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Revolution 2:0: A Memoir and Call to Action

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The revolutions sweeping the Middle East in 2011 were unlike any that the world had ever seen.  Brutal regimes that had been in power for many decades were suddenly swarmed by unstoppable mobs of freedom seekers.  Now, one of the key figures behind the Egyptian uprising tells the inside, riveting story of what happened, and presents lessons for all of us on how to unleash The revolutions sweeping the Middle East in 2011 were unlike any that the world had ever seen.  Brutal regimes that had been in power for many decades were suddenly swarmed by unstoppable mobs of freedom seekers.  Now, one of the key figures behind the Egyptian uprising tells the inside, riveting story of what happened, and presents lessons for all of us on how to unleash the power of crowds. Wael Ghonim was a little-known, 30-year-old Google executive in the fall of 2010, when he anonymously launched a Facebook page to protest the death of one Egyptian man at the hands of security forces.  The page's followers expanded quickly and moved from online protests to non-confrontational public gatherings. Then, on January 14, 2011, they made history when they announced a revolution pre-scheduled for the 25th.  Over 50,000 friends clamored to join.  On the 25th of January, as the revolution began in earnest, Ghonim was captured and held for eleven days of brutal interrogation—and when he emerged and gave a speech on national television, the protests grew even more intense.  Four days later, Mubarak was gone. The lessons he draws will inspire each of us: Forget the past.  Don't plan ahead.  Let the crowd make its own decisions.  Welcome to Revolution 2.0.


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The revolutions sweeping the Middle East in 2011 were unlike any that the world had ever seen.  Brutal regimes that had been in power for many decades were suddenly swarmed by unstoppable mobs of freedom seekers.  Now, one of the key figures behind the Egyptian uprising tells the inside, riveting story of what happened, and presents lessons for all of us on how to unleash The revolutions sweeping the Middle East in 2011 were unlike any that the world had ever seen.  Brutal regimes that had been in power for many decades were suddenly swarmed by unstoppable mobs of freedom seekers.  Now, one of the key figures behind the Egyptian uprising tells the inside, riveting story of what happened, and presents lessons for all of us on how to unleash the power of crowds. Wael Ghonim was a little-known, 30-year-old Google executive in the fall of 2010, when he anonymously launched a Facebook page to protest the death of one Egyptian man at the hands of security forces.  The page's followers expanded quickly and moved from online protests to non-confrontational public gatherings. Then, on January 14, 2011, they made history when they announced a revolution pre-scheduled for the 25th.  Over 50,000 friends clamored to join.  On the 25th of January, as the revolution began in earnest, Ghonim was captured and held for eleven days of brutal interrogation—and when he emerged and gave a speech on national television, the protests grew even more intense.  Four days later, Mubarak was gone. The lessons he draws will inspire each of us: Forget the past.  Don't plan ahead.  Let the crowd make its own decisions.  Welcome to Revolution 2.0.

30 review for Revolution 2:0: A Memoir and Call to Action

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ruthie

    Wael Ghonim's memoir of the Egyptian Revolution was definitely powerful. Much of the book is told through the lens of Facebook and how social media influenced the revolution. This is accomplished embedding status updates as they appeared on Facebook. These snapshots of Facebook updates were fascinating and a crucial component of the memoir, but I thought the technique sometimes disrupted the narrative flow. As social media continues to impact the world's social revolutions, it will be interestin Wael Ghonim's memoir of the Egyptian Revolution was definitely powerful. Much of the book is told through the lens of Facebook and how social media influenced the revolution. This is accomplished embedding status updates as they appeared on Facebook. These snapshots of Facebook updates were fascinating and a crucial component of the memoir, but I thought the technique sometimes disrupted the narrative flow. As social media continues to impact the world's social revolutions, it will be interesting to see how memoirs and other texts recount its real-time involvement. The last 100 pages or so are gripping. The emotion and passion conveyed here were absolutely palpable. The text is translated from Arabic, and sometimes the translated text can seem very matter-of-fact. Nonetheless, the story is one that is fresh and definitely engaging.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dina Said

