Today, Google’s star doodle pays homage to the huge ramifications of today’s parliamentary elections in Egypt. A Google “doodle” is the occasional artistic modifications to their logo that users find when they type in “www.google.com” into their web browser address bar.
Google has often doodled on anniversaries, as you can see in Ahram Online’s photo gallery above. Some examples include: Houdini (turn-of-the-century magician), Martha Graham (extremely influential modern dancer and choreographer), the birthday of Arthur Clokey (Gumby maker), the extremely entertaining tribute Jim Henson, where one of their monsters swallows another, only to have the other monster grow back and look at the perpetrator like “what did you do that for?”, etc.
But occasionally they choose something current and influential, such as the lunar eclipse, which they followed with a real-time version on their logo...or Egypt's elections.
Egypt has been politically involved in numerous affairs, not least of which are Sudan secession elections (as there are many Sudanese in Egypt), Israel-Palestine relations and even Palestine-Palestine relations, brokering a reconciliation and power sharing deal between Fatah and Hamas.
Currently, Egypt is ruled by a military junta, after the 30-year-long president Mubarak was ousted by a popular uprising on 11 February.
Today is the first election in 30 years that hasn’t been under the pressure of Egypt's ex-regime, the National Democratic Party. Egypt’s last elections in September of 2010 were rampantly and unabashedly overrun by intimidation tactics, including hired thugs with weapons.
Inspired by the Tunisia uprising, Egypt’s revolution started on 25 January, 2011 – symbolically, on national Police Day - simply as a demonstration against police brutality.
A grassroots Egyptian movement from families, friends and activists - like Google’s very own exec, Wael Ghoneim – called for an end to police brutality through the We Are All Khaled Said Facebook page in honour of a youth beaten to death by police.
When hundreds of thousands made a point to sit-in Tahrir Square, three days later the state turned the “off” switch on communications; leaving citizens and media in a complete communication blackout. No internet. No mobiles.
The regime got to work and began tear-gassing, beating and using the same violence they’d been known to abuse against citizens they were, theoretically, to protect.
Egyptians vastly outnumbered them, but maintained a relatively peaceful resistance - but this time they screamed to end this bloody, corrupt regime, starting with then-president Mubarak. Eighteen days later, Mubarak finally caved in to pressure. His Interior Minister, Omar Suleiman broke the news, as Mubarak ducked out of sight.
Today, nine months after the fact, Egyptians are voting in parliamentary elections that everyone is sure will usher in yet another Islamic party in the region that is seeing more fundamentalist regimes sprouting. Illegal campaigning near polling centres and inconsistencies with paper ballots are already plaguing the elections, as they started this morning.
But this morning we all woke up to a Google that keeps Egypt in mind as we Tweet and Facebook our elections status and search for answers.