Monday, 7 February 2011

'I am not a hero'

It's day 12 of the Egyptian Revolution and for many it seemed like the momentum was waning. Mubarak's waiting game appeared to be working. 'Stalement' was the word in many pundits' mouths. Pundits were decrying the lack of a leader or a 'face'.

Then, Wael Ghonim got released from 12 days of military police custody.

Ghonim is 30 years old, father of two, and head of Google's Middle East operations.

And now we know what Egyptian intelligence knew. He is the admin of the Facebook page that is credited with helping to organize the uprising, 'We are all Khaled Said', referring to the young man tortured to death in Alexandria.

Inscrutably -- in light of developments -- he was allowed to be interviewed on a private TV station, DreamTV. Here are some clips and transcripts in English.

At the time though, I was following Sultan Al Qassemi who was live-tweeting the interview and translating. He kept saying 'this is so emotional'.

And indeed it was. Ghonim was very upset by the regime's contentions that he was a traitor and that the revolt was lead by outsiders.
I am not a hero. I only used the keyboard, the real heroes are the ones on the ground. Those I can't name. This is the season where people use the word traitor against each other. I wasn't abused, I was jailed, kidnapped. I met some really intellectual people in jail, they actually thought that we were traitors, working for others.

If I was a traitor I would have stayed by the swimming pool in my house in the UAE.

He was blindfolded for 12 days and knew nothing of what was going on in the streets of Egypt.

When the heartless/sensationalist interviewer showed him pictures of people who had been killed, he broke down and cried.

So did I and gordknowshowmany others watching or reading.

The reaction was swift. People began posting on Twitter: 'My name is XXXX and Wael Ghonim represents me'.

A Facebook page (all in Arabic, I'm taking this on faith) to that effect went from 14,000 'likes' a few hours ago to 67,000 last I looked.

The Revolution has been re-energized.

And here is how newcomers -- many many many more now -- are welcomed to Tahrir Square. The chant is 'the Egyptians are here, here, here'.

ADDED: The interview with English subtitles.


Beijing York said...

I'm at a loss for words. The incredible courage and sacrifice of people like Ghonim might end up for nothing. I was trying to keep hopeful but I just don't know. If such bold and direct action can't achieve a simple goal what hope is there for any of us?

double nickel said...

Gawd almighty, spare me from the neanderthal commenters on the G&M web site. I fear for Canada almost as much as I do for Egypt.

Post a Comment