MacGyvering the Revolution: DIY Mobile Tech vs. State Power in Syria

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As Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on Tuesday, in a so-far vain effort to convince Assad to end his army's mass-homicidal internal offensive, GlobalPost's Annasofie Flamand and Hugh Macleod spoke with three Syrian activists, now in Turkey, for a segment on PBS NewsHour last night. One of them, Omar Maquad, a 31-year-old journalist from Daraa, gets into the cat-and-mouse game he and others like him have been playing to keep anti-government networks connected via social media, despite intensive regime efforts to shut them down -- e.g., cutting off electricity by the grid:

It was like a war, but, for us, we use our camera. And for them, they use their guns. And we need to -- to film everything for media, because we are alone inside, no one to support us, no one to film what is happening exactly in Syria. ... We got a problem with the batteries because our batteries are running out, and no electric to recharge your equipment. So, for phone calls, we create a new way. It's actually simple way to recharge your phone. We used to -- a glass of water with two batteries Duracell or something else. This already exists everywhere. We use it, keep the batteries in the water for one hour or 30 minutes. Then you put the USB adapters inside the water and start charge. That's how we charge the mobiles.

The full bit below:

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J.J. Gould is the editor of TheAtlantic.com. More

He has written for The Washington MonthlyThe American ProspectThe Moscow Times, The Chronicle Herald, and The European Journal of Political Theory. Gould was previously an editor at the Journal of Democracy, co-published by the Johns Hopkins University Press and the National Endowment for Democracy, and a lecturer in history and politics at Yale University. He has also worked with McKinsey & Company's New York-based Knowledge Group on global public- and social-sector development and on the economics of carbon-emissions reduction. Gould has a B.A. in history from McGill University in Montreal, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. in politics from Yale. He is from Nova Scotia.

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