WBEZ | Egypt protests http://www.wbez.org/tags/egypt-protests Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en One year later, Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who stoked revolution in Egypt, tells his story http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-25/one-year-later-wael-ghonim-google-executive-stoked-revolution-egypt-tell <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-25/AP110208039658.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Wael Ghonim, center, a Google marketing manager who was a key protest organizer." class="caption" height="489" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-25/egypt.jpg" title="Wael Ghonim, center, a Google marketing manager who was a key protest organizer. (AP)" width="630"></p><p>In an interview with <em>Worldview’s</em> Jerome McDonnell, Ghonim lifted the veil behind Egypt’s historic year of change. He said that the revolution would have happened without his actions, and also defended the slow pace of progress on the country’s new path toward democracy.</p><p>Last year, Egyptians began filing into Tahrir (or liberation), Square, first by the thousands— and then by the hundreds of thousands.</p><p>Ghonim’s activism — both online and on the streets — was critical in stoking the fire that toppled President Hosni Mubarek.</p><p><strong>Ghonim: The revolution had to be leaderless</strong></p><p>Ghonim discussed the anarchic nature of the protests, which he helped organize anonymously through a Facebook page. Named for an Egyptian beaten to death by local police in broad daylight, the “We Are All Khaled Said” page became the driving force behind the protests. “I was very surprised to see a lot of people going to the street – thousands doing it – without knowing who’s behind the invitation,” he says. “People believed in the cause and did not really care about the person [organizing].” He insists the revolution would not have unfolded to the same extent any other way.</p><p><strong>Ghonim defends slow progress on democracy-front</strong></p><p>Ghonim also defends the pace of progress in Egypt, where Islamists now hold a majority of seats in Parliament. “People revolted so that Egyptians can be empowered to make their own choices about whom they want to be representing them,” he says, reminding listeners that ‘“Egypt is recovering from about 30 years of corruption and more than 60 years of military rulers.”</p><p>The 31-year-old also revisits the uprising itself, in which an increasingly emboldened citizenry used social media to amplify the impact of street protests. He says what happened in Egypt reflects a new world order. “In the past, the people in power used to make all the decisions,” he said. “We’re seeing all of these movements around the world trying to do the same activities. World leaders need to start realizing that there need to be more grassroots activities, more bottom-up rather than top-down approaches in dealing with the people’s problems.”</p><p><a href="http://www.ahmedrehab.com/" target="_blank">Ahmed Rehab</a>, the Egyptian American director of <a href="http://www.cairchicago.org/" target="_blank">Chicago’s Council on Islamic Relations</a>, also takes part in this conversation. Wael’s new book is <em>Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People is Greater than the People in Power</em>.</p></p> Wed, 25 Jan 2012 16:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-25/one-year-later-wael-ghonim-google-executive-stoked-revolution-egypt-tell Egypt news excites Chicago Muslims http://www.wbez.org/story/ciogc/egypt-news-excites-chicago-muslims <p><p>News of the resignation of Egypt&rsquo;s thirty-year ruler Hosni Mubarak sent waves of excitement through the Chicago area&rsquo;s Muslim community as they went to afternoon prayer services Friday. Egyptian-American worshipers at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, Illinois, cried with relief as they called the change a &ldquo;watershed moment&rdquo; in the history of Egypt and the Middle East. &ldquo;We are so proud,&rdquo; said Raba Gomaa during a press conference arranged by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.</p> <div>Though the change in Egypt&rsquo;s regime was announced just hours before the service began, it was the topic of Sheikh Jamal Said&rsquo;s sermon. &ldquo;We would like to congratulate our brothers and sisters in Egypt,&rdquo; said Said. &ldquo;The tyrant is gone, <span>Elhamdulillah. The tyrant is gone.&rdquo; In the women&rsquo;s worship space below, female congregants jubilantly greeted each other with the Arabic phrase that has become a refrain during the weeks of protest: &ldquo;Tahya Masr!&rdquo; (&ldquo;Long Live Egypt&rdquo;).</span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The high emotions followed a period of deep despondency that set in with many Thursday, when Mubarak indicated in a speech that he had no intention of stepping down.&nbsp;But Karima Mohamed, who left Egypt roughly 20 years ago, said when she heard that speech she knew Mubarak&rsquo;s time was coming to an end. &ldquo;After two minutes we know something (was going to) happen,&rdquo; said Mohamed. &ldquo;The people (would) not accept it because he tried to play a game on the people, but the people over there, they're more smarter than what he did.