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Truthdigger of the Week: Wael Ghonim

Every week, Truthdig recognizes an individual or group of people who spoke truth to power, blew the whistle or stood up in the face of injustice. You can see past winners here, and make your own nomination for our next awardee here.

This week we celebrate Wael Ghonim, the 30-year-old Google marketing executive who helped organize the Egyptian uprising.

Ghonim has been called a hero for using his expertise and means to help inspire hundreds of thousands of Egyptians to take to the streets.

Reader Stephen Wathen nominated Ghonim “because Wael has definitely spoken truth to power in Egypt, and done it in a way both humane and strong. What better person to be Truthdigger!”

Dean Olson, who also nominated Ghonim along with another of the tech-savvy organizers, wrote, “Neither one knew where it was going to go, let alone how large it would become. Yet, like the first to step forward and ‘volunteer,’ they stepped forward to initiate this revolution.”

It would not be hard as Google’s marketing chief for the Middle East and North Africa to lead a comfortable, quiet existence. Instead, Wael Ghonim risked his life — he was pulled off of the street and detained by the Mubarak regime at one point — so that others might have it better. For that he has our great admiration.

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Honorable MentionsDennis Kucinich:

The Ohio congressman has done much in his career to earn our respect. This week, he stood up on behalf of accused whistle-blower Bradley Manning, who is being held in appalling conditions by the military. Reader Tehan Carey wrote that Kucinich should be recognized “for bringing the power of government to the critical role of [oversight] and [the] protection of rights.” S. Reid Warren III, who also nominated the congressman, said, “More in Congress should step up and do their job like Kucinich invariably does.”

Anderson Cooper: We were blown away by the CNN broadcaster’s reaction to Hosni Mubarak’s speech Thursday. Cooper shredded the dictator’s “lies” with refreshing eloquence and passion. As reader Mila Tolbert, who nominated Cooper, put it: “He is not repeating the U.S. government talking points on what is going on in Egypt, but actually telling the truth. Very unusual in today’s mainstream press.”

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