I’ll bet you haven’t even heard of the April 6th Youth Movement. You can’t get away from the news of the Revolution that is sweeping across Egypt, and now it’s time to meet the two men who helped start it.
In 2008, Ahmed Maher got together with one of his closest, most trusted friends, Ahmed Salah, to put together a group to plan and organize a protest against Egypt’s dictator, Hasni Mubarek. The protest was planned for April the 6th, so instead of wasting precious time coming up with a witty name, they just called themselves the April6 Youth Movement.
They printed fliers for the protest like any protest group does, but April6th mainly relied on social networks Facebook and Twitter to organize. Their online efforts blew up like wildfire, going viral and attracting over 70,000 members. Through the internet, they were able to mobilize legal support, inform members of SS activities, and on the day of the protest, hundreds of thousands of people stayed home from work, everyone dressing in black to attend various rallies. The protest were an unprecedented success for democracy in Egypt, but unfortunately, the Mubarek regime quickly came down on it, and the fire quickly burned to coals.
But, Ahmed and the now burgeoning April6 Youth Movement kept adding tinder as they continued to mobilize support while remaining very decentralized to avoid Mubarek’s ever-present SS forces.
For three years — ironically the time in which the French Revolution took to run its own course — the April 6 Youth Movement has fueled the fires of change. The internet proved a fertile field for the rise of Democracy, as they were able to organize and
broadcast the people’s case against Mubarek’s dictatorial regime through a website and various social media outlets. That is, up until Mubarek was able to flip the switch on the entire country’s Web access last week.
Unfortunately for the Dictator Hosni Mubarek, it was already too late. The rest is unfolding before our eyes: The April 6 Youth Movement was largely responsible for mobilizing an entire country to walk together peacefully to demand a dictator step down. And, the internet blackout hasn’t stopped their reporting of the revolution. They’re still publishing front-line reports, albeit in Egyptian, so news isn’t getting through to the West as fast as it could.
Fortunately, I’ll be having their posts translated so I can publish them right here in their entirety.