By: Collins Odogwu
Enough coverage has been given to the successful Egyptian revolution and the ripple effect sparked across the African continent. But only a few acknowledgements have been made about some of the key initiators of the movement.
The recent TIME magazine Time 100 issue dedicated one of its coveted spots to Wael Ghonim, Head of Marketing for Google Middle East and North Africa. The 30 year old Internet activist who was instrumental in galvanizing the pro-democratic demonstrations in Egypt definitely defied formal constraints and inspired real change.
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Wael used his quick grasp of social media tools not only to bring awareness and inititiate discourses and action on inadequacies in Egyptian governance, but also played an instrumental role in the mobilization and development of a peaceful revolution in Egypt.
"Wael Ghonim embodies the youth who constitute the majority of Egyptian society — a young man who excelled and became a Google executive but, as with many of his generation, remained apolitical due to loss of hope that things could change in a society permeated for decades with a culture of fear.
Over the past few years, Wael, 30, began working outside the box to make his peers understand that only their unstoppable people power could effect real change. He quickly grasped that social media, notably Facebook, were emerging as the most powerful communication tools to mobilize and develop ideas. By emphasizing that the regime would listen only when citizens exercised their right of peaceful demonstration and civil disobedience, Wael helped initiate a call for a peaceful revolution.
The response was miraculous: a movement that started with thousands on Jan. 25 ended with 12 million Egyptians removing Hosni Mubarak and his regime. What Wael and the young Egyptians did spread like wildfire across the Arab world."
– Time Magazine
Here is to Wael Ghonim, a symbol of hope in a continent that most desperately needs it. Face2face Africa Salutes you!