February 9th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Wael Ghonim: Negotiation days with Mubarak are over

Ivan Watson

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) - Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian activist being hailed by many fellow protesters as a hero, had a message Wednesday for his country's leaders: "If you are true Egyptians, if you are heroic Egyptians, it's time to step down."

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Ghonim, who was freed by Egyptian authorities on Monday after 10 days, said it is "no longer the time to negotiate" with the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

"There's a lot of blood now" that has been spilled, he said. It's time for people at the highest levels of the government "to apologize to the families" of those killed, he said.

Human Rights Watch said Tuesday the number of people killed in the Egyptian protests has reached 302 - 232 in Cairo, 52 in Alexandria and 18 in Suez.

Ghonim played a key role in organizing the protests that have convulsed Egypt for more than two weeks. He was the administrator of a Facebook page that is widely credited with calling the first protest January 25. A Google executive who lives in Dubai with his wife and two children, he had returned to Egypt for the protests.

His disappearance January 28 quickly captured international attention.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Ivan Watson • Middle East
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Mahmoud

    All youth in Egypt like Wael Ghonim, From my point of view he is the most appropriate person to be the leader of the protesters and to talk to the vice president to convince him with the deterioration in Egypt's economic if president Mubarak stay in his position. We see every day labors strikes in Egypt, this will increasing and will not stop until Mubarak steps down.

    February 10, 2011 at 7:36 am |
  2. rusty

    Any attempt at seeing both sides of this conflict , went out the window for me the day he unleashed his modern day version of the "Brown Shirts" upon the crowd of peaceful protestors . I watched in disbelief as those goons spent the better part of 24 hours trying to physically smash the movement. I went to bed that evening believing they had succeeded in crushing the revolt. Then I woke up, turned on the news, and found that the protestors had beaten back the Goons, and pushed them out of the square.

    But there is the rub. This story has now become a "standoff". Mubarek can hang on, his state run TV can spew their lies, and they can wait for the fire to leave the heart of this movement. Those people in the square dare not leave, the waters are very dangerous beyond the confines they have fought for. In effect, they have done what they can do with just a powerful thought, but no one thought that guns may be needed. Force may be needed. Hosni Mubarek obviously thought about that...so the standoff continues. I guess the best we can hope for is the world's media continues to shine the light on this story, and the Egyptians figure out how to get Mubarek to leave, without much more bloodshed. If the media moves on eventually...that die hard group in Tahrir Square will be in very serious trouble. They want the man out...but what is their plan for governence ?

    February 10, 2011 at 1:49 am |
  3. Bobbie

    Wanted to again state you are not alone Wael, sweetheart! More of the American public than you know are looking for ways to support your future way of life. What is happening is not just an uprising to be squelished by the smaller minded, big dollar men of the world but an introduction into the new world of open thinkers, tolerance and peace seekers! We and all I know salute you! Let me know what I can do to help in any way!!!!!! You are a shinning light in a darkness......

    February 10, 2011 at 12:06 am |
  4. Moises Bursztein

    The people involved in the revolution should be commended for their goals towards equality and freedom and also for their resolve. However, they should recognize that what is critical to their ultimate success is the election of representatives that can negociate in their behalf.
    They should consider electing representatives ready to take over the key goverment function to keep the country functional until elections take place.

    This way foreign goverment will have no choice but to take sides and hopefully they will support the freedom supporters.

    February 9, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  5. Terry Mutuku- Toronto

    I Was moved to tears by Wael's interview. Am speechless! His determination to fight for democracy is simply incredible. my maximum respect to this guy,

    February 9, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
  6. Ellen

    God bless this man Ghonim. He reminds me of the great patriots of the American Revolution like Tom Paine. Our President should go to Egypt, should stand in Tahrir Square, and tell these people that the American people are with them.

    February 9, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  7. Joseph Bellanca

    Wael Ghonim is my hero,his interview showed me a spirit whose depth of belief can not be denied. His commitment is without question. He is one with his belief.

    February 9, 2011 at 10:32 pm |