Google and Twitter re-launch 'Speak2Tweet' to aid isolated Syrians


Friday night generated the strength and longing of Syrians who reside outside their country to unite their voices across the globe through social media networks to show their support to family and friends inside Syria as the country enters its second day in internet and telecommunication blackout.

Twitter and Google were the first amongst the list of social media outlets to aid Syrians inside the country echo their voice to people outside as the two companies joined forces to re-launch the once-started “Speak2Tweet” service which was first launched during Egypt’s 25th of January revolution almost two years ago.

As the Syrian regime muzzled citizens from delivering to the world their suffering and graveness over the massacres the Syrian Army is committing towards the people, Google along with Twitter are trying to help.

“In the last day, Internet access has been completely cut off in Syria,” said Google communication senior manager Christine Chen in an interview with Al Arabiya. “Unfortunately, we are hearing reports that mobile phones and landlines aren’t working properly either.”

Chen explained this service works by dialing the international numbers provided by Google from any landline or mobile phones and the caller leaves a voice message which is then posted on Tweet2Speak page that people are able to listen to. Internet connection is not required for this service to work.

Although phone connections are also are suspended, some Syrians were able to call and get through.

On Speak2Tweet, one male left a message from the Syrian city of Hama in a message directed towards Syrian President Bashar al Assad, “No matter how much you will try to oppress us, we will not be silenced, and we will survive.”

More than 30 voice messages have been twitted during the first day of re-launching the service. Some of the voice messages left were from people outside Syria trying to send their support and encouragement through using this service.

“We first launched Speak2Tweet in January 2011 during the Internet blackout in Egypt. The service has existed all this time -- it is not new -- but because of the situation in Syria we are letting people know that it is available again,” Chen explained

Syrians residing outside

Worries and unanswered questions regarding the fate of families and friends inside the country led Syrian expatriates to demonstrate their moral support using today’s communication means by recalling upon history when Egypt was under the British airstrike during the 1956 Suez War where the airstrike destroyed the main transmission antennas for the Egyptian radio north of Cairo.

A Syrian radio broadcaster surprised the world when he went live on Radio of Damascus to announce “Here is Cairo from Damascus”.

History seems to have repeated itself.

After confirming the blackout of all communication resources in the country, Syrians across the globe used social media such as Twitter and Facebook to post supportive messages as they evoked upon history.

“Here from Amman, from the heart of Amman, this is Syria. We will not give up even if Damascus is under your raid, we will not give up,” said a man outside of Syria in a voice message on Speak2Tweet.

Although the U.S. Embassy in Damascus was closed down more than six months ago, the official Facebook page of the embassy showed their support to the oppressed Syrians in the hope of providing them with strength and posted, “Friends in Syria, the inter may be shut down, but we can still hear you. Leave a message on Speak2Tweet.”

Thousands of posts were made over Facebook Friday night from Syrians in different parts of the world hurt and broken over the massacres and destructions done to their people and homeland.

In one post made over Facebook, a Syrian male living in Canada has been starving to be fed news from his parents in Aleppo said “Because all means of communication in Syria have been suspended, and despite the efforts the regime makes to distance us from our land, Syria will forever live in our hearts… from all around the world, this is Syria!”

Syrians living inside the country also do not have the capability to communicate with their families or friends who live in different cities, as the regime continues to do every possible action to terminate any source of newsfeed or leaks.