We are all Khaled Said

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bmlong08
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We are all Khaled Said

What sparked my interest in social media as a form of digitally fueled activism was an incident that happened in June of 2010 and is accredited for stimulating the revolution in Cairo.

On June 6, 2010 Khaled Mohamed Saeed, a young Egyptian man, died after being arrested by Egyptian police for supposed theft and weapons possession. Witnesses claimed that Saeed was arrested by two detectives in Alexandria, Egypt who then took Saeed outside and beat him to death. The police report on the other hand, claimed that Saeed died from suffocation in attempt to swallow a bag of hash. However, the former chief medical examiner of Egypt, Ayman Fouda, stated that the injuries found to Saeed’s body should have been investigated further during the autopsy. According to Saeed’s family, Saeed was beaten to death because he possessed video material that implicated members of the Egyptian police in a drug deal.

So why is this death so important to the revolution of Cairo? After Saeed’s death, his brother leaked a mobile picture of his beaten corpse on the Internet and a human rights outcry spread across the globe. Protestors rallied together against this police brutality and what may have been even more significant was the creation of the Facebook page We Are All Khaled Said by Google executive Wael Ghonim.

This Facebook page was used as a bullhorn to rally protestors. It’s constant updates on the revolution helped keep protestors informed. However, on January 27, 2011, Wael Ghonim posts the last message on his Twitter account saying that the Egyptian police would arrest him. The next day Ghonim was taken by four men while trying to hail a taxicab and was blindfolded and held for twelve days.

The page We Are All Khaled Said rallied protestors in Egypt and further motivated them after Ghonim’s arrest. Another Facebook page was created on February 8, 2011 that called for Ghonim to be the spokesperson for a number of anti-government groups. More than 190,000 people have joined it. It is apparent that social media is having an impact on political movements, but what are the consequences? Police brutality and the silencing of millions of online voices? It is apparent that social media has the ability to motivate protestors, but the issue of violence is still relevant even on the Internet. As social media gains a greater role in political protest, those using it should take the issue of increasing violence into consideration.

 

Police Kiling Sparks Egypt Protest

 

kepier08
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Re: We are all Khaled Said

Bond,

 

I really appreciate your blog topic.  This issue you bring up about the death of Saeed is an important one and brings many other issues to the table.  One being the media coverage of the death.  I personally had not heard of this death in great detail, only very briefly.  I didn't know who this man was, where he was from or anything.  I just knew that there were photographs leaked, which brings me to my next issue that is largely overlooked: the way the media handled this issue. I don't think that unless there was a huge outcry form human rights groups and activists it would have been made a big deal.  I think that because the beatings were done by higher powers and the implication of drugs being involved, the media was trying to cover up the incident and the only reason why this went global was because of the picture that was leaked.

 

Your blog touches on many important and largely overlooked issues around the world.  Thank you for blogging on such a vital topic!

 

Katherine


"An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day." - Henry David Thoreau

bmlong08
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Re: We are all Khaled Said

Katherine,

 

Thank you for you reply! I am glad that i am shedding light on this topic, especially since it is one that I knew little about as well until I started researching it for my SYE. The issue of police corruption and media censorship is one that I believe should be addressed thoroughly, but unfortunately does not appeal to mainstream media and hegemonic powers. The death of Khaled Said was a turning point in the Egyptian revolution because it highlighted the very cause the protestors were rallying against: police corruption and the government's ability to hide it. This issue was further buried by the government's censorship of the media, shutting down of the Internet and detainment of online protestors and bloggers. I will discuss this in greater detail in my upcoming blogs so I hope you keep reading! Thank you again for your input.

 

Bond