I’m so honored to have Asmaa Mahfouz of Cairo as a friend on Facebook. She’s the one who helped sparked the Egyptian revolution with her January 18 video on Facebook which I featured in my “Tahrir Voices” video. Her vlog inspired thousands of Egyptians to abandon their fear and join her in Tahrir Square to protest the repressive regime. Her vlog also drove the Egyptian government to block Facebook, Twitter, and the AlJazeera website, and contributed to the regime’s later shutdown of the Internet altogether in Egypt.
The video was later translated and posted to youtube on February 1 by AyahElBagdhadi, where it quickly went viral (currently 188,000 views) and became a contributing force to the downfall of Hosni Mubarak ten days later on February 11.
Asmaa continues to be a vocal advocate of Egyptian freedom, and I am glad to be able to hear her important voice via Facebook. Asmaa has 4,666 other friends on Facebook, so this is not personal, but instead is a use of Facebook as a public face. This is such an important function of Facebook. I also “like” the pages of Wael Ghonim (283,938 likes), the Google exec who authored the “We Are All Khaled” Facebook page in Arabic, another contributing force in the Egyptian revolution, which I also “like” in the English version (119,443 likes). Of course, most of this is Arabic, which is a challenge, but well worth it to be able to hear the authentic voices of Egypt’s future.