I followed a tweet this morning to Al Jazeera English. As its live stream loaded on my computer, I heard the roar of Egyptian military jets intimidating the crowds of protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. On my radio, in the background, was NPR News. I hadn’t heard anything about the jets from NPR. That’s when I knew that Al Jazeera English was the best source of news from Egypt.
I watched AJE’s stream the rest of the day. I’m a radio head – I don’t own a TV – so this was a departure for me. I sample 24/7 TV news once or twice a year when I’m stuck in a hotel room somewhere. Half an hour of CNN once or twice a year is enough to convince me that I have better ways to invest my attention. But I was riveted to the continuous live shot from Tahrir Square, even though I could see little of it. I could hear the people roar with defiance as the helicopters and jets buzzed them. I felt like I was watching the Russian Revolution. Maybe Gil Scott Heron was wrong. The revolution will be televised. Gimme a ticket to the Finland Station!
The sound of the jets sealed the deal for me. F-16s fly over my house every day. Their mission, as the euphemism goes, is “defending our freedom.” Their mission in Cairo today was drowning out freedom. My response on Twitter: Who pays for deafening fighter jets terrorizing Cairo protesters? We do.