Egypt’s chief prosecutor has ordered an investigation into the death of Khaled Saeed, a young man allegedly killed by police in the coastal city of Alexandria.
Activists and family members say the 28-year-old was tortured to death for possessing video material that implicates members of the police in a drug deal.
The allegations of Saeed being brutally murdered by police triggered protests in Alexandria and Cairo, the capital.
Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh reports on how police brutality has once again put the country’s emergency law under the spotlight.
Wael Ghonim, symbolic leader of the Egyptian revolution, gave an interview to 60 Minutes on Sunday night. His message is clear and compelling. Dictators of the world who oppress their people, you should be freaking out now. Watch here:
For three weeks the world has been awaiting a face that would personify the determination and anger of the ‘jasmine revolution’ in Egypt. For all their accomplishments, neither Nobel Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei nor Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa quite fitted the bill: they were too stuffy and detached from the passions on display in Tahrir Square.
Last week, many Egyptians found their symbol in the boyish, bespectacled, 31-year-old Google employee Wael Ghonim. Better known by his Facebook nom de plume El Shaheed (the martyr), he could well be mistaken for another dishevelled but trendy techie with a trademark black computer bag—someone likely to be naturally awkward in the perfectly tailored suits that make Hosni Mubarak and Omar Suleiman appear so distinguished. To middle-class Egypt, the backbone of the Egypt uprising, Ghonim is the archetypal boy next door.
It is Ghonim’s ordinariness and modesty that enthralled Egyptians last week when he appeared on Dream TV after his release from 12 days of incarceration. His message was sincere and touchingly innocent: “We did this because we love Egypt”, “these are our rights”, “this is not the time to spread ideologies” and, “we deserve much better than what is happening to us.” There was no bitterness and no call for recrimination—he actually praised the patriotism of his tormentors — just a plea for life with dignity. He ended with a tearful apology: “I want to tell every mother and father who lost a child, I am sorry, but this is not our mistake. I swear to God it’s not our mistake. It’s the mistake of every one of those in power who doesn’t want to let go.”
By the time an emotionally distraught Ghonim abruptly concluded the interview, leaving the channel to sign off with mournful music and photographs of nameless boys felled by bullets in the prime of their lives, it is said there was not a dry eye in Egypt. The spurt in the numbers in Tahrir Square last Tuesday, particularly of women, could be traced to the Ghonim interview.
If Ghonim’s charm does indeed prove a game changer and Egypt persists in its determination for a new order that is democratic in both form and spirit, it will be a spectacular development. Since the June 2009 protests in Tehran against a blatantly rigged election, there has been growing interest in the role of social media as a catalyst for change in authoritarian societies. As the creator and administrator of the “We are all Khaled Said” page on Facebook, which attracted some 3.5 lakh followers before the uprising, Ghonim personified the new cyber activism. The Egypt uprising was triggered by an improvised protest rally on January 25 convened by the April 6 movement, a group that was forged primarily out of social media linkages.
This is not to go along with the facile description of the Egyptian troubles as the Facebook orTwitter uprising. Had the anti-Mubarak stir been merely a middle class revolt of the well-off, under-35s, it would have had an impact but it wouldn’t have either shaken an entrenched regime or forced a grudging shift in US policy. The demonstrations have attracted mass support, well beyond the relatively small group linked by social media. It has seen the participation of the bazaars, the working class and a Muslim Brotherhood that is ideologically disinclined to share the liberal values of the likes of Ghonim.
Where Facebook and Twitter have played a seminal role is in drawing a very wide swathe of the educated, middle class youth. In her interview with Ghonim, the feisty TV presenter Mona el-Shazly spoke about a curious facet of the movement: the participation of the sons and daughters of Establishment figures in the Tahrir Square protests. The Egyptian revolution is also a babalog revolt against the lack of personal and creative freedom.
It is this facet of the uprising that has contributed to the muddle in US policy. Hitherto, Washington viewed the global spread of the social media as both a success of US enterprise and a vehicle for the spread of American values. Each tirade against a Google or Twitter-inspired ideological contamination by Iranian clerics and Chinese commissars was seen as a triumph of US soft power. In Egypt, the earnest boys and girls spouting the virtues of democracy in American accents to CNN and BBC were also upholding the spirit of freedom the US always showcased. Tragically for Washington, this idealism was at odds with American geo-political interests.
Like the Egyptian youth who have outgrown the traditional culture of deference but yet remain passionately committed to Egypt, Twitter and Facebook are also setting their own norms. If social media helped liberate Egypt, Egypt could trigger the liberation of the social media from its American origins.
Although economically different, Malaysia and Egypt have striking similarities in their systems, said Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim
T. Ananda Krishnan, who is currently given by MAHATHIR a monopoly of satellite channels subscription, is said to be worth RM45.78 billion.
