Tobruk is several hundred miles away from Benghazi, the first large epicenter of the revolt, and even farther from Tripoli, the Libyan capital. But local activists felt wired into the revolutions going on far beyond the borders of their nation, even though foreign newspapers were never for sale in Gaddafi's Libya and websites were often blocked, says Gamal Shallouf, a marine biologist who has joined the newly fledged opposition. While the Internet has been down here since the revolution started, the regime's inability to shut down new-media innovations entirely has been key to spreading Libya's revolt.
"Generally, in Libya before this, there was no media," explains Shallouf. "So if Tobruk made a revolution, [the government] would spend three to five days killing us and finish the revolution. Nobody in [larger nearby communities and cities] al-Baida or Darna or Benghazi would have heard about it. But now with al-Jazeera and Facebook and the media, all of Libya hears about the revolution and is with the revolution. They know about it. They think, 'I am Libyan, this is my family, so I will go to the street to fight for them.' "
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