Egypt protest hero Wael Ghonim to write book

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WASHINGTON: Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who became a hero of Egypt’s anti-government uprising, has signed a deal with a US publisher to write a book, "Revolution 2.0."

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said Monday that it has secured the rights to Ghonim’s book, which it said will tell the "inside story of the Egyptian revolution and the lessons of the Arab Spring."

The book generated strong interest last month at the London Book Fair and, according to an industry executive with knowledge of negotiations, bids topped $2 million. The executive was not authorized to discuss financial details and asked not to be identified.

"Revolution 2.0 is the story of how the revolution came about with the power of social media and Internet technology," the publisher said in a statement.

"Ghonim also tells an inspirational story of how anyone can be empowered to change the world starting from his belief that the ‘power of the people is stronger than the people in power.’"

"The implications of Wael’s story reach far beyond the Middle East, and even beyond politics," said Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publisher Bruce Nichols.

"How Wael helped nurture a mass movement is one of the great stories of our time, with lessons for anyone who seeks to make change anywhere on earth using technology."

Ghonim, 30, will write the book in Arabic, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said, adding that he is also in discussions with Arabic language publishers.

Ghonim is an Egyptian who has overseen Google’s marketing in the Middle East and Africa. He became a key part of organizing protests through a Facebook page he started in honor of Khaled Said, a 28-year-old who died in June at the hands of undercover police, a hated institution for many Egyptians.

Soon after rallies began calling for the ouster of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Ghonim said he was snatched off the street and spent much of his detention blindfolded. Upon his release, he confirmed reports that he was the administrator of the Facebook page.

He is to receive a John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in Boston on May 23.

Revolution 2.0 will be published on January 25, the first anniversary of the uprising that led to the ouster of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Ghonim announced last month that he was taking a leave of absence from Google to set up his own NGO in Egypt dedicated to fighting poverty and encouraging education. Proceeds from the book will go to the organization.

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