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Egypt: Our Hero, Wael Ghonim

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Egypt, Digital Activism, Governance, Human Rights, Protest

For days, Egyptians have been searching far and wide [1] for Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who went missing on January 27. Today, after much speculation [2], Ghonim was released [3].

Google itself was among the first to make the announcement [4] on Twitter:

Huge relief–Wael Ghonim has been released. Our love to him and his family.

In the few hours since his release, Ghonim has given two interviews. The first, tweeted by @HabibH [5], is below, with a translated version available at Alive in Egypt [6]:

The second, for DreamTV, was streamed live and live-tweeted by journalist Sultan Al Qassemi [7], who quickly translated the interview into English. The following are a few of Ghonim's statements captured in the tweets:

Wael @Ghonim: They wanted details, information. “Are the people who planned this outsiders?” We didn't do anything wrong, this was an appeal

Wael @Ghonim: The Egyptian State TV channels didn't portray the truth, that is why people watch the private channels now

Al Qassemi concluded his tweeting with this statement [8]:

Wael @Ghonim's last words: I want to tell families who lost their sons this is not our fault. This is the fault of those clinging to power.

The interview is also available (in Arabic) on YouTube [9] and has been transcribed here [10].

Egyptians and others on Twitter were captivated by Ghonim's interview, with many calling him a hero. @EgyptSecularist writes [11]:

This is a turning point in the revolution. @Ghonim's emotions will give more determination to #tahrir. Tomorrow is going to be tremendous.

@SarraMoneir also expresses her appreciation [12]:

egypt is crying… i´m drowning in my own tears. GOD BLESS YOU @Ghonim

@CaireneGirl Sherine Elbanhawy also gives Ghonim adulation [13]:

@Ghonim We are so proud of you.No one blames you. U are a true patriot. We love u. Hold your head up high. You have liberated #Egypt #jan25

Cairo-based journalist Ben Wedeman (@bencnn) agrees [14]:

the wael @ghonim interview on DreamTV: Earthshaking. #Jan25 #Egypt #tahrir

Egyptian journalist @SarahCarr sees things the same way [15]:

The next time someone doubts the logic of the Tahrir occupation make him watch the @ghonim interview #jan25