    In this book, Wael Ghonim is talking about his involvement in the Egyptian politics until Mubarak's step down on Feb 11, 2011. The book offers good background about most of the events that led to the revolution and the stepping down of Mubarak. The story is very excited especially when you follow how the social media and the Internet slowly changed in Egyptians' attitude which led to massive protests all over the country. The most thing I like about the book is that Wael tried to not be biased i In this book, Wael Ghonim is talking about his involvement in the Egyptian politics until Mubarak's step down on Feb 11, 2011. The book offers good background about most of the events that led to the revolution and the stepping down of Mubarak. The story is very excited especially when you follow how the social media and the Internet slowly changed in Egyptians' attitude which led to massive protests all over the country. The most thing I like about the book is that Wael tried to not be biased in the events he wasn't a part of. For example, he mentioned three possible reasons to the attacks of the police offices during the protests and he said that till today we don't know for sure which one is the truth. I sensed also the honesty in the book. I can't claim any statement in this book, which documents an event I am aware of, to be false or wrongly misinterpreted. One of my observations about the book is that it is so plain. Wael mentioned in the book that he used to add photos and videos to his fan page and he thinks that an image worths 1000 words. However, in his book he didn't include any images. Sometimes he wrote two paragraphs to describe a scene in the protests which would have been better to just put the photo of this scene. My second observation is that the book lacks statistics about the political life during Mubarak's age. I think it would have been very supportive to mention the number of people got tortured and arrested for political reasons, the rate of unemployment, the rate of illiterates and poverty. Also, I think it is worth mentioning why Egyptians feel injustice by specific examples such as sinking of Elsalam ship that caused 1400 Egyptians to lose their lives but the government let the owner of the ship scape because of his relation to Mubarak's regime. I think using statistics and examples would have shown the world why people sacrificed their lives to end Mubarak's regime. Congratulation Wael and waiting for your next book to document the period in which Egypt is governed by SCAF.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Flatley

    Anyone who thinks that Facebook is just a silly, trivial time waster should read this book. A bracing, thrilling account of how one, relatively unknown young man used Facebook to change the course of Egyptian history. Wael Ghonim used Facebook and his knowledge of the web to precipitate a revolution. Anyone who has heard the story of Tahrir Square is reading the story of one man and his Facebook account. This is a must read for anyone interested in grass roots activism. It proves, yet again, tha Anyone who thinks that Facebook is just a silly, trivial time waster should read this book. A bracing, thrilling account of how one, relatively unknown young man used Facebook to change the course of Egyptian history. Wael Ghonim used Facebook and his knowledge of the web to precipitate a revolution. Anyone who has heard the story of Tahrir Square is reading the story of one man and his Facebook account. This is a must read for anyone interested in grass roots activism. It proves, yet again, that one person can make a difference.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kurt

    It's hard to give this book a negative review because I believe the intention of the book (and the movement it chronicles) is so noble. Wael Ghonim is a young Egyptian Google executive who found himself an informal leader of a leaderless revolution, creating space on Facebook for young people to share their opposition to the oppressive regime that controlled Egypt before the revolution of January 25, 2011. Through an online persona as an anonymous administrator, Ghonim helped organize nonviolent It's hard to give this book a negative review because I believe the intention of the book (and the movement it chronicles) is so noble. Wael Ghonim is a young Egyptian Google executive who found himself an informal leader of a leaderless revolution, creating space on Facebook for young people to share their opposition to the oppressive regime that controlled Egypt before the revolution of January 25, 2011. Through an online persona as an anonymous administrator, Ghonim helped organize nonviolent demonstrations, and he had a huge influence on the character of the developing movement. This is a story I was fascinated to learn, but Ghonim's gifts as a writer are limited to the point that the book itself is a chore to read. There just isn't much art to the telling, which is a shame. The author certainly tries, with direct quotes of vague but inspiring status updates and Facebook notes, but the narration between the quotes gets bogged down with every little detail of managing a Facebook page, and as I read I longed for a richer literary voice. Ghonim writes as someone familiar with technical writing (it feels very "step one, then step two, then step three," like an instruction manual for your blu-ray player) and is fascinated with the behind-the-scenes details of disguising his location and managing his member lists - which are not topics that are inherently fascinating for those of us who picked up the book for the political/personal aspects of the movement. I do not intend in any way to demean the events of the revolution or the positive qualities of Ghonim. In a time and place where speaking freely puts your life in danger, Ghonim gets young people to post photos of their protests in internet forums anyone can read, then he humbly refuses to take credit. In the face of activists who want change through violence, Ghonim insists on a peaceful alternative that can achieve the same goals in a way that both satisfies Egyptians and appeals to an international community. And, when given the impossible task of writing a memoir in time for the one-year anniversary of the revolution, Ghonim puts together a book full of good information. I just wish that a more experienced writer had come alongside Ghonim to present this important story in a more engaging way.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Khaledfouad