Anwar said in Egypt, the ruling party’s system ensured that Hosni Mubarak’s wife, Susan and his son, Gamal became extraordinarily wealthy, while in Malaysia, such a system of patronage also allowed family members of the country’s leaders to own huge amount of wealth.
“The economies may be different, but the system is the same. A party which is powerful and arrogant, and enriches the wife and kids. Who’s the richest in Egypt? Mubarak. Then Susan, his wife and his son, Gamal.

“Here, among the Malay, who is the richest? Mahathir’s son, Mokhzani, Najib (Razak)’s brother, Nazir and the third, Syed Mokhtar,” Anwar explained.
According to a recent report in Malaysian Business, Mokhzani Mahathir who heads Kencana Petroleum occupies the list of top 20 richest persons in the country.
While businessman Robert Kuok retained his position as the richest individual in Malaysia with assets worth some RM50.04 billion, and well-connected tycoon T. Ananda Krishnan, who is currently given a monopoly of satellite channels subscription, is said to be worth RM45.78 billion.
On Najib’s comment that Malaysia would go bankrupt should Pakatan Rakyat implemented its policies as spelt out in its ‘Orange Book’, Anwar said Najib did not make any sense.
“Which country will go bankrupt for helping the people… it will only go bankrupt if it suppresses the people,” he shot back.
Consider this: Hosni Mubarak dies and meets Anwar Sadat and Gamal Abdel Nasser in the afterlife. They ask him: poisoned or shot? He replies: ‘Facebook-ed.’
Facebook, Twitter, MySpace other prominent social networking sites, coupled with the world- wide internet at large have sparked a revolution in the Middle East and around the world. Thanks to social networks, people are being exposed to different thought processes like never before. It is the opium for the masses and raison d’être in our generation.
And yet we are not the first generation to be moved by technology! Technology has been at the root of political revolution.
Modern press, radio and telephone are few of the many technologies that have increased our connectivity and consequently our likelihood to demand political change.  Because of these innovations, the masses have had the opportunity to see the unseen and recognize the opportunities that they have not been given.
To the disappointment of economists, it is not the wage-income disparity, or tipping poverty rates that awaken the masses. Instead it is technology!
An early example comes from the period following the start of the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution had not only created a more efficient way of product creation but also improved our connectivity through better transport and communication devices. People were traveling across Europe to learn techniques and improve trade.
In the process they were exposed to new ideas and thoughts. The enlightenment thinkers emerged during this time period. Before long, there were a group of angry women marching to Versailles, who knew better than to support a dictatorial king. The wind of revolution soon spread as constituents of Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Portugal started to demand a change in government.
Then, at the turn of the century, there came not one but several technological breakthroughs that increased our connectivity. The telephone was invented by Graham Bell in the late 1890s and the first radio announcement was made in 1922. Not coincidentally, political ideologies started spreading at this time as well.
Karl Marx’s concepts of communism and socialism began to gain traction throughout the world. To rival these concepts, a rough sketch of democracy also emerged. People started to think and talk about politics even more. Increased connectivity allowed for more conversation and conversations started leading to political unrest.
Eventually, ideologies clashed in World War I and the World War II. Undoubtedly, politics had a critical role to play in the events leading up to the war, but we cannot dispute the role that technology played in mobilizing the masses. In India itself, speeches given by Gandhiji in Delhi could be relayed to Chennai and vice-versa. In Europe, the rise of fall of Nazism and Stalinism came and went because of innovations and human exposure to possibilities.
Human passion was leveraged by innovations that exposed people to events in the country and beyond.
In the cold war period, the arrival of television strengthened the virulence of political ideologies. The West represented the ideals of capitalism and the USSR represented socialist thought. Revolution invariably took place in the USSR and the territories broke apart when they saw how free market economy brought a better lifestyle to the United States.
That brings us to the internet. In the 1990s, the storm of innovation in technologies was brewing in the Silicon Valley and other IT hubs of the world. The turn of the century saw it became all-pervasive. People could connect with each other instantly through email and instant messaging. Finally, a decade after as the tentacles of technology have spread across the world, we see political revolution. Now in Jordan, Syria, Iran and Algeria tension is building up.
In the countries that opened their doors to innovation, we see revolution taking place like in the Arab world. But in countries that successfully control the internet and the media, there is no indication of political tension yet, like in China.
The pattern of innovation and political revolution is simple: every time there is a technological breakthrough that provides people the opportunity to be exposed to different mindsets there will be political revolution.
Now, that Mubarak, Sadat and Nasser have exchanged notes, the question remains, which government will go down next?


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