Wael Ghonim Interview with Mona el-Shazly, 2011

“Equally pivotal was the intensely telegenic footage of a boyish marketing executive at Google weeping on television at the height of the protests. Having been held for twelve days, in part for his role as administrator of the Said Facebook page, Wael Ghonim emerged as the Western-friendly face of the protesters. “I am not a hero,” he opined to popular talk-show host Mona el-Shazly; “this is the revolution of the youth of the Internet,” he said, then burst into tears. Ghonim’s melodramatic yet extremely affecting public mourning pushed many middle-class Egyptians, previously on the fence, into Tahrir Square to join the demonstrations. Later, he would be hailed by Barack Obama as “the Google Guy.” A $2.5 million book deal would follow, and there was even talk of a Nobel Prize.”

For more information, read Negar Azimi’s article in the December In Print.