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February 7, 2011 Clip No. 2800

Egypt Uprising: Google Executive Wael Ghonim in Tearful Interview after His Release from Prison: The Muslim Brotherhood Will Not Hijack This Revolution

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.

Wael 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.

Muna: Wael…

Wael 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…

Wael 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.'

Wael 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

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