AP Photo 3 days ago
Egyptian Wael Ghonim, a Google Inc. marketing manager, talks at his home in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Feb.7, 2011. A Google manager held in Egypt for about 10 days over anti-government protests was freed Monday.
Egyptian Wael Ghonim, a Google Inc. marketing manager, talks to his family at his home in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Feb.7, 2011. A Google manager held in Egypt for about 10 days over anti-government protests was freed Monday.
11 hours ago
In this undated photo provided by Google Inc. , Wael Ghonim, a Google Inc. marketing manager, is shown. An Egyptian businessman says Ghonim, held in anti-government protests, will go free Monday, Feb. 7, 2011.
Blogger’s release ‘reignites’ Egypt
Google executive Wael Ghonim speaks after release from Egyptian custody, sparking outpouring of support from protesters.
Egyptian anti-government protesters have welcomed the release of a Google executive who disappeared in Cairo last month after playing a key role in helping demonstrators organise.
Wael Ghonim was released on Monday by Egyptian authorities, sparking a fast and explosive response from supporters, bloggers and pro-democracy activists on the internet.
Ghonim’s release came nearly two weeks after he was reported missing on January 28 during protests against Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
“Freedom is a bless[ing] that deserves fighting for it,” Ghonim, Google’s head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, wrote in a message posted on his Twitter account shortly after his release.
He was seized in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, late last month as he joined tens of thousands of protesters in the city’s Tahrir Square, the focal point of protests aimed at calling on Mubarak to step down from his 30-year-rule in Egypt.
The prominent blogger spoke to Egypt’s On TV after his release on Monday, pleading with reporters not to call him a hero.
“Please don’t make me a hero. I’m not a hero. I have been asleep for 12 days,” he said.
“I hope that we would be able to put an end to all the rubbish in this country. The rubbish really needs to be cleaned up.”
Ghonim gave a subsequent, emotional interview to the privately owned Egyptian channel Dream TV later on Monday.
He said he was blindfolded during his 12 days in the custody of state security so that he could not identify his interrogators, but that he was not physically tortured.
He described his abduction as a “crime which we are fighting”, adding that the law that allows such actions such be changed – a reference to the country’s emergency laws.
Al Jazeera’s correspondent in the northern Egyptian city of Alexandria said the interview will “no doubt have a massive impact on the number of pro-democracy protesters” in the country.
“I expect their numbers to increase dramatically tomorrow and Friday because of this show,” he said.
“The show also included an interview with a former state TV presenter who dismissed her previous employers as liars and propaganda artists for Mubarak.
“The show ended with a plea from her: ‘To all the children watching this show, go to your parents, tell them: mum, dad, if you want me to have a brighter future, a good education, then take me to Tahrir square tomorrow’.” aljazeera.net