ESRAA ABDEL FATTAH, “Facebook Girl”: The Change Agent


“This is our moment.” “Facebook Girl” Esraa Abdel Fattah, photographed in Cairo In January 25, a young Egyptian woman known as Facebook Girl tucked her hair under a head scarf, pocketed her cell phone and met up with 20 other young people to march toward the center of Cairo. Soon hundreds, then thousands of others joined them, until 10,000-strong, they surged into Tahrir Square to make history.  Over the next 18 days, Esraa Abdel Fattah live-updated on Facebook and tweeted her experiences in the Square—and the world followed along. “We feared being arrested or killed,” recalls Abdel Fattah, 33, a project%20manager for an Egyptian youth organization, “but we were achieving the dream of justice and democracy.” The revolt she helped organize toppled the regime of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak—and marked a high point of the Arab Spring. But this was hardly her first brush with activism. She earned her nickname in 2008, when the Facebook group she started to support a textile workers’ strike attracted 74,000 followers and ultimately landed her in jail. Abdel Fattah used the social network to help plan a national strike that many see as the catalyst of the Egyptian revolution. When the government jailed her for 18 days, she became a figurehead for the protest movement. Today, the gutsy Abdel Fattah is working to ensure that women keep their rights in the new Egypt; she’s founded a non-profit organisation to train women to become political leaders, and she plans to run for parliament herself. “My time in jail taught me you should bear any pain to achieve what you believe in,” she says. “Then nothing, nothing will stop you.” It was on Facebook—she discovered she was in the running for the 2011 Nobel Prize for Peace, Tawakkul Karman of Yemen won. But it’s not about me, Esraa tells an American newspaper, “If I win this, if any%20Egyptian wins this prize, it will be for Egypt\'s revolution. It\'s for the Egyptians in the street.” Amid post-revolutionary turmoil, it’s a victory Egypt’s activists could use.  For standing up for what she believes in, for starting a revolution, for seeking peace and justice for humankind, Esraa Abdel-Fattah is a 1one4 icon.

Picture Source: The News and

Leave a Reply