Ready to die for Revolution 2.0, says Google executive


Washington : “It is no longer the time to negotiate” with the Egyptian government, said Google executive Wael Ghonim, one of the principal organisers of the massive anti-Hosni Mubarak protests for which he is “ready to die”.

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Ghonim described the huge protests against President Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt for nearly 30 years, as an “Internet revolution”.

He told CNN International Thursday: “I’m — I — I’ll — I’ll call it Revolution 2.0.”

Mubarak is under intense pressure to quit. One of the longest serving rulers in the Arab world, Mubarak has said he is ready to step down at the end of his term in September, and not now.

The determined protesters in downtown Cairo’s Tahrir Square are unwilling to have him as their ruler and have significantly scaled up their demonstrations.

Ghonim, who mysteriously went missing Jan 28 and was released by the authorities Feb 7, told CNN that they had planned a revolution.

“Yes, we did.”

“The plan was to — to get everyone on the street. Number one is that we’re going to start from, you know, poor areas. Our — our demands are going to be all about what touches people’s daily lives.”

He categorically said that the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been banned in the country but has held talks with the government to resolve the crisis, was “not involved at all in the organisation of this”.

“If you want to free a society, just give them Internet access, because people are going to, you know, the young crowds are going to — are going to all go out and see and — and hear the unbiased media, see the truth about, you know, other nations and their own nation. And they’re going to be able to communicate and collaborate together.”

Stressing that this was an “Internet revolution”, he said: “I’m — I — I’ll — I’ll call it Revolution 2.0.”

On negotiations being carried out to quell the uprising, Ghonim said: “This is no longer the time to negotiate, unfortunately. We — we went on the streets on the 25th and we wanted to negotiate. We wanted to talk to our government. We were, you know, knocking on the door.”

“They decided to negotiate with us at night with rubber bullets, with police — police sticks, with — with, you know, water hoses, with tear gas tanks and with arresting about 500 people of us.”

“Thanks. You know, we got the message. Now, when we escalated this and it became really big, they started listening to us.”

The man who has now emerged as the face of the protests said that his arrest was not a coincidence. “No, I was targeted, of course. They wanted me.”

Admitting that he was “super scared” after being arrested, the IT wiz said that he was blindfolded.

He frankly said that he has “given the complete power of attorney to my wife, on everything I own in my bank accounts, everything, because I’m ready to die. There are tons of thousands of people that are ready to die for…”

On the promises made by the government, Ghonim, who is in his 30s, said: “They gave us a lot of promises about, you know, gradual change and so on, but then going back to the interview that (Vice President) Omar Suleiman did a couple of days ago, he said that Egyptians are not ready for democracy now.”

“So I think this is actually our real problem with the regime…Use the baseball bat to hit those who are, you know, who decide that they want to say no.”

On being asked about whether he felt any responsibility, he said: “No. No. I am sorry, but I don’t — you know, I am sorry for their loss.”

“This could have been me or my brother. And they were killed – they were killed as if they, you know, you know, if these people died in a war, that’s fair and square, you know. You hold the weapon and someone is shooting, you know, and you die. But no, none of them.”

He went on to say: “This president needs to step down because this is a crime. And I am telling you, I’m ready to die. I have a lot to lose in this life…I work in the best company to work for in the world. I have the best wife and I have, I have – I love my kids.”

“But I’m willing to lose all of that for my dream to happen. And no one is going to go against our desire. No one. And I’m telling this to (Vice President) Omar Suleiman. He’s going to watch this. You’re not going to stop us. Kidnap me, kidnap all my colleagues. Put us in jail. Kill us. Do whatever you want to do. We are getting back our country. You guys have been ruining this country for 30 years. Enough. Enough. Enough.”