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Friday, February 18, 2011

Heroes and Martyrs of 2011 Revolution 2.0

Major figures and chronology of Tunisia and Egypt Revolutions

Wael Ghonim; Google exec, creator of We Are All Khaled Said webpage, revolutionary leader

Peaceful protesters in Egypt

Young Arab men and women who lead the 2011 revolutions

The Fire

Khaled Said - Egyptian Martyr, focus of Rebellion

Mohamed Bouazizi, Houcine Falhi and Mohamed Ammari of Tunisia

Khaled Said / Khaled Mohamed Said

June 6, 2010 - Khaled Said (also translated Khaled Mohamed Saeed) was a young Egyptian man who died under disputed circumstances in the Sidi Gaber area of Alexandria on June 6, 2010, after being arrested by Egyptian police. Photos of his disfigured corpse spread throughout online communities and incited outrage over allegations that he was beaten to death by Egyptian security forces. A prominent Facebook group, "We are all Khaled Said", brought attention to his death and contributed to growing discontent in the weeks leading up to the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

December 17, 2010 - Tunisia: 26-year-old computer-science graduate and fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi sets himself on fire after policewoman slaps him and orders him to pack up his street cart in Sidi Bouzid. It was the last straw to add to his list of grievances (including not finding employment after graduation and having to resort to selling fruit to support his seven siblings).

Mohammed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old man trying to support his family by selling fruits and vegetables in the central town of Sidi Bouzid, douses himself in paint thinner and sets himself on fire in front of a local municipal office.

Mohamed Bouazizi of Tunisia

Police had confiscated his produce cart because he lacked a permit and beat him up when he resisted. Local officials then refused his hear his complaint. He is taken to a hospital near Tunis for treatment of his third-degree burns.

Bouazizi's act of desperation highlights the public's boiling frustration over living standards, police violence, rampant unemployment, and a lack of human rights. The protests begin in Sidi Bouzid that same day. They quickly spread across the region, then the country.

December 22: Houcine Falhi, a 22-year-old, commits suicide by electrocuting himself in the midst of another demonstration over unemployment in Sidi Bouzid after shouting "No to misery, no to unemployment!"

Mohamed Ammari waves Tunisian flag

December 24: Mohamed Ammari, an 18-year-old protester, is shot and killed by police during violent demonstrations in the central town of Menzel Bouzaiene.

Chawki Belhoussine El Hadri, a 44-year-old man, is among those shot by police at the same protest.

Hundreds of protesters rally in front of the Tunisian labour union headquarters over rampant unemployment, clashing with Tunisian security forces in the central towns of al-Ragab and Miknassi. Skirmishes break out when security forces stage overnight crackdown campaigns. Protests also break out in Sidi Bouzid and spread to Kairouan, Sfax, Ben Guerdane, Sousse. Police fire on demonstrators.

2010-2011 Tunisia Revolution Wikipedia webpage

Tunisian lawyer Abderrahman Ayedi was arrested and tortured by police for supporting the protesters.

The Minds

April 6th Movement for Youth wikipedia page

The April 6 Youth Movement began as an Egyptian Facebook group founded by Isra’a Abdel Fattah, 29, and Ahmed Maher, 30, in spring 2008 to support the April 6 workers strike in el-Mahalla el-Kobra, an industrial town along the Nile Delta.

Isra’a Abdel Fattah, Human Resources specialist and co-leader of Egypt's Revolution

Ahmed Maher, civil engineer, co-leader of Egyptian Revolution

On their Facebook page, they encouraged thousands to protest and join the labor strike. Within weeks, over 100,000 members joined the group, who were predominantly young, educated, and politically inexperienced or inactive. Moreover, by making extensive use of online networking tools, they urged their members to demonstrate their support for the workers by wearing black, staying at home, or boycotting products on the day of the strike.

As the secret police cracked down on the April 6 labor strikers, both Abdel Fattah and Maher were arrested, tortured (in the case of Maher, threatened with rape), and detained for a few weeks. Both came out of the prison experience more committed to the cause of freedom and democracy, as well as more determined than ever to carry on with their program of political reforms.

Asma’a Mahfouz, 26, a petite Business Administration graduate, is another prominent figure in the April 6 Youth Movement. By her account she did not have any political training or ideology before joining the group in March 2008. With her two colleagues she immediately helped set up the Facebook page urging Egyptians to support and join the strikes.

Asma'a Mahfouz, spokesperson for Egypt's April 6th Youth Movement

More significantly, Mahfouz played a critical role in the mobilization efforts for the current popular revolution. She posted passionate daily online videos imploring her countrymen and women to participate in the protests. In a recent interview, she elucidated her role when she stated, “I was printing and distributing leaflets in popular areas, and calling for citizens to participate. In those areas, I also talked to young people about their rights, and the need for their participation.”

She continued, “At the time when many people were setting themselves on fire, I went into Tahrir Square with several members of the movement, and we tried a spontaneous demonstration to protest against the recurrence of these incidents. However, the security forces prevented us and removed us from the Square. This prompted me to film a video clip, featuring my voice and image, calling for a protest.”

