Asmaa Mahfouz born February 1, 1985 is an Egyptian activist from the April 6th Youth Movement. she is considered one of the most important symbols of the January 2011 uprising in Egypt. Using Facebook, Twitter and a famous YouTube video and her January 18th video tape , Mahfouz also rallied thousands of people to participate in the protests.Asmaa was the among tens of thousands of protesters as they took to the streets bid to end President Hosni Mubarak’s 30 years of authoritarian.
Born in Egypt on February 1, 1985, Asmaa Mahfouz became an unlikely catalyst for change in a country that had been entrenched in dictatorial rule since before she was born. As a student of Business Administration at Cairo University in 2008, Asmaa became involved in what would become the April 6th Youth Movement. This group of youth began coordinating efforts for a nation-wide support of a textile strike in El-Mahalla El-Kubra. The general strike united under the demands for dignity, security, freedom, fair wages, transportation, medical care and education.
Egypt’s dictator, Hosni Mubarak, had ruled for nearly three decades. During those years, his power as president increased and a long history of police abuse and corruption followed. Individual freedoms were eliminated under the “emergency law” that allowed the police forces to arrest and detain political figures and activists without charges. Decades of corruption led to a growing income inequality between the rich and the poor and a weakening of vital social services.
Leading up April 6th strike, many of the nation’s citizen bloggers, independent journalists and activists were harassed, detained and kidnapped by government forces and plain-clothed police. Despite the crackdown, the efforts of the youth were successful as they were able to organized lawyers and security services to protect the strikers. Asmaa credits this event as the turning point in her life. She says it was during the April 6th experience that she learned much about networking, organizing and conquering the fears associated with protesting.
She was determined to seize the moment as Tunisia showed the Arab World that it was possible for a popular uprising to defeat a dictator. Her primary 'weapon' of choice was Facebook. She was angry that no one wanted to do anything:
On January 18, 2011,She posted to facebook a video online urging people to protest the "corrupt government" of Hosni Mubarak by rallying in Tahrir Square on January 25. Her moving call ultimately helped inspire Egypt's uprising. "I, a girl, am going down to Tahrir Square, and I will stand alone. And I'll hold up a banner. Perhaps people will show some honor," Mahfouz said. "Don't think you can be safe anymore. None of us are. Come down with us and demand your rights, my rights, your family's rights. I am going down on January 25th and will say no to corruption, no to this regime."