Wael Ghonim Rises to Hero Status in Egypt

A 30-year-old Google exec gets huge cheers Tuesday in Tahrir Square

By Lori Preuitt
|  Tuesday, Feb 8, 2011  |  Updated 5:06 PM PDT
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A 30-year-old Google exec gets huge cheers Tuesday in Tahrir Square.

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The name Wael Ghonim is becoming known around the world as a man who is speaking for the anti-government protesters in Egypt.

When the Google executive spoke Tuesday in Tahrir Square, it was clear he is quickly becoming a rallying point for the protest.  Crowds cheered wildly when he declared on stage, "We will not abandon our demand and that is the departure of the regime."
   
We first learned of Ghonim two weeks ago when he suddenly disappeared in the middle of the Egyptian uprising.  

Ghonim, 30, is Google's head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa.

Ghonim had been taken prisoner. He was held for two weeks and released Monday. Many believe one of the main reasons he was released is because he was named the leader of one of the opposition groups.

Upon his release, Ghonim was interviewed on Egyptian television where he gave an emotional interview about his detention and his plans for the future.

He also took credit for setting up the original Facebook page that helped define the protests. He called himself "the Admin."

Now many of the people who have set up in Tahrir Square are calling him "hero."

Ghonim disagrees with the hero status: 

The heroes are the ones in the streets … people who put themselves in danger for real. And I’m sitting writing on the keyboard…. This is the revolution of the youth of the Internet that became the revolution of the youth of Egypt.


Ghonim and the hundreds of thousands of people he stands beside vow they will reject any concessions except the official ouster of President Hosni Mubara.

This uprising shows no sign of letting down.

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