Wael Ghonim, a Google marketing manager in the Middle East have been freed after being detained for 12 days. It has also been revealed that he was behind the Facebook page for Khaled Said. Khaled Said died in police hands and his face was disfigured as a result of being severely beaten. Wael Ghonim gave an emotional interview about Egyptian’s fight for freedom, which have instantly turned him into a hero.
Call for General Strike at the Suez Canal
Another major development is the call for general strike at the Suez Canal. U.S. have sent naval ship there recently, just in case there is a need to evacuate U.S. citizens. U.S. is worried about interruption to Suez Canal and have said that they will consider diplomatic, economic and military intervention if that happens. Suez have also seen protest and violent crackdown as reported by L.A. Times – Fear and Desperation Grips Egypt’s Port City of Suez. Suez canal is considered a critical shipping route. When Suez went on strike back in May 1919, British Army and Navy were used to keep it open (source: NYT archive – click on pdf link).
Major Push Tomorrow?
Judging by the Egyptian’s reactions to the Wael Ghonim’s interview, tomorrow’s rally could be huge. It might also help turn the opinion of some people who have so far been brain washed by the State TV’s constant streams of propaganda. Some are referring to Wael Ghonim as the new leader of the protest. Some people and families in Egypt reportedly cried after watching his interview. This has re-energized the protesters who are now calling for another million man march and are considering making a push out of Tahrir square to add pressure on the government. Up to this point, there have not been a clear leader for the pro-democracy group. El Baradei and Muslim Brotherhood were not considered the main driving force.
A Modern Democracy
If the protesters win, it is highly likely that Egypt could become the first Modern Democracy with a transparent government written into the constitution. This observation is based on TV interviews and discussions / comments on the internet. Wikileaks cables continue to show corruption among government officials even in developed democracy. It would be nice to see transparency as a reality rather than just an empty political campaign slogan.
Here is the first interview with Wael Ghonim and an intro video by the talk show host. A longer interview with that host is currently being edited by some people to add English subtitle. I will link to the video here as soon as it is up. In the meantime, here is the article from Al Jazeera – Blogger’s Release Reignites Egypt.
h/t Ramy Yaacoub
(updated – complete videos of interview at Dream TV, Part 1 to 3)
Full text transcript of the interview (h/t Ramy, Sarah, forsoothsayer, Jan25 Voices): Wael Ghonim’s Dream Interview
Other Middle East News – Lebanon’s Internet Being Jammed By U.S. Navy?