Steven A. Cook

From the Potomac to the Euphrates

Cook examines developments in the Middle East and their resonance in Washington.

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Flacking The Revolution Part II

by Steven A. Cook
July 18, 2011

My post, Flacking the Revolution ( July 13) raised some questions among certain quarters in Egypt about April 6th and its connection with Levine Communications Office (LCO). Below is the media advisory sent to journalists last Tuesday (July 12) from LCO concerning the availability of Ahmed Maher—one of the founders of the April 6th Movement— and Waleed Rashad, a spokesman for the group, for interviews.  It clearly indicates that LCO has a relationship with April 6th.  I have also corresponded via email with the account executive listed on the media advisory.  If you would like more details, please feel free to email me: scook@cfr.org.

From: Barbara Teszler
Date: Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 4:46 PM
Subject: INTERVIEW OP: He took down Mubarak. Now he’s taking interviews
To:

THE REVOLUTION WILL BE TELEVISED

The revolution’s not near, it’s here – for Mubarak’s takedown was only the beginning.

Meet Ahmed Maher, the founder of the April 6 Youth Movement that took down dictator Hosni Mubarak in Egypt’s most illustrious pro-democracy youth movement to date. Having organized the masses both in the virtual and real world to a show of strength that brought down a dictator, the A6YM stresses non-violence, a secular ideology and an apolitical stance.

But it’s not over yet.

Thousands of Egyptians are protesting in Cairo as we speak to demand faster political reform, despite warnings and new concessions from Egyptian officials. There’s been a call for a million-man march on the cabinet office today, and the interim military rulers warned protesters against “harming public interests.”

Cairo’s central Tahrir Square is stewing in its fifth day of sit-ins where Mubarak was taken down earlier this year.

With activists showing no signs of backing down, tensions are rising to a boiling point between protesters and the military. Prime Minister Sharaf is struggling to maintain control under growing pressure from protesters to purge the police, civil service and the judiciary of remnants of the Mubarak regime and to speed up trials of those accused of corruption or the use of deadly force against protesters. Some 900 were killed in the 18-day uprising.

For answers to the hard-hitting questions about what’s really going on in Egypt, go straight to the source.

Care to speak with the architect behind the revolution?

MORE INFO BELOW

Thanks,

Barbara Teszler

Senior Account Executive

Levine Communications Office

Ahmed Maher is a civil engineer and founder of the April 6 Youth Movement, one of the most illustrious pro-democracy youth movements in Egypt. He is widely considered the “Architect” of the Egyptian uprising having organized the masses both in the virtual and real world to a show of strength that brought down a dictator. The A6YM stresses non-violence, a secular ideology and an apolitical stance.

Along with a similar group called Kefaya, the April 6 Movement has become the most important organizers of the 18-day peaceful uprising that culminated in President Hosni Mubarak’s departure on February 11, 2011. The April 6 Youth Movement acquired its name from the first general strike it organized in Egypt on April 6, 2008, in which Maher played an integral role. On March 23, 2008, a small group of young, tech-savvy Egyptian activists, including Maher, launched a Facebook page in support of a planned textile workers’ strike in the city of Mahalla al-Kobra to protest low wages and high food prices. The page quickly acquired over 70,000 followers. As the group’s membership grew, so did the level of support it received from established organizations like labor groups, political parties and student organizations. April 6’s members took full advantage of blogs, social media and text messaging to spread the word about their planned activities, and also distributed leaflets and tagged graffiti messages on public buildings to let people offline know about the movement. On April 6, 2008, thousands of workers rioted but police headed off the strike, killing at least two and arresting 400.

One of the leaders of the strike, Esraa Abdel Fattah Ahmed Rashid, was arrested and jailed for more than two weeks, subsequently renouncing her activism. Maher then took the reins of the movement. Maher is now one of Egypt’s best known activists, leading politically mobilized young Egyptians to develop their political consciousness through the skillful deployment of new technologies and social networking platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter. Maher graduated from Cairo’s Faculty of Engineering in 2004 and is currently studying towards a Masters degree in Project Management at Cairo University. He is married and has daughter, age 3 and infant son.

Waleed Rashed (born 15 November 1983 in El Sharkia, Egypt), is one of the co-founders of the April 6 Youth Movement and a prominent participant in the anti-Mubarak demonstrations in Egypt in 2011. Rashed is the spokesperson for the April 6 Movement and was the organizer of the 2008 April 6 Youth Movement protest in Alexandria.

The April 6 Youth Movement began in 2008 as a Facebook group started to support laborers in Mahalla, an industrial town in the Nile delta, who were planning a strike on April 6. The movement went viral: it managed to coordinate simultaneous nation-wide demonstrations, a first for Egypt. It caught the government completely by surprise and marked Facebook’s entrance into the Egyptian political scene. Many of its members have been arrested, including founder Ahmed Maher and Israa Abdel Fattah, who was dubbed the ‘Facebook Girl’ after her symbolic arrest in reaction to the April 6, 2008 protests. Following its original protests, the group became known as a prominent opposition movement in Egypt. The term ‘youth’ can be misleading: the Arabic term, shebab, can refer to a person into their late twenties. Many of its member have become prominent activists and were instrumental in Egypt’s January 25 Revolution.

Additional Links:
Al Jazeera – People and Power – Egypt: Seeds of Change
part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrNz0dZgqN8
part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1Rc9Y3QBdw
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/revolution-in-cairo/
http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/04/201147124918409148.html
http://www.aolnews.com/2011/02/02/ahmed-maher-5-facts-on-the-facebook-activist-allegedly-arrested/

Barbara Teszler

Senior Account Executive

Levine Communications Office

9100 Wilshire Blvd

Suite 540 E Tower

Beverly Hills, CA 90212

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www.LBNElert.com

www.LCOonline.com

www.twitter.com/LCOonline

www.linkedin.com/in/barbarateszler

Passion. Focus. Results. Since 1983.

LCO is the winner of the Bulldog Award for Excellence in Media Relations and Publicity

2011 Crisis Communications Campaign of the Year

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