Daily Archives: 9 February 2011

The Initial Spark Reignites: Wael Ghonim

Wael Ghonim Interview on Dream TV

I couldn’t get the video with the English subtitles embedded – only the Arabic was showing up. I hope you will click on the link above and watch it. It’s very moving and only about 3 minutes long.

Mubarak refuses to step down. This battle is becoming one of sheer will. I feared that the Egyptian democracy movement was losing that will as protesters were growing physically and emotionally weary. Then, Wael Ghonim, the Google executive by day and passionate activist by night, was released by the Egyptian government. Right after he was freed, he granted an interview with Dream TV, an Egyptian “entertainment and lifestyle” television station.

I watched the interview with English subtitles. In that last part of the interview, the host shows pictures of the protesters who were killed during the protest. Ghonim breaks down and sobs. For 12 days, the Egyptian government held him captive, blindfolded the entire time. He did not hear about what had happened after his arrest kidnapping. He was literally kept in the dark, but interrogated about his role in the movement.

Apparently, this interview reignited the protests. The demonstration after his release rivaled the first one in numbers. Housewives, professors, laborers, young and old gathered again. What they saw in Ghonim was an Egyptian with a deep love for his country and fellow citizens. Using technology, he was the initial spark that set Egypt’s desire for democracy ablaze. And his voice helped fan the flames that were dying down.

I was extremely moved by his commitment to his country. Alive in Egypt has done a wonderful service and is true to its mission, Transcribing the Voices of Egypt. The entire interview can be found on its site, divided into 5 parts. It’s lengthy, but worth it.