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The Lens of War: How Mobile Phones Have  Changed Warfare Forever

"Throughout history, successful armies anticipated the future, adapted, and capitalized upon opportunities. Due to the advantages provided by their connectivity, adaptability, and convergence, smartphones today are already making significant changes in civilian applications."

This quote comes from Ernest Wong of the Modern War Institute. When most of us think of warfare, particularly modern warfare, we imagine the weapons used to deal actual physical damage; guns, grenades, tanks, missiles, gas. 

All of these are still used in the warzone but, in recent years, an invention created without any intention to be used in combat has completely altered the battlefield: the smartphone! Turns out, it is useful for than just watching TikTok’s and posting to Instagram. 

Wong, the Deputy Director of Research at the Army Cyber Institute, recognises the clear advantages a smartphone can present on the modern battlefield – particularly when you look at the history of warfare. The ability of the smartphone to connect soldiers in a warzone across massive distances is incredibly useful. Instead of relying on scouts and sensors, soldiers can, in Wongs words, "link into and leverage all existing surveillance systems on the battlefield, ideally tapping into even those that belong to the enemy."

The smartphones use in warzone extends beyond those in the military. In Gaza today, mobile phones are being used to connect thousands of Palestinians displaced and disconnected from the world by the IDF, without power, without regular food and water supplies and, almost, without hope. 

A temporary ceasefire might seem fine on the path to peace but it is all the more important that when the IDF commits war crimes, the world can see them being committed. And if, at the very least, they are tired of this injustice, the world can hold them accountable, can see the footage captured and see the true suffering of targeted civilian massacres. 

Connecting Palestine was founded by Egyptian activists Mirna and Yara El Hibawi - who started off by sending e-sims to their friends in the Gaza region – a movement which has now gone global with thousands of e-sims having been sent and activated.

After learning that Israel had directly cut off power to those in the Gaza region the sisters, going from helping a few friends to thousands of civilians, founded the NGO Connecting Palestine with help from  Gxza Health. Through their efforts they have manage to bring many of those in Gaza back online to connect with their friends and loved ones. 

Yara has gone on record stating – "If Gaza is being deprived of even the most basic humanitarian needs, the least people can have there is a way or a tool to tell the world what is happening with them".

Her sister voiced her agreement to this, describing it as "being murdered with a hand over your mouth…you can’t even scream for help". 

According to the groups Instagram’s page, the efforts made globally by those that have donated to the cause has helped provide over two-hundred-thousand Gazan’s with access to the internet. Whilst the war might not be ending soon, Gazan’s will at least be able to show the world what is occurring in the region, whilst connecting with loved ones with assurances of safety or final goodbyes. 

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