    i think ghonim one of the best Egyptians , thanks wael go forward

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sara El-Kady

    it's really amazing how it revived all the memories I've experienced before and through the revolution, it made me wonder about how many other people were passive like me before 25th Jan. and how many really woke up for the call .. Lots of details I didn't know before about Wael Ghoneim that just made me respect him even more knowing his determination and passion to success no matter what the price is. I guess I'll read this book every now and then, just to awake the revolution's spirit that somet it's really amazing how it revived all the memories I've experienced before and through the revolution, it made me wonder about how many other people were passive like me before 25th Jan. and how many really woke up for the call .. Lots of details I didn't know before about Wael Ghoneim that just made me respect him even more knowing his determination and passion to success no matter what the price is. I guess I'll read this book every now and then, just to awake the revolution's spirit that sometimes just fade away because of all the depressions we're going through currently.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    An interesting inside look at events leading up to and during Egypt's 2011 revolution, with a particular focus on the role social media played in organizing protests. Of course, this book was published in early 2012, and with the hindsight of reading this in 2020, the optimistic, hope-infused endnote rings rather hollow... An interesting inside look at events leading up to and during Egypt's 2011 revolution, with a particular focus on the role social media played in organizing protests. Of course, this book was published in early 2012, and with the hindsight of reading this in 2020, the optimistic, hope-infused endnote rings rather hollow...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Let me get this right out there: I'm an American. I lived in Egypt from 2007-2009 under the Mubarak regime. And to my unending surprise, the Egypt that I knew and loved no longer exists. Bewildering? Yes, especially since I watched events unfold from safety in California. So when saw the name "Wael Ghonim" on my local library's shelf, I pounced. "Revolution 2.0" is not high literature. It's not a definitive historical account of a few weeks in December 2010/January 2011. "Revolution 2.0" is a hi Let me get this right out there: I'm an American. I lived in Egypt from 2007-2009 under the Mubarak regime. And to my unending surprise, the Egypt that I knew and loved no longer exists. Bewildering? Yes, especially since I watched events unfold from safety in California. So when saw the name "Wael Ghonim" on my local library's shelf, I pounced. "Revolution 2.0" is not high literature. It's not a definitive historical account of a few weeks in December 2010/January 2011. "Revolution 2.0" is a highly subjective, reasonably well-written personal account of the author's experience leading up to - and despite his protestations to the contrary, fundamentally midwifing - the revolution of 25 January. I have a middling-level understanding of Egyptian politics, and my knowledge of recent Egyptian history far surpasses that of the average American, so I was able to follow Ghonim's account without difficulty (hell, I'm a member of the Facebook page he started!). If you haven't experienced firsthand the Egypt that Ghonim describes, you may have difficulty believing his sincerity. But even as an ex-pat I could see the poverty, the desperation, the apathy - what a pleasure to read the memoirs of a man who fought the system!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Adham Abozaeid

    A perfect documentary for the pre-revolution days... lots of details and events, yet written in an interesting way, and in a language close to heart... i'm sure everybody who was active in those days, and was watching the "We are all Khalid Sa'eed" page will be interested to know what was happening behind the scenes :) A perfect documentary for the pre-revolution days... lots of details and events, yet written in an interesting way, and in a language close to heart... i'm sure everybody who was active in those days, and was watching the "We are all Khalid Sa'eed" page will be interested to know what was happening behind the scenes :)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Won a copy through Goodreads' First Reads program. Interesting point of view of the situations in Egypt. It's written very clearly so someone who doesn't know much of the culture or events can understand. Won a copy through Goodreads' First Reads program. Interesting point of view of the situations in Egypt. It's written very clearly so someone who doesn't know much of the culture or events can understand.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amin

    As a person who lived in the middle east, It was easy to connect with the story. I enjoyed the narrative and some sections were really exciting. The book described how the internet and social media helped in starting a revolution and It was nice to see some of the posts from the Facebook page along with their statistics in the book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Book

    Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People Is Greater Than the People in Power: A Memoir by Wael Ghonim "Revolution 2.0" is the fascinating personal memoir of a reluctant hero who inspired a movement through social media. Google executive, Wael Ghonim, inspired by the power of the Internet and his undying drive and love for his country goes on a quest to spark a change against the oppressive Egyptian regime. This remarkable 320-page book is composed of the following nine chapters: 1. A Regime of Fea Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People Is Greater Than the People in Power: A Memoir by Wael Ghonim "Revolution 2.0" is the fascinating personal memoir of a reluctant hero who inspired a movement through social media. Google executive, Wael Ghonim, inspired by the power of the Internet and his undying drive and love for his country goes on a quest to spark a change against the oppressive Egyptian regime. This remarkable 320-page book is composed of the following nine chapters: 1. A Regime of Fear, 2. Searching for a Savior, 3. "Kullena Khaled Said", 4. Online and on the Streets, 5. A Preannounced Revolution, 6. January 25, 2011, 7. My Name Is 41, 8. The Dungeon, and 9. A Pharaoh Falls. Positives: 1. Love of country. Love of people. If there is one recurring theme that stands out in my mind is Ghonim's pure love for his people. There is passion behind his words. 2. It's a fascinating account from a unique first-hand perspective. 3. The power of social media. The author makes use of his expertise in social media to inspire change. "The number of Internet users in Egypt increased rapidly, from a mere 1.5 million in 2004 to more than 13.6 million by 2008". Throughout the book the author captures Facebook posts that resonated with Facebook followers. The likes, the comments, and viewership; that in many regards captures the evolution of the movement. 4. An inspirational story driven by the need for change, a need for a revolution. A 21st century revolution founded on the principles of nonviolence, discipline, drive, social media and love of country. 5. The author does a wonderful job of describing the 30-year ruling regime of Hosni Mubarak. "The Egyptian regime lived in fear of opposition. It sought to project a façade of democracy, giving the impression that Egypt was advancing toward political rights and civil liberties while it vanquished any dissidents who threatened to mobilize enough support to force real change". 6. Thought-provoking book, " power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely". The author provides examples of corruption, " In phase three, however, the regime showed its true face, blatantly rigging the results. Hundreds of polling stations were shut, and when voters protested, they were handled aggressively". 7. Some interesting insights into Egyptian politics. The drive for change. "ElBradei's Seven Demands for Change". The "dynamics" of Egyptian politics. 8. The topic of self-reliance makes its presence felt. "We did not need a savior; we had to do this ourselves". 9. The death that inspired Ghonim to act. "Some of our law enforcement personnel had mutated into vicious monsters who were immune from punishment and prone to committing atrocities. They abandoned the Egyptian ethic of goodness that has pervaded our society for centuries". 10. The power of non-violence. Silent stands. What I found interesting was the planning, preparation, flexibility and discipline.. 11. One of the main reasons I read the book was to gain a better understanding of the Arab Spring and as a side benefit you get a feel for the culture, "Egyptians appreciate and are heavily influenced by art, and I believe that words have more power when they are accompanied by music". 12. The influence of pop culture. I enjoyed the references to pop culture, "In 2006 I had seen the movie V for Vendetta and fallen in love with the idea of the mysterious warrior fighting against evil". The influence of Gandhi. 13. The impact of the developments in Tunisia. 14. Through his Facebook posts, he provides words of reason that really sets the tone, discipline, and focus of his quest. You get a real sense of the power of words and social media. It explains, the who, the why of the protests, the demands...great stuff! 15. The evolution of the revolution. From silent stands to an outright revolution. The book does a wonderful job of capturing this transformation. 16. The abduction. The psychological torture. 17. The fall of a regime. 18. The epilogue gives an update on Egypt. Negatives: 1. The prose is choppy and unfortunately drags. The book is perhaps fifty pages too long. 2. The abduction wasn't captured as well as it should have been. This specific account drags too long and misses an opportunity to be more exciting. 3. If you are looking for an in-depth historical account, this is not it. This is a personal memoir. In summary, this is an interesting personal account of the revolution in Egypt that saw the fall of the Mubarak regime. A revolution aided by social media, the wisdom of Gandhi and one young man's love of country and stubborn drive. Wael Ghonim is the reluctant hero who inspires a movement, a movement that culminated in change. The book may be choppy and drags in areas but it's an inspirational and heartwarming story. I highly recommend it!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mythili

    Wael Ghonim’s name entered national headlines in early 2011 when, during the Egyptian revolution, the 30-year-old Google executive was abducted by Egypt’s State Security and detained for eleven days. But Ghonim’s role in the Egyptian began well before that. Ghonim narrates his own story in this clear, matter-of-fact book, beginning with his days as an idealistic young man most comfortable online. Even after he gets married (to a woman he meets on the internet), finishes graduate school, and is hi Wael Ghonim’s name entered national headlines in early 2011 when, during the Egyptian revolution, the 30-year-old Google executive was abducted by Egypt’s State Security and detained for eleven days. But Ghonim’s role in the Egyptian began well before that. Ghonim narrates his own story in this clear, matter-of-fact book, beginning with his days as an idealistic young man most comfortable online. Even after he gets married (to a woman he meets on the internet), finishes graduate school, and is hired by Google, Ghonim retains a youthful romantic passion for social change; he explains that after seeing the movie V for Vendetta he had “fallen in love with the idea of the mysterious warrior fighting against evil.” This is exactly the role Ghonim takes when he begins agitating for change in Egypt—anonymously, online. The engagement of the online community gives him confidence (the Facebook page he creates in honor of a young Egyptian killed by the police quickly gains 300,000 users) and recognizing “the possible connection between the virtual world and physical reality” Ghonim begins organizing protests. The movement soon takes on a life of its own; history is being made. By the time January 25th approaches, “I found myself unable to resist the word revolution,” he writes. Then, in the midst of Egypt’s youth uprising, Ghonim is arrested and detained in secrecy for eleven days. What this book lacks in literary finesse it makes up for in the candor and immediacy of its narrative. It's an impressive story about the interconnectedness of the modern world and the hope, courage, and fearlessness it takes to start a revolution. My personal favorite moment of the book takes place when Ghonim's friends and family realize he has been detained by State Security and frantically try to change his email and Facebook passwords to protect the many other people he's been organizing with online. At first, they can't guess his passwords or can access any of his computers or mobile devices that might have the passwords saved -- and start panicking. It's Ghonim's 8-year-old daughter who finally saves the day. She's an avid Angry Birds player who is used to accessing her dad's tablet for the game. She enters the password and the rest is history.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rasydan Fitri

