Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REPORTERS

Indian election: Votes for sale

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

i Gracias, Gabo i

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Socialist rebellion grows

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Can Weibo win over US investors?

Read more

DEBATE

Algeria: What's the Choice? Incumbent Bouteflika Votes in Wheelchair (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Algeria: What's the Choice? Incumbent Bouteflika Votes in Wheelchair

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Virunga Park chief shot

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algerian election: Bouteflika votes in wheelchair

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algeria's media: a mixture of censorship and free speech

Read more

  • Captain not at helm when ship listed, South Korean officials say

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • Video: Tensions remain high in Mariupol despite Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Nobel-winning Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Deadly avalanche strikes Everest in worst-ever disaster

    Read more

  • Low turnout reported in Algeria as Bouteflika seeks fourth term

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Mob launches deadly attack on UN shelter for S. Sudan civilians

    Read more

  • Eurostar train mishap causes 'severe' delays

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Ukraine talks open in Geneva as Putin talks tough on TV

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine begin in Geneva

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

Business

Google executive Ghomin is Egypt's reluctant hero of Tahrir Square

©

Text by Joseph BAMAT , Sébastian SEIBT

Latest update : 2011-02-09

Wael Ghomin, a rising marketing manager at Google, has become an icon of the revolt in Egypt. His recent emotional TV appearance set off a new wave of protests calling for the immediate resignation of President Mubarak.

On Monday evening the private Egyptian television channel Dream TV broadcast an interview with an emotional man who kept insisting that he was no hero. The man on the screen was Wael Ghonim, a 30-year-old Google executive who had just spent 12 days in detention.

A hero’s welcome nonetheless awaited Ghonim at Tahrir Square the next day.

Inspired by his release and emotional TV appearance, thousands of Egyptians joined the gathering in downtown Cairo, which on Tuesday saw one of its largest days of protests since the movement to oust President Hosni Mubarak began.

Emotional comeback

Ghonim’s disappearance on January 28 precipitated a broad movement of support online. Some protesters went so far as to make his release a pre-condition for dialogue with the government.

Shortly after he was freed on Monday, Ghonim was back on the social media website Twitter, thanking Google for its  efforts to find him after he was arrested. Later in the day he gave an interview that became instantly famous.

GOOGLE EXECUTIVE WAEL GHONIM'S INTERVIEW



Speaking about the conditions of his detention, Ghonim said he was not mistreated. However he had to repeatedly argue that he was no traitor –an accusation he heard in jail. “I can bear anything," he said on television, "except being accused of betraying Egypt."

He also admitted that he was the anonymous administrator of the Facebook group “We Are All Khaled Said” – one of the most influential rallying points on the Web for Egypt’s raging anti-government protesters.

By turning Khaled Said --an internet blogger who was beaten to death by police in the Egyptian city of Alexandria in June 2010 - into a symbol of Egyptian resistance, Ghonim inadvertently set himself up to become the icon of the revolt.

No longer behind the keyboard

“Long live Egypt!” Ghonim yelled out to the thousands of protesters in Tahrir who rejoiced in his first public appearance the day after his release. “We will not abandon our demand, and that is the departure of the regime,” he told the crowd.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, someone in a crowd reminded Wael that 100,000 people on Facebook were asking him to be the spokesman for the uprising.

“Will you do it?" the man wanted to know."I don't know," said a teary and still reluctant hero.

Date created : 2011-02-09

  • EGYPT

    Egypt releases Google executive Wael Ghonim

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Protesters stand ground as Mubarak's new cabinet meets

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Enter the 'baltagiya': Egypt's repression spills out of the torture chambers

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)