption to the back burner. They are instead focusing on how to get the Internet back up and running in Egypt—and to what end? So the average Egyptian can communicate with citizens of the world who will in turn come a-runnin'? No, it's so those outside Egypt can resume feeling good about themselves by virtue of feeling bad for Egyptian citizens when they read their Twitter posts and see their Facebook uploads.
This is tantamount to walking up to a burning home and instead of heeding the residents' cries for help, hurling cell phones at them so they can call you and talk about the experience.
It's okay to say, "I feel helpless in the face of what these people are now enduring on top of their unemployment, high food prices, and government corruption." It is not okay to hide this feeling behind a self-righteous campaign wielded from one's device of choice and say, "Their most important tool is communication—with us!" No, they're already communicating with the man who hasn't addressed their issues. That's not you, Desktop Dan.
Egyptian citizens have already been robbed of their most important tools by their own government. Unless you have a job, affordable food, or an honest government leader hiding in your pocket, you're of no use to anyone in Egypt—or any other citizen of a destabilized nation.
Despite growing enthusiasm for remote-control revolutions, they are ineffective and unproductive. At best, communications will do little more than send a lot of people scurrying to the Internet to find out the correct spelling of the country in question and make others in the world aware of what's happening—assuming the communication is in a language you personally can understand.
The monolingual militia need remember that while many Egyptians (and other citizens in need around the world) do speak English, the bulk of any communication coming directly from an Egyptian citizen is going to be in Arabic. You could swing a lot of dead cats 'round the States before hitting anyone who understands Arabic.