Wael Ghonim in Time's 100 most influential list

Star of Egypt's revolution is prominent entry in 2011 list among list of world celebrities, politicians
Wael Ghonim in Time's 100 most influential list
Wael Ghonim. (Getty Images)
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 23 Apr 2011 11:14 AM

Google’s marketing chief Wael Ghonim who became the face of the people’s revolution in Egypt has been included in Time magazine's latest 100 most influential people list.

Ghonim, who was placed second in the recent Arabian Business Power 500, played a key role in sparking an uprising that led to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak after a 30-year reign.

He became an international figure after his emotional interview following 11 days of incarceration by Egyptian police.

Egyptian politician Mohamed ElBaradei said on Ghonim: "Wael Ghonim embodies the youth who constitute the majority of Egyptian society — a young man who excelled and became a Google executive but, as with many of his generation, remained apolitical due to loss of hope that things could change in a society permeated for decades with a culture of fear.

"He quickly grasped that social media, notably Facebook, were emerging as the most powerful communication tools to mobilise and develop ideas.

"By emphasizing that the regime would listen only when citizens exercised their right of peaceful demonstration and civil disobedience, Wael helped initiate a call for a peaceful revolution. The response was miraculous."

Other nods to the popular Arab uprisings in North Africa and the Middle
East included Hamada Ben Amor, a Tunisian rapper better known as "El
General," whose song "Rais Lebled" ("Mister President") helped inspire
the rebellion that ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 23
years in power.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg, Wikileak's Julian Assange, Huffington Post's founder Arianna Huffington and actors Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg are also on the list.

Pop culture giants such as Justin Bieber and Oprah Winfrey plus the lesser known Takeshi Kanno, a Japanese doctor who refused to leave behind victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, also make it into the top 100.

World leaders such as British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff populate the list for how they have wielded power.

Others include Gabrielle Giffords, the American congresswoman who survived a bullet wound to the head during a gunman's rampage in Arizona, and Michele Bachmann, the Republican congresswoman from Minnesota who has energised the anti-tax, anti-spending Tea Party movement.

From the world of sport, Argentina soccer phenomenon Lionel Messi was joined by Indian cricket star Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whose charisma and leadership united an ethnically diverse team that won the World Cup.

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