Wael Ghonim relaunches the revolution
Everyone following events in Egypt knows by now that, last night around 11pm on Dream 2, Wael Ghonim — one of the instigators of the January 25 movement who has just been released after 12 days in detention — gave the country one of the most moving moments of television I have ever seen. After explaining his ordeal, his ideals, and his views on why the people in Tahrir were right, host Mona Shazli showed pictures of the "martyrs" of this uprising. Ghonim broke down and cried, saying as he sobbed: "It's not our fault. To the mothers and fathers, it's not our fault. It's the fault of the people in positions of authority who don't want to leave power."
This cathartic moment may be the spark that was needed to revive Egypt's revolutionary fervor. The regime had, to some extent successfully, driven a wedge between the protestors and the majority of Egyptians who have spent the last two weeks terrified about the lack of security and hurting because the economy has come to a halt. It also spread insidious, xenophobic propaganda about how the people in Tahrir were foreigners, paid by the US to protest, agents of Israel and Iran (those two fight a lot but will always get together against Egypt, obviously), or simply that their behavior is "not Egyptian."
I thought that the next step for the people in Tahrir would have been to retake the initiative by suggesting its own roadmap for transition, or focusing on the many deaths and reports of the use of snipers that are coming out. After two weeks, the world's media is getting tired of this story and there needed to be a relaunch. Who better than a marketing executive from Google to do that? Ghonim's appearance was heartfelt and genuine, and kudos to Dream — especially the wonderful Mona Shazli, who has the uncanny ability to frame her questions with both an air of maternal authority and convey an everyman's take on events — for airing this interview and so many others that reveal the criminality of the government and the courage of the protestors.
Today's day of rage should be big, and with these few minutes of television the people in Tahrir may finally have a leader.
Here is the interview, with English subtitles:
(If that last video doesn't show subtitles, go here — this is the key part of the interview.)