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Others at the service said they believe the change in Egypt will ripple through the rest of the Middle East. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s 22 Arabic-speaking countries,&rdquo; said Dr. Zaher Sahloul, president of the CIOGC. &ldquo;Two of them are right now free: Tunisia and Egypt. Twenty are left.&rdquo;&nbsp;Oussama Jamal, Vice President of the Mosque Foundation, expressed similar hopes that the developments in Egypt won&rsquo;t stop at that country&rsquo;s borders. &ldquo;We hope it is a cold, and everybody will catch it soon,&rdquo; he said.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Many of the Egyptian-Americans said they are confident that their countrymen will successfully steer through the transition period to a peaceful and fair democracy, and they&rsquo;re looking forward to helping in any way they can. &ldquo;In ten years you can see you can see Egypt not less than Europe or America,&rdquo; said Mohamed. &ldquo;It will be in the top again, insh&rsquo;Allah.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 11 Feb 2011 23:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/ciogc/egypt-news-excites-chicago-muslims Chicago's Egyptian-Americans angry over leader's speech http://www.wbez.org/story/egypt/chicagos-egyptian-americans-angry-over-leaders-speech <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/egyptprotest.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Egyptian-Americans in Chicago are shocked by the announcement Thursday that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak intends to finish out the rest of his term. Many, including Chicago resident Mohamed Okda, expected the 30-year ruler of Egypt to signal his immediate resignation in an address to the country Thursday.&nbsp;Okda said he spent the day glued to his computer, watching Egyptian television online. &ldquo;I'm very angry. I'm very disappointed,&rdquo; said Okda. &ldquo;Everyone was waiting for our country to change, and he did not deliver that.&rdquo;</p> <div>Mubarak also failed to call for an end to decades of martial law in Egypt.&nbsp;Okda said he had hoped for at least that much, so that he could finally return to Egypt after ten years of exile in the United States.&nbsp;Okda said he fled Egypt after his pro-democracy activities in Egypt landed him in trouble with authorities. He and other Egyptian-Americans in Chicago said they are now worried that Mubarak's insistence to remain in office could spur violence in the streets of Egypt.</div></p> Thu, 10 Feb 2011 23:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/egypt/chicagos-egyptian-americans-angry-over-leaders-speech Demonstrators demand new U.S. policy on Egypt http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/demonstrators-demand-new-us-policy-egypt <p><p>Hundreds of Chicagoans gathered downtown during rush hour on Friday to say that President Barack Obama still hasn&rsquo;t been forceful enough in telling Egypt&rsquo;s 30-year president to go.&nbsp;The demonstrators chanted as they held signs and waved Middle Eastern flags across from the Egyptian Embassy on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Just hours earlier, Obama had spoken to reporters about Egypt, saying that &quot;there needs to be a transition process that begins now.&quot;&nbsp;But Laith Saud, one of the organizers of the rally, said that wasn't enough. When asked what he would rather hear the U.S. president say, Saud responded, &ldquo;President Mubarak, you have lost all legitimacy. We could start with that.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Many at the protest said they had friends who are at Tahrir Square in Cairo, the epicenter of the Egyptian protests. They said they'd rather be there, but voicing their part from Obama&rsquo;s hometown of Chicago is the next best thing.</div></p> Sat, 05 Feb 2011 01:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/demonstrators-demand-new-us-policy-egypt Chicagoan Ahmed Rehab provides an update from Cairo http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/chicagoan-ahmed-rehab-provides-update-cairo <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/108690677.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets across Egypt today in the largest demonstration yet. Estimates fluctuate between one and two million people. Though the exact number is uncertain, the demand for President Hosni Mubarak to leave office is clear. <a href="http://www.ahmedrehab.com/blog/" target="_blank">Ahmed Rehab</a>, executive director of the Chicago chapter for the Council of American-Islamic Relations (<a target="_blank" href="http://www.cairchicago.org/">CAIR</a>), spent the day in Cairo&rsquo;s Tahrir Square, site of one of the largest gatherings. He tells us about the peaceful day of celebration.</p></p> Tue, 01 Feb 2011 17:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/chicagoan-ahmed-rehab-provides-update-cairo