Today, at 12:26 (Damascus time), every single one of the 84 IP address blocks in Syria became unresponsive, effectively cutting off the entire nation from the Internet. Almost every single person in the country is without access to the easiest and most modern method of spreading information and connecting with the rest of the world. A few people, including foreign field reporters, have access to satellite phones, but the ability to communicate with people inside the entire country has been effectively disabled.
Unfortunately, this is a somewhat common occurrence within recent years. Last year, when Egypt and Tunisia did the same thing within their countries, the UN released an official report condemning blocking internet access as a human rights violation, saying “Indeed, the Internet has become a key means by which individuals can exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, as guaranteed by article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
The Internet is a powerful place. Utilizing it, an entire nation of Minds can feel connected and protected by the rest of the world. They can organize themselves and change the world. When cut off from it, the nation becomes vulnerable to oppressors and internal conflict.