    I would actually give this 3.5 stars. The writing for me isn't bad, but it was not exceptional. However, I was reading this in order to know the events that transpired and inspire the revolution in Egypt, and I managed to get the information I wanted - so I didn't really pay attention to the writing during the first half of the book. After that the book became quite tedious to read as it includes almost every single detail on updating the Facebook page, contacting people to inform about the prot I would actually give this 3.5 stars. The writing for me isn't bad, but it was not exceptional. However, I was reading this in order to know the events that transpired and inspire the revolution in Egypt, and I managed to get the information I wanted - so I didn't really pay attention to the writing during the first half of the book. After that the book became quite tedious to read as it includes almost every single detail on updating the Facebook page, contacting people to inform about the protest, and so on, making it quite monotonous at some parts. In my opinion, he does not want to leave a single hole in the story so that the story will make sense and this implies that each event that happened, though small in a reader's eyes, can affect future events. This is proven when the Facebook page to celebrate a martyr of Egypt (which was founded by the author) became one of the leading online source of information about the revolution. Besides that, the writing style shows me that it is an honest writing, written by the author himself. Some parts in the book for me is really good and reads like a novel, especially in some chapters where it ends very well, sometimes asking me to anticipate more. Putting the technical bits aside, I certainly learned a lot from this book, from the author himself, and from the Egyptians who were very brave, not just during the revolution, but during the 30 years of dictatorship of Mubarak's regime. Having lived and seen through the Arab Spring period for me; seeing history unfolding itself, is a great moment for me. Reading this book gives me first-hand experience of how it all started - a bonus for readers, especially who followedd the media coverage of the events that happened in Egypt over a year ago.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Justin Hermiz

    this book showed me the Egyptian perspective of what i only saw on TV. every step of the way Wael learns more about how the internet and all it has to offer was the key tool to freeing his nation from the tyranny of the regime.there were not always glorious moments in Wael's struggle to help free his people. i have to say that my favorite part is when he is getting interrogated by the chief of police, but he still remains calm. it just goes to show you how much fear the government instilled in t this book showed me the Egyptian perspective of what i only saw on TV. every step of the way Wael learns more about how the internet and all it has to offer was the key tool to freeing his nation from the tyranny of the regime.there were not always glorious moments in Wael's struggle to help free his people. i have to say that my favorite part is when he is getting interrogated by the chief of police, but he still remains calm. it just goes to show you how much fear the government instilled in the people. i gave it a 4 , because besides only being a memoir it was like a history book, but modern history, and i personally am fascinated by history, whether it be current or ancient. and i love seeing it through somebody else eyes. his culture and lifestyle is different, but that just makes it more interesting to read. "today they killed Khaled. if i don't act for his sake, tomorrow they will kill me(Ghonim 60)." this quote shows the severity of the situation, this is where i believe he showed us that what he was doing could have gotten him killed, but he did it any way, for his country, for freedom. i would reccomend this book to people who like to read up on the back story of current events, or somebody who is in favor of change in the middle east or around the world, and this would be inspirational to them.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is the story of the 2011 revolution in Egypt from the perspective of one man, Wael Ghonim. We see his journey, from a computer geek who spent much too much time on IRC, a person only passively political, to a person enraged by an oppressive and corrupt regime, to one of the key people helping to mobilize the revolution. All the while, it's amazing to see how Facebook became a tool to organize and mobilize the Egyptian youth, how posts and likes transformed to action on the streets. Very mem This is the story of the 2011 revolution in Egypt from the perspective of one man, Wael Ghonim. We see his journey, from a computer geek who spent much too much time on IRC, a person only passively political, to a person enraged by an oppressive and corrupt regime, to one of the key people helping to mobilize the revolution. All the while, it's amazing to see how Facebook became a tool to organize and mobilize the Egyptian youth, how posts and likes transformed to action on the streets. Very memorable.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Katrina

    Really, really excellent book. A great look at the build up to the Egyptian Revolution and how technology was used to unite existing and new political activists and Egyptian citizens. Ghonim has studied both marketing and psychology and does a great job of outlining what motivates people to get out of their comfort zones and into the streets--how to turn a minority movement into a majority movement. His compassion, wisdom, and kind nature show throughout the book. I was very surprised to learn a Really, really excellent book. A great look at the build up to the Egyptian Revolution and how technology was used to unite existing and new political activists and Egyptian citizens. Ghonim has studied both marketing and psychology and does a great job of outlining what motivates people to get out of their comfort zones and into the streets--how to turn a minority movement into a majority movement. His compassion, wisdom, and kind nature show throughout the book. I was very surprised to learn at the end of the book that he does not speak English; he had some skilled editors for sure.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jon Malysiak

