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'We are all Khaled Said' turns its attention to Egypt's poor

The 'We Are All Khaled Said' Facebook page rallied thousands to stand up against Mubarak, now it has the poverty his regime helped to sow in its sights

Ahram Online , Tuesday 21 Jun 2011
Khaled Said
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Views: 2956

The ‘We are All Khaled Said’ Facebook page, which played an important role as a focus for thousands of activists in the build up to the January 25 Revolution, is considering changing the logo on its page.

Currently, the Facebook page carries the picture of 28-year-old Khaled Said, the Alexandrian man whose murder by two police officers last year made him a symbol round which millions of angry young Egyptians rallied in protests against the Mubarak regime. But now the page’s administrators have asked for suggestions for a new logo that highlights the plight of the 40 per cent of Egyptians who live under the poverty line.

The administrators say that a powerful blog post on the Gedarea blog written by Mohamed Abu El-Geit, in which he championed the cause of the Egyptian poor, inspired their decision.

In his post – titled ‘The poor first, you bastards’ – Abu El-Geit passionately argues a case that the Egyptian revolution cannot be completed without achieving its third pronounced goal and slogan: social justice. “If anything, the revolution must shake and change the government’s policies which have been biased in favour of the rich,” wrote Abu El-Geit.

Thousands of Facebook users have been circulating Abu El-Geit’s post over the internet with ‘The Poor First, You Bastards’ pages starting to appear on the social networking site.

This sense of excitement around the post and its message prompted the ‘We Are All Khaled Said’ administrators to conduct an online poll asking their leaders to evaluate the government of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s record so far in dealing with issues of poverty and social justice. 14,049 of respondents said that they do not feel that the government is serious about tackling the issue. Only 1,797 readers said they believed it is.

This poll, though unscientific, reflects a growing sense of unease and frustration felt by many parts of society towards Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s interim cabinet.

Many poor Egyptians who had registered high levels of excitement when the Sharaf cabinet was appointed last March have increasingly grown disillusioned with the prime minister’s commitment to social justice. This frustration is partly reflected by the spate of industrial strikes by underpaid workers and social protests by many who are demanding jobs and proper housing.

‘We Are All Khaled Said’ announced on its page that it plans to raise awareness of poverty. It implored its readers to strive “if not to end poverty altogether, then at least to ease the pain of the poor.”

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