News

Google executive freed by Egyptian authorities

Wael Ghonim released after 10 days of confinement in Egypt

Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim has been released after 10 days of confinement in Egypt for his involvement in ongoing protests there.

Ghonim has yet to speak to the press about his detainment, during which his family reportedly received terrorizing midnight phone calls saying Ghonim was being "taught a lesson."

On his Twitter account, Ghonim wrote upon his release that "Freedom is a bless that deserves fighting for it."

Ghonim credited his release to Dr. Hosam Badrawy, the newly named head of the ruling National Democratic Party in Egypt.

"Gave my 2 cents to Dr. Hosam Badrawy. who was reason why I am out today," Ghonim wrote on Twitter. "Asked him resign cause that's the only way I'll respect him #Jan 25."

Google also confirmed his release. "It is a huge relief that Wael Ghonim has been released," said a spokesperson via e-mail. "We send our best wishes to him and his family."

Ghonim, Google's head of marketing for North Africa and the Middle East, was the highest profile detainee among the journalists and protesters who have been detained in Egypt. He had thrown himself into the growing uprising there, regularly updating his Twitter account on his experiences, which were clearly moving him.

On Jan. 25, the day when major protests exploded, he mentions being with hundreds who were beaten by police. He marched to Tahrir square chanting, "Bread, freedom, dignity," and said he saw the crowd grow from 10,000 to 30,000 people. In another post he wrote, "Sleeping on the streets of Cairo, trying to feel the pain of millions of my fellow Egyptians."

He calls the people in Tahrir square on Jan. 25 "the Internet generation in #Egypte" said the event proved that, "Revolution can be a #Facebook event that is liked, shared & tweeted."

His disappearance on Jan. 28 had his readers on the edge with his ominous last Twitter post: "Pray for #Egypt. Very worried as it seems that government is planning a war crime tomorrow against people. We are all ready to die #Jan25."

Though his whereabouts were unknown, he had been named the spokesperson of an Egyptian youth movement group called the "6th of April," in order to press Egyptian authorities for his release. The group's leaders reportedly said that if government leaders "want to talk to us, talk to Ghonim."

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Democracy Now?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2011 at 10:47 am

Wael Ghonim, a marketing manager for the Internet company, has now talked to the press, sobbing throughout an emotional television interview--

Freed Google executive helped spark Egypt revolt:
Web Link

Ghonim has claimed that: “this revolution belongs to the youth of the Internet”. While this may be true, youth are not always possessed of common sense, life’s experiences that often are called “wisdom”, nor are they capable of holding down jobs, as the following article makes comment:

Disconnect Between Education and Jobs Helps Fuel Arab Unrest:
Web Link

In Egypt, for example, the percentage of college-educated people has grown steadily as the country expanded access to higher education. According to the World Bank, 14 percent of college-age Egyptians were enrolled in higher education in 1990, but by 2008 that figure was almost 30 percent. But the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reported last year that there had been an excess of students in the humanities and social sciences and that businesses complain they cannot find qualified applicants to fill vacant positions.

If this “revolution” goes sideways, and Egypt becomes another Islamofascist state, like Iran, will Google continue to endorse Wael Ghonim and his efforts, as they currently seem to be doing?


Like this comment
Posted by whiners
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 8, 2011 at 11:26 am

I can't believe that people are refusing to support freedom and democracy because they are afraid of where that might lead. You have to go all in and support specific candidates and platforms and reforms. If you waffle, then better organized groups will take over.


Like this comment
Posted by Democracy Now?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2011 at 11:55 am

> I can't believe that people are refusing to support freedom
> and democracy

Hmmm .. sounds like someone would have no problem getting at the back of a line of lemmings which out asking "where is this line going to?"

Governments in the 20th Century have killed at least 262M people, according to the work of U. of Hawaii Professor Rudy Rummel--

Rudy Rummel/Power Kills (20th Century Democide):
Web Link

Prof. Rummel's basic thesis is: "power kills" .. and he has spent much of his life researching the deaths of humans at the hands of their own governments.

Democracy is a very fragile thing. Adolph Hitler came to power via an democratic election that saw only 33% of the electorate vote for him. The fact that 66% of the voters did not want him in office did not matter. As a result, over the next 12 years, over 55M people died, and most of Europe (and Japan and China) were destroyed.

Additionally, China, Cuba, East Germany, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Former Soviet Union wrapped themselves in the mantle of "democracy", with devastating results to their populations.

The literacy rate in Egypt is not particularly high, and a recent PEW survey of Egyptians is disturbing:

Web Link

Ilan Berman
PRESENT DANGERS

What Egyptians Want: Not Western-Style Democracy
Feb. 2 2011 - 4:15 pm

..

Precious few, however, have bothered to ask exactly what it is that ordinary Egyptians are after. They should, because—beyond the general dissatisfaction with the Mubarak regime now visible on the Egyptian “street”—the values and beliefs of the protestors are likely to have a profound influence on the nature of the political order that will eventually emerge there.

On that score, it turns out, there’s ample reason for pessimism. As Caroline Glick, one of Israel’s most astute observers of regional affairs, pointed out this week in the Jerusalem Post:

“According to a Pew opinion survey of Egyptians from June 2010, 59 percent said they back Islamists. Only 27% said they back modernizers. Half of Egyptians support Hamas. Thirty percent support Hezbollah and 20% support al Qaida. Moreover, 95% of them would welcome Islamic influence over their politics…

Eighty two percent of Egyptians support executing adulterers by stoning, 77% support whipping and cutting the hands off thieves. 84% support executing any Muslim who changes his religion.”
---

So .. as the wise man is oft quoted .. "be careful what you wish for" ..


Like this comment
Posted by Well said, DN
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 11, 2011 at 6:17 am

Democracy Now? : Very well said. Democracy is mob rule..6 lions and 4 sheep "voting" on dinner plans. It commits suicide if not limited by individual rights of protection under a constitution.

We are a Constitutional Republic, and unfortunately most Americans educated in our public schools do not understand this, jump on whatever bandwagon du jour there is without thought of outcome, and then are surprised when the devil we didn't know is worse than the one we know.


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