Why Egypt wasn’t waiting for WikiLeaks to ignite a revolution

Nancy Messieh writes:

Ask any Egyptian how much of an influence the Internet was in the nation’s uprising, the first thing they’ll probably do is roll their eyes at you. I’ve certainly mentioned it countless times – International media found the perfectly convenient package of the Facebook revolution fueled by a Google executive. A better lede couldn’t have been written if they had made it up themselves.

But the thing is, there is as much fiction in that phrase as there is fact. Yes the Facebook page We Are All Khaled Said, created by the Google executive Wael Ghonim, was instrumental in mobilizing a certain demographic in Egypt. But long after Hosny Mubarak was toppled, figures have emerged to prove that calling the uprising in Egypt in any way, shape or form, a Facebook Revolution, is almost as ridiculous as the short-lived name, the Lotus Revolution, a name which had absolutely nothing to do with the movement.

In case you’re curious, the Lotus Revolution was a name that followed the just as ill-thought out name for the Tunisian uprising, the Jasmine Revolution. Both names were no doubt dreamed up by journalists who had visited the countries once upon a time, and were enamoured with the exotic, oriental, incense-filled alleyways of Cairo and Tunis. The reality of these uprisings couldn’t be further from the Orientalist postcard snapshot that is continually forced down our throats.

The reality of the uprising in Tunisia is that it was sparked by a young man, Mohamed Bouazizi, who lit himself on fire, because that was the only form of protest he had left to use. The reality of the uprising in Egypt is that it was sparked by a young man, Khaled Said, who was brutally beaten to death in an alleyway, while people watched, helpless as he begged for his life.

So with that in mind, it’s no surprise that the Wikileaks parody ad that seemed to be taking a bit of credit for the Egyptian revolution has sparked outrage among Egyptian activists.

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