Internet+ COIV-19 Lock Downs

While we all have been trying to fit with the new lifestyle abruptly influenced and shaped by COVID-19 pandemic, then comes the internet lock down since the 30th of June 2020. Life has become really tougher. Throughout the COVID-19 lock down period, internet has been the get go for some of us who stayed home or to spend time with after the work hours. Attending webinars, reading, listening and watching what people has to say across the web was the new normal since the virus has been declared a pandemic.

Following the killing of Hachalu Hundesa, the famous Ethiopian singer and freedom activist and one of a kind in my generation, on the evening of 29 June 2020, Ethiopia once again locked down its internet services. The data network is re-opened today after 24 days of closure. The killing of Hachalu is by every measure unacceptable and there is a lot more reason for people to express their anger. It hit me to the core and I 100% get it and shared it. Unfortunately, the aftermath is equally unacceptable either. The incidence clearly shows the extent of how todays’ youth becomes vulnerable for manipulation in the easiest way possible. It is my hope that people has taken a lesson even if in a wrong way.

When it comes to the internet shutdown, if people are dying in the presence of it, there is no way I question the actions of the government. It has to protect citizens’ wellbeing and it has to take every measure and action possible to ensure law and order. After all the incidence has put the wellbeing of many fellow citizens in dire situation, damaging properties and killing hundreds of them.

The only follow up question I seek to ask now is how long and how often shall we have the luxury of closing the internet down? Instead of building our defense system in a more proactive way, I have a sense of feeling that we lazily prefer to mercilessly shut everything down to almost become synonymous to a default means for every major incidence that to happen in the country. Coincidentally, the pandemic has already frozen most of the services that need internet connectivity, (for the exception of the selected few who tried their heads up to digitally stay afloat), and it may not have a bigger economic impact for now, but how long?

Back to the current subject line, in the first few days of the internet lock down and while I was wondering if connection could quickly be restored, I suddenly left with so much time to spare where I was not prepared what to do with it at all. My normal routine was shuttered yet, I should strive for another life routine still within the context of the larger COVID-19 pandemic. I did not foresee both COVID-19 pandemic and the internet shutdown, yet I have to get my ass up and keep going. Because that is life.

Strangely, for the first time since I own one, I find my smart phone less relevant in my activities. It only serves for basic calling and being a watch at most. After waiting for a couple of days, almost after a despair, I tried to find new ways including going back to old days’ routines such as spending more time with family, reading printed books which were forgotten on the shelf, reviewing offline digital resources and so on to survive the days.

In this double lock down period, my reflection tells me that I am so conditioned to browsing that motivating myself to go through fully offline resources takes so much of an effort in the beginning.

A decade and half ago, when I was in a college, one of our professors used to tell us that we should keep lessons in our memories while we were there, at school, as his sincere advice to let us know that we would not have so many reference materials or books in our professional life once we left school. Soon after we left school, internet, which the professor neither have the luxury during that time nor he foresaw its eminent emergence, becomes slowly abundantly available, and his advice was not more than just a joke for me up until this time.

Fast forward, this double lock down period took me back to a time when that professor envisioned to us back then. How would we behave in the absence of internet services and what would have been the consequences?

Change has always been in the world and so does adaptability of human creature except that both accelerate faster and at a scale we have never imagined before. After all, what change is more difficult for us than putting ourselves in to a box after we had all the freedom to go anywhere anytime? My own personal reflection over these two incidents thought me that we are indeed adaptable creatures for almost every change the world has thrown upon us despite the hick ups at the beginning. Not only this one. This double lock down period has also thought me that I have indeed been grasping too much and unnecessary information that I find it is not good for my memory and personal health

First published on Showing Up ^ Exposure Matters

Project Manager, Renewable Energy Investment, PPP and Business Development Practitioner, Energy Access at the Core as a Primary Driver for What I Do.