Are We All Khaled Said?

Yes and No. (Of course this is just based on the readings)

Yes, because the message behind the WAAKS page and movement is very important – it played a huge role in the 2011 revolution – it not only exposed the social injustice and especially police brutality that had been swept under the rug for so long, but it also succeeded in obtaining local and international support, assembled people virtually and made real life protests possible. Khaled Said was not the first nor the last person to die because of the abuse of power and emergency law, but through digital activism he was made a martyr for their cause.

  • Emergency Law – before 2011, the emergency law gave authority the power to “impose restrictions on the freedoms of assembly, move or residence; the power to arrest and detain suspects or those deemed dangerous, and the power to search individuals and places without the need to follow the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code”

This law was extended many times and gave the Egyptian police too much power. WAAKS was mainly a movement against this law. Even though this movement was successful by reaching out to the middle class and youth through the internet by making Said a relatable, everyday Egyptian, it still had its shortcomings.

When the title suggests it, you try to relate to the cause, but maybe the movement was not all that relatable, as it does not cover all aspects of the problems existing in Egypt, especially problems experienced by the youth. Drug abuse, sexism, depression… these are all common problems that were not discussed because it did not serve the agenda – and if they made it apparent that Said had these problems, it would bring down his martyr image. So no, maybe we are not all Khaled Said, because the movement only reached out to some of the people.

WAAKS was and is still a very important movement, though. It mobilised the country, especially connecting the youth demographic through digital activism, which had not been done in Egypt before that. Reading the Facebook page and its back story made me realise how all of these successful campaigns are small and easy to start, but if the right tools are utilised (in this case, the internet), it could start a revolution.