Wael Ghonim's Dream Interview - Part 1

Uploaded by MarcinCalifornia on 07.02.2011

>> Mona El Shazly: Greetings. Let me tell you a little story.
A story that happened on Thursday 27 before bloody Friday
Let me start from Wednesday
Wednesday, in an episode of this program, we thought it will be the last episode of this program
It was the intention, or the feeling, that this will be the last episode of this program
Considering many circumstances that some may know, or feel or they may not know
We were speaking of the conditions in the country, and the protests of January 25th
And the blockage of the internet and Facebook, and the anger sweeping through the youth
We had a phone call with a brilliant young man, very savvy with the internet, and Facebook
And what are the kids, or the youth, and their disgruntled feelings…or their engrossed feelings of a disgust for what happened to them on Tuesday
And the severing of their “life line”, which is Facebook, which connects them to the world and to each other
This young man’s name is Wael Ghonim
He made a phone call to us and discussed the technical issues, and clearly was wound-up because
he is one of many youth using this tool and was a frequenter of protests
And this is something we cannot criticize, and does not stop us from talking to him live on the air
After being live with us, the day after, he sent me a text message on my private cellphone
And said, I am sorry that I was, ummm, too excited that I needed to be during my interview
So I replied to his message, “Never mind”, don’t worry about it Wael, “Good luck”
On Thursday, the 27th, we talked on the phone, because it was known that on Friday there will be massive protests
I was checking on him, we talked, and he told me the internet has been shut down, and he was in a very disturbed state.
We ended the phone call with mutual well wishes, and I told him, “take care of yourself Wael”
All this is happened under a very casual/normal context, that takes place between…everyone.
Friday came along, and they cut communications in Egypt. Hence no one was talking to anyone.
There were many people that you don’t know where they are and it is natural and logical to assume that the communication blockade is the reason why you cannot connect with them.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday passed, then I was shocked with phone call from an unknown number, not a local number, an international one
The man who was speaking, “Miss Mona, my name is Najib, I am Wael’s colleague at Google. Wael has disappeared. Disappeared since Friday.”
I asked him “how did you get my number?”
He responded “I am his best friend, and I know he made a phone call to your show on Thursday, sometime around 1-2 am…
So I imagined that you wouldn’t just know where he is, but also could help in reaching him/finding him”
I told him Najib…
Obviously I was suspicious, because I don’t know who is Najib, and I have no idea where Wael is. I was shocked with the news that he is missing.
He said “I managed to access his personal accounts (internet), because I am a very close friend and I have his password(s), and I got your phone number, lest you help us”
I took the number…I took Wael’s quad name…I must admit, that friend gained my trust, the noble/honorable Mr. Najib, and he is Syrian.
He said “Please do not say this to the media, because we do not know where Wael is, we are afraid to speak to the media, in fear that this would hurt Wael or put him in harm’s way”
I responded “Don’t worry Najib”
Since that day, we have been making phone calls, and trying to connect with any and everyone we can get a hold of regarding this young man who disappeared.
The answers were always, “we have not arrested anyone in the first place” or “This name is not in our records”
We would ask “could you please look for it/him”, or “maybe you have forgotten some” or “maybe due to Friday’s disruption, some are in your custody and you are unaware”
In reality, we exhausted all efforts, and I know I was not alone in this effort. The reality is that there were many people, not just friend’s of Wael, but people on Facebook, and his respectable, honorable colleagues at Google. Until officially, it was announced that Wael has disappeared.
Since then we started talking frankly/openly about this, and we started asking for the release of Wael, not just wael, but him and all the people with him. All the people who did not have any wants ambitions and purposes but to participate in peaceful protests calling for a dignified nation.
Yesterday, we found out that there is a promise that Wael and the people with him will be released
I honestly, did not believe that promise, because until this morning I was calling certain individuals who should be in “the know”, and I would ask them about Wael, and they would say “that name is not in our custody”
But I couldn’t entice this negative feeling in others or to refute these promises in last night’s episode or tonight’s.
Tonight, until 7pm, my phone rang, and the name I have saved on my phone as “Wael Google” appeared.
Wael called me haistly, and I asked him, “Are you Wael, or someone has/using your phone”
He responded “No it's me, I am Wael”
I asked “What is going on? What happened? What did they do to you?”
I don’t know anything, all I know is that Wael will be with us in minutes to tell us what happened since Friday till today, since he has been arrested, until he was released from State security today.
Wael Ghonim, or “Wael Google” as I have his contact saved on my cellphone will be with us shortly, will be with us shortly and I have no idea what he will say.
What is most important, is that he was released and we will listen to him, regardless of what ever he has to say.
Note: When he called, he was sitting in car next to Dr. Hossam Badrawi, who seem to be the reason he was released, after his release was delayed than the time announced.
Stay with us, for an interview that for me combines the personal and the professional sides of my life.