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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People Is Greater Than the People in Power: A Memoir Kindle Edition
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|Length: 329 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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This book is more than a personal account of Wael Ghoneim's role in the revolution. It is a reflection of his generation's unexpected involvement in their country's political fate. Long viewed as spoiled Westernized brats, liberal middle class Egyptian youths proved to be much more than affluent fast car driving beach kids with an identity crisis. Revolution 2.O delves deep into the mindset of a generation that surprised even itself. While the world expected, and almost wished, any upheaval in the Middle East to come from the radical right wing, the roaring voices of pro-democracy and liberal human rights activists drowned the stereotyping of the Middle East. It is sad how world politics, working with Arab regimes and military, are trying desperately to push the right wing to the foreground of the new Middle East at the expense of the young activists who initiated the rebellion no one dared even talk about. It is important to read Revolution 2.0 not only with the events of the revolution as the backdrop of the narrative and analysis but with the book itself as a testimony and an account of the true origins of the Egyptian revolution.
It is a must read. This account will become even more important as such true origins are overshadowed by world governments' deals with the right wing and the military in the Middle East to hijack the revolutions sparked by pro-democracy and liberal activists.
For a full understanding of the Egyptian revolution and the events preceding and leading up to it... read this book.
I arrived wondering if social media was used more in business in Egypt in other places now that the power of these tools was obvious to all. But I learned an important fact as I was talking to people about social media. Many people I spoke with told me how the country is suffering because tourists are scared to come because of what they read and see in the media. People think Egypt is dangerous for foreigners. Tourism is a very important industry and a critical source of foreign currency investment and the numbers of visitors is way down.
Indeed, many people questioned my wisdom in traveling there. But I was safe the entire time.
Wael Ghonim's memoir tells the fascinating story of how he became the anonymous admin of a Facebook page called Kullena Khaled Said, which turned into a critical social media communication point for political change.
Khaled Said, a 28-year-old Egyptian, was tortured to death by the police. He became the symbol for many Egyptians who wanted to see an end to the Mubarak regime that perpetrated such violence, conducted under the 30-year-old long emergency martial law.
Ghonim was an ordinary middle class Egyptian citizen who was living in Dubai and working for Google. Many of his Facebook posts (which because they were done under the "admin" role were anonymous) captured the sentiments of young people eager for change. When the Tunisian government fell under similar circumstances, the time was right. "I feel that very soon we will turn the page, claim our pen, and begin writing our future with our own hands," Ghonim wrote on the page. (6,317 Likes 2,077 Comments 1,244,267 Views).
Ghonim was eventually arrested and spent more than a week in prison. His book reads like a spy novel as he describes the ways he hid his identity and had people help him with the page even when he was unable to.
The culmination was the massive protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square and central locations in many other cities. "Message to the regime: The people on the streets raise the level of their demands with every passing hour. The current demand that needs to be fulfilled as fast as possible is for the president to step down and leave Egypt." (5,514 Likes 5,030 Comments 1,013,841 Views).
Ghonim doesn't claim credit for the revolution nor did anybody I spoke with say that he should. He says there are other more outspoken and more courageous people than him. But there is no doubt that his social networking and marketing skills led to a new "Revolution 2.0" model for political change.
The lessons can be applied to any communications. Let's hope social media can help bring the tourists back to Egypt.
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