    Powerful and very affirming! Mr. Ghonim's memoir shows just how effective social media can be when it used intelligently and as a means of rallying mass groups of people in support of a cause. For anyone who is interested in the Arab Spring and how, in particular, the Egyptian Revolution came into being, read this book! Powerful and very affirming! Mr. Ghonim's memoir shows just how effective social media can be when it used intelligently and as a means of rallying mass groups of people in support of a cause. For anyone who is interested in the Arab Spring and how, in particular, the Egyptian Revolution came into being, read this book!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mackay

    A really interesting book from one of THE insiders of Egypt's revolution. Ghonim is the Google employee who helped organize protests through Facebook and social media. This is a gripping, in-depth portrayal of what happened, and it will be a valuable document for historians. A really interesting book from one of THE insiders of Egypt's revolution. Ghonim is the Google employee who helped organize protests through Facebook and social media. This is a gripping, in-depth portrayal of what happened, and it will be a valuable document for historians.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Got this book for my daughter - but started reading it on my way to visit her at college and now she has to wait till I've finished it first. Excellent. Got this book for my daughter - but started reading it on my way to visit her at college and now she has to wait till I've finished it first. Excellent.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mai Badawy

    ..

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amr Abuellil

    that what made me the person i am today :) egypt will be the top country :) never lose the hope

