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Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People Is Greater Than the People in Power: A Memoir Hardcover – Jan 20 2012
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A "fast-paced and engrossing new memoir of political awakening...Ghonim’s memoir is a welcome and cleareyed addition to a growing list of volumes that have aimed (but often failed) to meaningfully analyze social media’s impact. It’s a book about social media for people who don’t think they care about social media. It will also serve as a touchstone for future testimonials about a strengthening borderless digital movement that is set to continually disrupt powerful institutions, be they corporate enterprises or political regimes…Ghonim’s writing voice is spare and measured, and marked by the same earnest humility he has displayed in media appearances…His individual story resonates on two levels: it epitomizes the coming-of-age of a young Middle Eastern generation that has grown up in the digital era, as well as the transformation of an apolitical man from comfortable executive to prominent activist." -- The New York Times Book Review "A remarkable personal testament that will be cited by future historians of both Facebook and the Arab Spring." -- Kirkus "Ghonim...brings his broad international perspective and knowledge of technology to this fascinating look at the new face of revolution." -- Booklist "Revolution 2.0...is likely to be required reading for web geeks, media experts, political scientists, advertising executives, activists, anarchists, confidence men, secret policemen, dictators and corporate strategists." -- The Telegraph (UK) "An articulate account of the author's middle-class upbringing under a draconian regime, and a gripping chronicle of how a fear-frozen society finally topples its oppressors with the help of social media...That the translation reads so smoothly in English is a linguistic feat...It helps that Ghonim is a methodical thinker whose plain and logical approach evokes a thoughtful rather than radical response. He deftly renders the details of his conversations with interrogators and willingly describes personal scenes...A final suspenseful chronicle of how government officials attempted to brainwash and dupe him after his release from prison will be eye-opening for anyone who wonders about the distorted mind-set of Egypt's leaders....It's not surprising that Ghonim's commitment to the cause affected his relationship with his wife and children; it reminds one of our own historical revolutionaries - John and Abigail Adams come to mind - who required a certain obsessive determination that may seem irresponsible to those who live in a democracy." -- The San Francisco Chronicle "Ghonim doesn't overreach in this deeply personal account. His words ring with an authentic tone...Ghonim avoids sweeping generalizations during those heady and tumultuous days." -- The Los Angeles Times "A fascinating book...There is an energy in the book and in Ghonim's words that makes one feel it is much too soon to assume the revolution is over, or to underestimate what the rebels achieved." -- The Philadelphia Inquirer "Deserve[s] to become part of the canon of classic prison literature" -- The Washington Post "Revolution 2.0 excels in chronicling the roiling tension in the months before the uprising, the careful organization required and the momentum it unleashed. Ghonim … present[s] a manifesto on the capacity of social media to transform a society…Its approach — inherently plural, modern and pragmatic — augurs well for a society on the brink of an uncertain future." --NPR.org "There's no doubting that his tell-it-like-it-is memoir will be studied by historians for generations to come." -- Bloomberg
About the Author
Wael Ghonim was born in Cairo and grew up in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, earning a degree from Cairo University in 2004 and an MBA from the American University in Cairo in 2007. He joined Google in 2008, rising to become Head of Marketing for Google Middle East and North Africa. He is currently on sabbatical from Google to launch an NGO supporting education and technology in Egypt.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The main problem cited by Ghonim and others seems to have been that the secret police had run truly amok. Although the citizenry tolerated Mubarak's 30-year dictatorship for a very long time, eventually people ran out of patience as the secret police became increasingly corrupt and disruptive to the lives of average Egyptians who were no threat to the state. (Congress and Homeland Security, take notice.)
The trigger event was the murder of a young man named Khaled Said, who was beaten to death in Alexandria by two secret police agents. Ghonim saw news of the death online and, in spite of fears for the safety of himself and his family, created a Facebook page to protest what he calls "a grave injustice." The popularity of the page snowballed and eventually Ghonim and a handful of others succeeded in taking the popular outrage off line and into the streets.
I do not think it is incidental that one can draw comparisons between Ghonim's story and the recent story of Trayvon Martin, whose alleged killer was not arrested until there was an overwhelming groundswell of popular demand for it via social media. It is true that the Martin case was aided and abetted by traditional, corporate media, which did not happen in Egypt. And it is also true that the US is not Egypt. I am not saying that I believe the Martin case will spark a revolution in the US. But there is no escaping that the Martin case would have played out differently if average people did not have an avenue of protest such as that provided by Twitter and Facebook. I wonder if these social networks are today's equivalent of pamphlets such as Common Sense, which played a major role in the American Revolution.
Revolution 2.0 is an easy read about a difficult question and that is, "How exactly did a few men start a revolution using social media?" I think the answer is that the Egyptian people were at the breaking point and had already been energized by the revolution, of sorts, in Tunisia. Facebook was a tool, smartly used, to mobilize a population that was ready to roll.
Ghonim's telling of the tale sheds some light on why and how it all happened, but there is much more to be studied and learned about how social media and political action are entwined. This book will, I believe, motivate inquiry and research that promises fascinating and sobering results.
Ghonim talks about the history of Egypt, the corrupt practices and how one instance of extreme brutality motivated him to use his understanding of the internet and social media to influence a generation of Egyptians to rise up against those practices.
Using examples from Ghandi and others who approached things in a peaceful, they took the opportunity of the January 25th celebration of the police to motivate thousands to stand up.
We see how little is mentioned of the mass congealing of the Arab speaking/Muslim world into one large block. This heralds the motivation and celebration of freedom.
A must read for our generation, Revolution 2.0, tells a tale of what can happen when people take a chance at freedom.
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