Wael Ghonim, one of the icons of Egypt’s landmark 2011 anti-government protests, has appeared in a series of videos in which he has asked President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to “repent and seek forgiveness” from the widow of late leader Mohamed Morsi.
Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, died on June 17 this year after he collapsed in the court during his trial for espionage – charges that he and his supporters said were politically motivated.
After only a year in power, Morsi was deposed in a 2013 military coup carried out by el-Sisi.
In the videos posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday, Ghonim, 38, asked el-Sisi to reach out to Morsi’s widow, Naglaa Mahmoud, and repent.
“Sisi, if you have any shame, go to this lady and kiss her hands, and prove to us that you have shame and that your mother raised you well,” said a frail-looking Ghonim, who appeared to have shaved his head moments before the videos were shot.
“If you don’t do this, it’ll mean that your mother failed at her job. If she was alive, she would’ve told you that what you’re doing is wrong.”
Ghonim said he regretted that nobody had cared to ask how Mahmoud must have felt after losing her youngest son Abdullah Morsi to a heart attack last month.
Wael Ghonim was one of the activists of the January 25th revolution in Egypt. What the hell happened to him? He looks horrible! pic.twitter.com/szzAl7Qtb3
— 𝕒𝕕𝕒𝕞 𝕖𝕝-𝕤𝕙𝕠𝕓𝕠𝕜𝕤𝕙𝕪 (@AdamShobokshy) September 11, 2019
A former Google executive, Ghonim rose to prominence in 2011 as one of the administrators of the Facebook page, We are all Khaled Said, named after a young Egyptian tortured to death by the security forces while in custody.
Ghonim disappeared on January 28, 2011, at the height of popular demonstrations against the then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
After his employer, family and friends mounted a desperate campaign to trace him, it was found several days later that he had been detained by the security forces.
Released after 11 days, Ghonim went on to write, Revolution 2.0: A Book, detailing the harrowing experiences of being kept blindfolded for the duration of his detainment and the exhilaration of being a part of his country’s push for change.
In one of the videos, Ghonim accuses Egyptian contractor Mohamed Ali, el-Sisi’s relative who recently spoke out against corruption in the army, of doing so “for money”.
Ali had recently alleged that el-Sisi, his wife Intisar, Transport Minister Major General Kamel al-Wazir and several other military officials stole money from the construction companies working with the army, including his own.
El-Sisi or the Egyptian government have yet to respond to Ghonim’s video messages.