The April 6 Youth has been instrumental among Egypt's pro-democracy movement in using digital technologies to help build momentum that's led to the widespread revolt now underway
Three summers ago on a litter-strewn beach in Alexandria, I tagged along with a group of young Egyptian dissidents for a little civil disobedience. The goal was to fly a kite painted the colors of the country's flag, and hand out pro-democracy leaflets. They also considered singing some patriotic songs.
The gathering was broken up almost instantly by at least a dozen security officers, most of them in plain clothes and many sporting mustaches. Everyone was gone from the beach in a matter of minutes.
Those same young men and women are now at the epicenter of events that have brought Mubarak's regime to its knees, and may catalyze a wave of civil unrest and demands for political accountability across the Middle East. It is day 10 now, but soon enough, people may be talking about the sixteen days that shook the world. When they do, they will want more details about who made it happen, and how.
One behind-the-scenes cog is a quiet civil engineer named Ahmed Maher. In 2008, Maher, together with a woman named Israa Abdel-Fattah, launched a Facebook group to promote a protest planned for April 6. In a matter of weeks, they had 70,000 members.