  23. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    The Arab Spring is widely held as heralding many protests around the world, including Occupy Wall Street. This book, written by the man who was instrumental in organizing the protests in Egypt, is fascinating for its explanation of how social networking has changed world revolution. Egypt in 2007, which is where Ghonim's story begins, was poised on a political knife edge. The regime feared the people and sought to vanquish dissidents, while the people themselves sought more political rights and c The Arab Spring is widely held as heralding many protests around the world, including Occupy Wall Street. This book, written by the man who was instrumental in organizing the protests in Egypt, is fascinating for its explanation of how social networking has changed world revolution. Egypt in 2007, which is where Ghonim's story begins, was poised on a political knife edge. The regime feared the people and sought to vanquish dissidents, while the people themselves sought more political rights and civil liberties. At the time, Ghonim was working for Google and had recently married an American woman. In 2010, they moved to Dubai, but returned frequently to Egypt. On April 6, 2008, the workers at Al-Mahalla Textiles called for a strike due to economic conditions. Activists started Facebook pages in support of the strike, one of which had 70,000 followers. This was at a time when most demonstrations attracted a few hundred protesters at best. On the day of the strike, there was some limited street activity, and an unknown number of people stayed home from work in protest. However, this action sent out a clear signal that the internet could be a new force in Egyptian politics. In February of 2010, Ghonim created a Facebook page in support of Mohamed ElBaradei, a political moderate who was running against Mubarak for President of Egypt. He enlisted the aid of AbdelRahman Mansour as co-administrator. The page grew in "likes" exponentially as word of it spread. Additionally, Ghonim used Google Moderator to hold an event where voters could ask ElBaradei questions. People from the 150,000 members of his Facebook page posted 1,300 questions that received 60,000 votes. Needless to say, the event was a great success. On June 8, 2010, while browsing a friend's Facebook page, Ghonim saw a photograph of a twenty-eight year old man from Alexandria who had been beaten to death by two police officers on June 6. "For me," Ghonim wrote, "Khaled Said's image offered a terrible symbol of Egypt's condition." Ghonim decided to create a Facebook page called "Kullena Khaled Said" - "We are all Khaled Said." His first post read, "Today they killed Khaled. If I don't act for his sake, tomorrow they will kill me." In the next two minutes, his page garnered three hundred members. The strategy of the Facebook page was ultimately to mobilize public support in favor of political, social, and economic justice in Egypt. First by reading the posts; second by interacting with the content by writing comments and pressing the "like" button; third to get them to participate in the page's online campaigns and to contribute content themselves; fourth by taking their activism to the street: this was Ghonim's plan for involving the readers of Khaled's page. The first actions that took place in the street were called Silent Stands. Each person held hands with the person on either side and prayed. The intent was to show opposition through non-violent action. The turnout for the first one on June 18, 2010 was huge, with Silent Stands being held in Cairo and Alexandria. Every photo sent to the admins was posted on Facebook. The next day, five thousand people participated in a survey about the first Silent Stand. Input from this and other surveys was used to plan other protests, and to instantly respond to the needs of the Facebook page's members. For example, some people critized the formation of an English language version of Kullena Khaled Said. Ghonim took a poll, and of those answering, 78% were in favor of an English language version. Mohamed Ibrahim, an Egyptian living in the UK, set the page up immediately. Two more Silent Stands took place. The following Friday, July 23, 2010, was the date of the 1952 Egyptian revolution. The two suspects accused of murdering Khaled Said would be tried in the following week. Ghonim posted that the next Silent Stand would be July 23, and called it, "The Revolution of Silence." Ghonim cut out a scene from one of his favorite movies, V for Vendetta, and posted it on Khaled's page. Other clips from the movie followed, translated from English for Egyptian viewers. The July 23 action was not as well attended as had been hoped, but something changed during this protest. Protesters decided to march to the home of Khaled Said's mother. A number of protestors in this group as well as other places were harassed and arrested. Ghonim and many others in the nascent movement were adamant that only non-violent tactics be used. Given the fact that, as the crowds grew in size, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups were joining in the protests, it became necessary to reach out to people in the other groups and to try to find a consensus on how to act in the streets. September, 2010, the Facebook suspended the Khaled Said page. Since the page had been set up with fake accounts to protect the identities of its admins, Facebook felt justified in taking this step. It also said that numerous complaints had been made. When two people agreed to use their real names as admins, the page was reopened. Because of all this bother, and the fact that the Silent Stands were beginning to lose their effectiveness, Ghonim felt discouraged and thought that perhaps the time to protest was at an end. At the end of the year, the 2010 parliamentary elections in Egypt were the most corrupted in history. That did nothing for his morale. What happened next could not have been more of a surprise. Ahmed Maher, the cofounder of the April 6 Youth Movement, and AbdelRahman Mansour, Khaled Said admin, suggested to Ghonim in separate conversations that Police Day, January 25, 2011, should be the day of a special demonstration. They would call on activists to "celebrate" the police's transgressions against Egyptian citizens with Silent Stands, an art campaign, a wall of fame that honored noble policemen, and a wall of shame that exposed criminals in uniform. While the January 25 protest was being planned, the Arab Spring gained its first martyr. On December 10, 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi, an unlicensed vegetable cart operator in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, had his cart confiscated, and when he complained, he was slapped by a policewoman, humiliating him in public. He went to the police station to complain, but the officers refused to see him. At 11:30 that morning, he went back to the police station and set himself on fire as a protest. He did not die immediately, but lived until January 4, 2011. Protesters gathered at the police headquarters, where they were met with violence and tear gas. News of the protests grew and protests reached the capitol of Tunis by late December. The Khaled Said Facebook page posted one article about the subject, but decided that they needed to concentrate on Egypt instead. Abuses by Egyptian police were seen as the chain around necks of the people: if the police could be neutralized, the regime would be neutralized. In the meantime, several Egyptians set themselves on fire following the example of Bouazizi. Security forces skirmished with activists in the streets. Pressure was building. Locations for the January 25 action were not announced until hours before the protests began, in order to give Mubarak's forces less time to prepare. A number of locations were given so that people could join in the nearest one. Everything culminated in Tahrir Square, where security forces used tear gas and rubber bullets to force demonstrators from the square for the night. The turnout for January 25 was phenomenal. Even though the protesters had been evicted from the Tahrir Square for the night, it was certain that even bigger numbers were poised to join the movement. Ghonim's burning question was: "Where is all this going?" The demonstrations continued to grow. On the evening of January 27, Ghonim was arrested by state security forces after having dinner with Google colleagues in a quiet restaurant. He was blindfolded, thrown into a car and taken to a building where he would be interrogated. Ghomim immediately told them that he was the admin of the Khaled Said Facebook page, and that he was one of the organizers of the demonstrations that were surging through the streets. His interrogators did not believe most of what he said. They thought he was an instigator of a foreign plot. How could demonstrations be formulated a carried out by a bunch of people who did not know each other? It didn't make any sense! Ghonim was tortured, intimidated and confined until Sunday, February 6. At that time , he was told that they had determined that he was not acting as a foreign agent, and he would be released. Meanwhile, the revolution continued to surge outside on the streets. Ghonim was unaware of all that had been happening. After he was released, he worked as a part of the group that brokered Mubarak's removal from office. Mubarak sought to remain in Egypt with his Vice President in power. When people in Tahrir Square were informed of this, they started chanting, "Leave means go, in case you did not know!" Ghonim tried to put an online poll in place to survey the people's desires, but the server for the poll service crashed as thousands of people tried to access it. A group of political activists drew up a list of demands, ranging from Mubarak's leaving and the dissolution of his National Democratic Party, to new rounds of parliamentary elections, the arrest of all political prisoners from detainment, and the re-creation of the security apparatus. These demands were realized, beginning with Mubarak stepping down. Change in Egypt is far from over. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood now head up the elected government, and time will tell if demonstrations will be needed again to make adjustments in the political order. Wael Ghonim is currently the administrator of another Facebook page, We Are All Hamza Alkhateeb, which seeks to publicize the atrocities that are occurring in Syria. He is on leave from Google. Among the lessons learned from Egypt and the Arab Spring, I think the most important is that a better world is possible. When people unite to fight a common enemy, they are unstoppable. While leaders naturally emerge in any situation, the Arab Spring was essentially a leaderless movement. One my favorite slogans from Occupy Wall Street is, "Be the leader you seek." Each one of us has the ability and the drive to be that one guy with a computer and a group of like-minded friends who can go out and change the world. Now all we need is the will.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    I had to read this book for a class discussing social movements. I only needed to read two chapters for a group project, but I thought the book was really interesting and read the whole thing! There were some parts that were slow/repetitive, but I really enjoyed learning first hand about the Egyptian Revolution. This story brings “Facebook activism” to a whole new level.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Moataz Salah

