In 2010, Egyptian Google executive Wael Ghonim used Facebook to coordinate a protest of the torture and killing of a man by dictatorial President Hosni Mubarak’s security police.
It was the beginning of a revolution, the explosion of the Arab Spring movement in Egypt — a popular revolt which forced Mubarak out of office but continues its struggle today under a military regime increasingly at odds with its own people and one of its biggest supporters, the U.S.
Tonight, at Seattle Town Hall, Ghonim will speak on being Inside a Revolution. Moderating the panel will be D Parvaz, a reporter for Al Jazeera based out of Qatar and, before that, a colleague of mine at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Parvaz received international attention last spring when she was arrested and held for weeks in Syria after entering the country to attempt to report on the protests there.
Here’s a recent video interview of Ghonim by the Economist:
Egypt remains in turmoil but Ghonim says he is hopeful:
“I’m very optimistic … We are basically recovering from 60 years of military rule, 30 years of dictatorship and 10 years of a very bad economic situation for most Egyptians.”
Ghonim can be expected to speak tonight in Seattle about his experience, the power and the limits of social media in popular protests and about what he believes has already been an amazing amount of positive change in Egypt. “What’s needed,” he tells the Economist, “is patience, passion and optimism.”