Following are excerpts
from an interview with Google executive
Wael Ghonim, shortly after he was released from an Egyptian prison.
The interview aired on Dream2 TV on February 7, 2011.
Ghonim: First of all, I want to tell all the mothers and fathers
whose children were killed that we pray that God accepts your children
as martyrs, whether they were citizens, officers, or soldiers. Whoever
was killed is a martyr.
In Egypt, we like to
invent heroes, but I am not a hero. I slept for 12 days. The real heroes
are the people who took to the streets, joined the demonstrations, sacrificed
their lives, or were arrested and put their lives in harm's way. I was
not a hero. What happened to me made me regret that I was not with the
people. I was coming from the UAE to participate in the demonstration.
I told people at work that I had an urgent personal matter. I told them
that something had happened to my father, and that I needed six days
off to go to Egypt. I had vacation time saved up, so they said okay.
We are not traitors,
Muna. We love Egypt.
Ghonim: We are not serving anyone's agenda... Some of us are very
rich, living in the best homes, driving the best cars. I don't need
anything from anyone. I didn't ask for anything. The things we did put
our lives in danger, and we didn't know anything about it. We said we
would do it, and that's it. We said that we would fight for our rights,
because this is our country. We put our lives in harm's way, and none
of us did it for personal gain. The people who planned this and went
to demonstrate do not want for anything. I don't need anything.
The thing that tormented
me most in jail was that people would know that I am the “admin.”
I am not a hero. I was using my keyboard to write on the Internet. I
was not risking my life. I don't want to mention people by name because
they have not been released yet. I don't know where they are, and I
don't want to put their lives in danger.
Many people, some of
whom you have met, like Mustafa Al-Naggar, were really risking their
lives, while I was writing on my keyboard. There are no heroes. The
real heroes are the people on the street, each and every one of us.
There was no knight on a horse urging people to take action. Be careful
that no one tries to con you this way. This is a revolution of the Internet
youth, which later became the revolution of the youth of Egypt.
Nothing justifies the
crime of kidnapping. My kidnapping was a crime. This is what we are
fighting. If you want to arrest me, use the law. If you don't know how
to use the law, that's too bad. Try changing the law. I'm no legal expert,
but they can use the parliament to change the law. I'm neither a terrorist
nor a drug dealer, so, with all due respect, you can't apply the Emergency
Law on me. But when I entered [prison] and talked with the officers,
I sensed that these people are worried about Egypt. They are worried
about Egypt and try to do one thing, while I'm worried about Egypt and
try to do another thing. Unfortunately, because of the political regime
that was in place, these two things were at odds with one another.
The Muslim Brotherhood
were not involved in this at all, and did not know anything about the
demonstration. They were just like anyone else joining in. Secondly,
until Friday, when they said that they would participate… This is
up to them. As a political force, they can participate if they want.
But ultimately, they will not hijack this cause, and we don't want any
political elements or associations lecturing us. This was done by the
Egyptian youth, who are worried about their country.
Muna: The people
who were killed are our children and our brothers. They had no ulterior
motives. The pictures we showed yesterday are proof of that. I don't
know if you saw these pictures or not…
Ghonim: No, I didn't.
Muna: You can
see pictures of young men in the prime of their lives. These are the
people who took to the streets… Don't start crying, Wael. Wael, don't
cry. These people were not looking to lead political parties. They were
not driven by poverty. They were not facing a dead-end. They took to
the streets for the sake of their country, Egypt. They said: 'We will
do what previous generations could not do. We are not activists. We
are not financed by anyone. We just want to say that we love this country.'
Ghonim [crying]: I'd like to say to every mother and
father who have lost their son: I'm sorry but this was not our fault.
By God, this was not our fault. This is the fault of anyone who was
part of the rule. I want to go.
Ghonim gets up and walks out, crying