Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Google's Mid-East Marketing Head Snatched Off Cairo Street (Updated)

ghonim pharoah.jpgHundreds, perhaps thousands, of protesters, and by-standers, have been seized by police in Egypt in the past days. Perhaps the most high-profile arrest in the high-tech world is that of Wael Ghonim, head of marketing for Google in the Middle East and North Africa.

Ghonim was apparently seized on Thursday. The last anyone heard from him was a tweet in which he explained how people were communicating, using "proxy servers."


(Update: Chris Albon tells us in the comments that a number of Ghonim's friends "have confirmed for a day now that the man in the video and screenshot is definitely *not* him." Because of Albon's assertion that "at this point the rumor is hurting the search for him," we have removed the screenshot and the video we had previously posted.)

His penultimate tweet was unnerving.

"Pray for #Egypt. Very worried as it seems that government is planning a war crime tomorrow against people. We are all ready to die #Jan25"

Let's hope he has not had to make that severe a sacrifice.

Ghonim is only one among many, but he is a very prominent one, with connections to a powerful multinational tech company. Also, he's one of ours. Not only is he important in his own right, but for how he symbolizes the chaos and impunity the protesters are dealing with on the streets of Egypt.

Google published a UK phone number, asking anyone who's seen him to call. +44 20 7031 3008. Although a native Cairene, Ghonim is headquartered in the United Arab Emirates and had only been in Cairo for a conference when the protests broke out.


Taryn Manning Nikki Cox Carla Gugino Ana Hickmann Mischa Barton

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