    Reading this book gives you a different overview every 5- 10 years. Reading it in 2011 gives you a certain feeling and reading it again in 2020 gives you a totally different feeling. But it worth reading

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rick Lott

    The true story of how social media lead to the downfall of Egypt's dictator. The true story of how social media lead to the downfall of Egypt's dictator.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mohamed Elsherif

    meh, not a good book, and hardly qualifies as a book, entertaining though looking back at how the whole thing backfired.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    I've read a lot of sort of abstract analysis of how social media is impacting revolution or protest in various countries including Egypt, Libya, and the United States, and had a lot of discussion both socially and academically about the effect is can have and is having on such demonstrations, but for the most part it is in a general sense. I've certainly seen specific examples of social media causing change, but mostly it is as a result of things happening after the fact—a story or video of prot I've read a lot of sort of abstract analysis of how social media is impacting revolution or protest in various countries including Egypt, Libya, and the United States, and had a lot of discussion both socially and academically about the effect is can have and is having on such demonstrations, but for the most part it is in a general sense. I've certainly seen specific examples of social media causing change, but mostly it is as a result of things happening after the fact—a story or video of protest or violence going viral and reaching people through the use of social media. This book is interesting because it details the "before": how Ghonim and his fellow protestors were inspired by an "after" (the death of Kahled Said, whose story went viral) and used social media, mainly facebook to organize protest throughout Egypt. The book is definitely a memoir rather than a historical account—some of the personal details Ghonim includes have little connection to the events he is documenting, at least to this reader—but this helps to capture the thoughts and emotions he was feeling at the time as both a key figure in the protests but also as a husband and father who feared for his own safety and that of his family. Having followed the Egyptian revolution in the news when it occurred, I feel I know many of the basic facts of it so anything lacking on this front didn't much matter to me, and the insider's view was invaluable in providing an account of the protesters' perspectives, although I also liked that Ghonim tried to be largely unbiased in his reporting, not demonising even those in power but just promoting the message of peace and change. It is an inspiring story, and an important one in an age when digital communication is becoming more and more prevalent and powerful.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Adellet

    After travelling to Egypt in December last year and finding myself amidst protests against the new constitution, I found myself fascinated by the events that had led this amazing and beautiful country to this point. We had an absolutely brilliant Egyptian guide who was able to give us first hand insight into the current situation, but I must admit I was skeptical about his affirmation about the power of social media. It was this book allowed me to see what an amazing platform social media - parti After travelling to Egypt in December last year and finding myself amidst protests against the new constitution, I found myself fascinated by the events that had led this amazing and beautiful country to this point. We had an absolutely brilliant Egyptian guide who was able to give us first hand insight into the current situation, but I must admit I was skeptical about his affirmation about the power of social media. It was this book allowed me to see what an amazing platform social media - particularly Facebook - can be for sharing ideas and rallying support for a common cause. Living in a first-world country and being used to only seeing gym memes and posts about people's afternoon snacks on my news feed, it was inspiring seeing how these same tools can be used to, quite literally, change the world for the better. The days of censorship and media bias are numbered. This book proved to me that our generation has the potential to think independently and create the change they want to see in the world when driven by a communal desire for peace, justice and quality of life. This book truly showed me that "The power of the people is greater than the people in power."

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Bringhurst Familia

    If you're looking for an insider's account of last year's Egyptian Revolution, you won't do better than this. Wael Ghonim was not only an eyewitness to the events of the revolution, but also a key figure in it. As an executive with Google, he used his marketing experience to effectively spread the message of revolution to the youth of Egypt, break the fear barrier, and bring hundreds of thousands out on the streets. A good portion of the book is made up of primary source documents, in the form of If you're looking for an insider's account of last year's Egyptian Revolution, you won't do better than this. Wael Ghonim was not only an eyewitness to the events of the revolution, but also a key figure in it. As an executive with Google, he used his marketing experience to effectively spread the message of revolution to the youth of Egypt, break the fear barrier, and bring hundreds of thousands out on the streets. A good portion of the book is made up of primary source documents, in the form of posts he made on the wall of the Facebook page he created to mobilize the youth of Egypt. His passionate Facebook appeals work synergistically with his personal narrative to create a riveting, very immediate reading experience. I felt like I was living the Egyptian Revolution along with Ghonim. Although Ghonim's at times overblown prose might seem excessive to readers unfamiliar with Egypt and Egyptians, just go ahead and suspend your disbelief and take him seriously, and you'll be rewarded with an inspiring look into the mind and work of a modern-day hero.

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