- By Blake Hounshell
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.
Wael Ghonim, the Google marketing executive who famously cofounded the "We Are All Khaled Saeed" Facebook page that helped spark the Egyptian revolution, is facing heat today for some comments he made on Twitter — as well as resentment of his growing international stardom and his perceived failure to speak out more strongly against recent abuses by the Army.
Amira al-Husseini translates Ghonim’s tweets:
The Council is losing its legitimacy with the revolutionaries but we need to realise that the revolutionaries are losing their credibility with the silent majority, who are starting to suffer from the economic side effects of the crisis
We all agree that Egypt was at the threshold of an economic crisis, whether the revolution happened or not .. but we still cannot deny the adverse side effects the revolution has had on the work force, particularly its poor segments
Workers who earn a daily wage (and those number not less than 1 million Egyptians) and people employed in tourism and real estate development, and many more, never hear us speaking about their concerns
Economy should be the priority for the revolutionaries, because it is the safety valve which will guarantee the continuation of the revolution and the cleansing of Egypt from corruption
That sparked an outpouring of criticism and support, set off by a mock Ghonim account called — I kid you not — @GhonimWithBalls (the bio on that account calls the real Ghonim a "crybaby bitch boy"):
Some highlights of the Twitter debate that followed:
@salmasaid: I #UnfollowedGhonimBecause he is failing to do his expected responsibilities given the role he chose.
@fazerofzanight: I #UnfollowedGhonimBecause because he doesnt deserve a platform and so I won’t give him one.
@MohHKamel: Haven’t #UnfollowedGhonimBecause he did for #Egypt more than any of you. He works hard, avoids the spotlight & doesn’t run his mouth off.
@amirakhalil46: i #UnfollowedGhonimBecause he’s a sell-out. Falling for the "economic stability" manipulative tactic!! Forgetting what #Jan25 is all about.
Few of the big Egyptian Twitterati, however, joined in, and the hastag devolved into crude personal attacks and bad jokes. Even its originator lost interest after a while:
@GhonimWithBalls: Disappointed to see #UnfollowedGhonimBecause evolve into personal attacks of @Ghonim as opposed to his views and policies.
Ghonim can still boast nearly 156,000 followers, and many conceded that he had a point. Tomorrow, President Obama is expected to announce a bailout package for the Egyptian economy, something the country desperately needs if the revolution is to succeed.