“I said that on the 25th of January, I would be an Egyptian girl defending her dignity and her rights. I broadcasted the video on the Internet, via Facebook, and was surprised by its unprecedented distribution over websites and mobile phones. Subsequently, I made four further videos prior to the date of the protest,” she added.

If Maher is the movement’s national coordinator, Muhammad Adel, 22, a college junior majoring in computer science, is its technology wizard and media coordinator. Online he jokingly calls himself “The dead Dean,” in a reference to his young age and what could be in store for him from the secret police.

Wael Abbas, an Egyptian human rights activist who was the first citizen journalist to ever win a Knight Foundation Award for Journalistic Excellence for his social media posting videos of Egyptian police brutality, election corruption, and harassment of women, is one of several Egyptian human rights activists that got behind a satirical campaign started by Mohammed Adel, who uses the blogger ID of "Dead."

In support of Palestine during the recent Israel-Gaza conflict, "Dead" formed the "Popular Committee against the Gaza Siege." Several human rights activists and students took posed with plastic weapons in spoof photos for "Operation General Dead," which was intended to spoof terrorism, not be terrorist.

Mohammed Adel, "Dean of the Dead"

In November 2008, he was arrested at the age of twenty, detained and placed in solitary confinement for over 100 days because of his political activities on the Internet. He was denied any means of communications with his family during the whole period. His interrogators pleaded with him to stop blogging so he could be freed. He refused to give them any commitment until he was freed in March 2009.

According to the “April 6 Youth” movement’s platform, its main concerns include promoting political reforms and democratic governance through a strategy of non-violence; constitutional reforms in the areas of civil rights, political freedoms, and judicial independence; and economically addressing poverty, unemployment, social justice and fighting corruption. Their focus is primarily the youth and students. Their means of communications, education and mobilization relies on the extensive use of technology and the Internet.

On January 18th 2011 a video that changed the world was uploaded by Asma'a Mahfouz, for in it the young Egyptian urged her countrymen to take to the streets to protest the injustice. Take a look:

Wael Ghonim's arrest, detention, release and rise to prominence

In January 2011, Ghonim persuaded Google to allow him to return to Egypt, citing a "personal problem". After his arrival, he disappeared on 27 January 2011 during the nationwide unrest in Egypt. His family told Al-Arabiya and other international media that he was missing. Google also issued a statement confirming the disappearance. Many bloggers like Chris DiBona and Habib Haddad campaigned in an attempt to identify his whereabouts. On 5 February 2011, Mostafa Alnagar, a major Egyptian opposition figure, reported that Wael Ghonim was alive and detained by the authorities and to be released 'within hours'. On 6 February 2011, Amnesty International demanded that the Egyptian authorities disclose where Ghonim was and to release him.

Ghonim was released on 7 February, after 11 days in detention. Upon his release, he was greeted with cheers and applause when he stated: "We will not abandon our demand and that is the departure of the regime."

The same day, Ghonim appeared on the Egyptian channel DreamTV on the 10:00 pm programme hosted by Mona El-Shazly. In the interview he praised the protesters and mourned the dead as the host read their names and showed their pictures, eventually rising, "overwhelmed," and walking off camera. The host followed. In the interview, he also urged that they deserved attention more than he did, and calling for the end of the Mubarak regime, describing it again as 'rubbish'. He also asserted his allegiance to Egypt, saying that he would never move to the United States, the homeland of his wife. Becoming a symbol of the revolution in Egypt,[23] Ghonim stated that he is "ready to die" for the cause.

"At the end ..., he gathered himself for a few seconds and tried to make the most of the platform [El-Shazly] had given him. 'I want to tell every mother and every father who lost a child, I am sorry, but this is not our mistake,' he said. 'I swear to God, it’s not our mistake. It’s the mistake of every one of those in power who doesn’t want to let go of it.'"

On 9 February, Ghonim addressed the crowds in Tahrir Square, telling the protesters: "This is not the time for individuals, or parties, or movements. It's a time for all of us to say just one thing: Egypt above all."

Wael Ghonim - Google executive, co-leader of Egypt's Revolution

Wael Ghonim gets a hug from the mother of Khaled Said:

Wael Ghonim "ElShaheed" Facebook page We Are All Khaled Said

Wael Ghonim web on Wikipedia

View Wael Ghonim interview with CBS TV show 60 Minutes:

April 6th Movement leaders keep pressure on Mubarak regime

Statement from the April 6th Movement, two days before the resignation of Mubarak, commenting on the bravery, methodology and goals of the protesters in Egypt's revolution:

The Egyptian youth Stood & fought against the Tyrants, and we faced their bullets with bare Chests, with all bravery and patience, so hail for the great Egyptian people who made this revolution, and so we confirm that victory is in the fall of Mubarak and his Regime.

From the 25th of January “The Egyptian Uprising” we brought down the dictator’s legitimacy.

