Wael Ghonim in Tahrir Square, Cairo today. Image Source: Dylan Martinez/Reuters via the Guardian.
Various mainstream news outlets are reporting (for example, The Republic, Reuters, the New Yorker, the New York Times, The Guardian and the BBC) that Egyptian authorities questioned an Egyptian Google employee; he was detained and blindfolded for 12 days. Wael Ghonim (his Twitter site is here), Head of Google marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, was then released yesterday and gave a tearful interview on television, broadcast last night, in which he called the protesters "heroes," while he was just "the Admin." Since then, his comments have breathed new life into the protests, and hundreds of thousands of people have converged today on Cairo's Tahrir Square, with some hundreds heading over to the parliament buildings, where they are repeatedly shouting, "Fraud."
One of the most important aspects of these protests is that they were sparked by and driven by the internet. WiliLeaks played a role in Tunisia, which in turn inspired protests in Egypt. A Facebook page was dedicated to Ghonim when he disappeared (here). This is a revolution which is driven by the internet, and by the younger X and Y generations that are most tech-savvy, not a single human leader. You can see a subtitled version of yesterday's explosive Dream TV 2 interview with Wael Ghonim here. According to this site, there are several people working on English subtitles right now for the whole interview. His first words to the media after being freed are posted in a video below (with subtitles).
Video Source: Youtube.
See my related posts: Google and Twitter Work Around Egypt's Internet Blackout.
Time and Politics 4: Will Egypt Follow the Ideology of the Long View?
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