Google exec Wael Ghonim’s first interview out of Egyptian government custody

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Wael Ghonim, shortly after being freed from custody by the Egyptian government Monday, gave a quick video interview about his experience to Egypt’s On TV network.

Ghonim is Google’s head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa. He was reportedly missing since Jan. 27, after taking part in anti-government protests calling for the removal of President Hosni Mubarak from office as well as for other political changes.


Mubark has been president of Egypt for nearly 30 years.

After his release, Ghonim also posted on Twitter and rejoined protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, which has been a center of the nation’s anti-government demonstrations.

In the On TV interview, the Cairo native asked that people not heroize him too much and said he hadn’t been tortured while jailed.

Ghonim’s political profile rose in the time he was held by the government. Egypt’s April 6 opposition group named him its official spokesman during that time, calling on the government to free him and talk to him if it wanted the group to take part in negotiations to end the anti-government protests.

According to captions on a YouTube video posted by ONtveg, Ghonim said in the On TV interview:

First of all, I give my condolences to the Egyptian people who died. I give my condolences to them. I can’t say I apologize because none of us were breaking anything. Our protests were peaceful and our motto was ‘Do not break.’ Second of all, I would like to say, please don’t make a hero out of me. I am not a hero. On the contrary, I am a someone who has been sleeping for 12 days. The heroes are the ones who went down to the streets. Please direct the camera on the right people.

Also, I am all right, thank God.

By God’s will, by God’s will, we will change our country. All the trash that has been happening in our country (Egypt) must be cleaned.

We are all one hand that will clean it, by God’s will.

The video can be seen above. English captions can be seen by clicking the CC icon near the bottom right corner of the video player.


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Video: Wael Ghonim is Free: First Words أول تصريحات وائل غنيم English Subs. Credit: ONTVeg via YouTube