Remembering Khaled Said

It is one year since the killing of a young Egyptian man helped trigger a revolution.

Today marks the first anniversary of the murder of Khaled Said, a 28-year-old Egyptian man who was allegedly beaten to death at the hands of the Egyptian police on 6 June 2010, and whose plight helped inspire a generation of young Egyptians to rise up against their government.

What made Khaled's death so poignant, however, was not the brutality and cruelty exhibited by the Egyptian police force, who reportedly hit him and smashed his head against objects as they dragged him from the internet café where he was arrested -- such cases were only too common in a country where police brutality was considered almost the norm.

Rather, it was the way that the death of this young man became a rallying point for Egypt's disillusioned youth that secured him a place in the country's history. Through the power of the internet, and facilitated by gruseome autopsy photos of Khaled's bruised and battered body posted online by his brother, he was transformed from an ordinary victim into a potent symbol of an oppressed society. Wael Ghonim, Google marketing excecutive and one of the key individuals involved in the protests of 25 January 2011, created a Facebook page called "We are all Khaled Said" that quickly reached notoriety status and helped raise international awareness of the growing discontent in Egypt.

One year on, and the mangled corpse of a young man has arguably resulted in the overthrow of an entire governmental system in Egypt, and a wave of civil unrest rippling out from North Africa across the Middle East. Much has happened in the twelve months since Khaled was killed, but for the people of his country and across the Arab world as a whole, many questions still remain about the future of their nations and their place within them. One year may be long enough to change the world, but only time will tell whether this change will be for the better.

For the moment, however, we should take a moment to remember Khaled Said -- the man who, through his death, became "The Face That Launched a Revolution".

Emanuelle Degli Esposti is a freelance journalist currently living and working in London. She has written for the Sunday Express, the Daily Telegraph and the Economist online.

Emanuelle Degli Esposti is the editor and founder of The Arab Review, an online journal covering arts and culture in the Arab world. She also works as a freelance journalist specialising in the politics of the Middle East.

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It's Gary Lineker 1, the Sun 0

The football hero has found himself at the heart of a Twitter storm over the refugee children debate.

The Mole wonders what sort of topsy-turvy universe we now live in where Gary Lineker is suddenly being called a “political activist” by a Conservative MP? Our favourite big-eared football pundit has found himself in a war of words with the Sun newspaper after wading into the controversy over the age of the refugee children granted entry into Britain from Calais.

Pictures published earlier this week in the right-wing press prompted speculation over the migrants' “true age”, and a Tory MP even went as far as suggesting that these children should have their age verified by dental X-rays. All of which leaves your poor Mole with a deeply furrowed brow. But luckily the British Dental Association was on hand to condemn the idea as unethical, inaccurate and inappropriate. Phew. Thank God for dentists.

Back to old Big Ears, sorry, Saint Gary, who on Wednesday tweeted his outrage over the Murdoch-owned newspaper’s scaremongering coverage of the story. He smacked down the ex-English Defence League leader, Tommy Robinson, in a single tweet, calling him a “racist idiot”, and went on to defend his right to express his opinions freely on his feed.

The Sun hit back in traditional form, calling for Lineker to be ousted from his job as host of the BBC’s Match of the Day. The headline they chose? “Out on his ears”, of course, referring to the sporting hero’s most notable assets. In the article, the tabloid lays into Lineker, branding him a “leftie luvvie” and “jug-eared”. The article attacked him for describing those querying the age of the young migrants as “hideously racist” and suggested he had breached BBC guidelines on impartiality.

All of which has prompted calls for a boycott of the Sun and an outpouring of support for Lineker on Twitter. His fellow football hero Stan Collymore waded in, tweeting that he was on “Team Lineker”. Leading the charge against the Murdoch-owned title was the close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Channel 4 News economics editor, Paul Mason, who tweeted:

Lineker, who is not accustomed to finding himself at the centre of such highly politicised arguments on social media, responded with typical good humour, saying he had received a bit of a “spanking”.

All of which leaves the Mole with renewed respect for Lineker and an uncharacteristic desire to watch this weekend’s Match of the Day to see if any trace of his new activist persona might surface.


I'm a mole, innit.