Who rules Egypt now is the Valiant Egyptian people, to maintain our peaceful uprising and to continue protecting ourselves and our country against the Sabotage of the terror regime‘s thugs.

We will continue what we started on the 25th of January, we the Egyptian youth of who were not deceived by Mubarak’s speech which aimed to absurd the Egyptian people’s feelings, and underestimated their mentality as it has been used for the past 30 years, with the same fake speeches and promises, and delusional election programs which none of it came to reality.

Mubarak came to this kind of false talk, as a thought from him that the Egyptian people still can be deceived and believe his false words as he just replaced some of his thugs by others and still killing and arresting people, Mubarak lost credibilty and will never gain it again from his the Egyptian people as they know now how to fight for their rights and ready to die for it.

We wil not accept any kind of negotiatons before Mubarak departs. We will not give up until we achieve our demands...

April 6 Youth Movement
Egyptian Resistance Movement

Nawwara Nagm, 37, revolutionary spokesperson, and daughter of esteemed poet Ahmad Fuad Nagm, 81, and her mother, female journalist Safinaz Kazem.

One of the most articulate voices of Egypt’s revolution is thirty-seven year old Nawwara Nagm. Since her graduation as an English literature major, she has been a well-known political activist as well as a severe critic of Mubarak’s regime working as a journalist and blogger for opposition newspapers. In 1995 she was first arrested and sent to prison at the age of twenty-two because she protested the inclusion of Israel in Cairo’s annual Book Fair.

The Media

Ayman Mohyeldin, internationally respected journalist, was held by Egyptian authorities

Ayman Mohyeldin, an Al Jazeera correspondent who was detained while covering the unrest in Egypt, is released. He was seized by the Egyptian military near Tahrir Square in Cairo on Sunday, but was freed seven hours later following a concerted appeal by the network and supporters of Mohyeldin.

Gigi Ibrahim - American University of Cairo student journalist

One of the most crucial citizen reporters in Cairo was 24-year-old Gigi Ibrahim.

Armed with little more than her Blackberry and a webcam, Ibrahim - who spent her high school years in California and recently earned a political science degree from the American University in Cairo - is on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Vimeo. She tweets and posts, shoots stills and video, all in an effort to chronicle the unrest.

In a Skype interview with The New York Times, Ibrahim said her role "is to be part of this wave of change. I tweet a lot while at the protests; I tell everybody the security situation, how many people are at protests. I'm trying to spread accurate information and paint a picture at the ground for people who aren't here, via Twitter and Facebook."

Ibrahim's smartphone lacks an Arabic keybord, but she said "a lot of my followers are from outside of Egypt. I want to try to use a language most everyone would understand. It's important for me to be a citizen journalist, because with our press here... not everything gets broadcast."

Mona Eltahawy -Dream TV interview with Wael Ghonim galvanized a nation

Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning columnist and a public speaker. Born in Egypt and now based in New York, she regularly published opinion pieces in the Washington Post, New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Jerusalem Report, Qatar’s Al Arab newspaper, and beyond. She has won the Samir Kassir Prize and the Anna Lindh Journalism Award for her reporting.

Wael Ghonim Dream TV Parts One and Two, video in Arabic

English online translation of Wael Ghonim Dream TV interview transcript

Ahmed Salah, youth leader and journalist

On February 10th, 2011, Ahmed Salah published an eloquent piece in the UK's Guardian newspaper, and here is an excerpt from his article:

Why has the west been silent about this corruption, about the terrible violations of human rights in Egypt and the region, and about the torture and killing? The west, including the UK, has been complicit in all these crimes by providing support and safe havens. It has mistakenly believed that democracy and freedom is dangerous if implemented in the Middle East, fearing that Islamists would take power.

The world can see now, in both Tunisia and Egypt, how false this assumption was. It is clear those revolutions encompass all elements of society and seek values aspired to by people around the world – the most important of which is freedom. We were systematically punished for decades for a notion that only resides in the minds of western politicians and the lies of tyrants. We lived in a police state, occupied by a two million-strong militarised police force. Given this, isn't there now a moral responsibility that the west bears?

Britain, and other western powers, must take a moral stand in support of the people of Egypt and their demand for the right to be free. This should not be mere diplomatic words: real tangible support should include measures to ensure power is passed to the people, and to put an end to the regime's efforts to kill this revolution.

This is the least compensation our people deserve for the years of western support for these injustices. The money looted from Egypt should be returned and a democratic government should use it to resolve the huge problems this regime has been creating for decades. Dare we hope that these calls for support won't be ignored again?

Middle East protests and successful revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, research

Chronology and Timelines of Tunisia and Egypt North Africa / Middle East 2010-2011 revolutions

Sources include: marocmorocco.com, uprootedpalestinians.blogspot.com, miamiherald.com, sarahalaoui.blogspot.com, aljazeera.net, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Egyptian_protests, nationaljournal.com, miamiherald.com, sarahalaoui.blogspot.com, recreatingtampa.com, theglobalrealm.com, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_Revolution_of_2011, redcouch.typepad.com, journalism.about.comhamsaweb.org,

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