Friend of Wael Ghonim, missing Google exec, calls for volunteers in Cairo to search for him
This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom.
Boston technology entrepreneur Habib Haddad is calling for volunteers to help comb Cairo for his missing friend, Google executive Wael Ghonim.
"We are asking for people to take the old-school approach and walk around and ask about him," Haddad said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "We are sure that with the number of people there on the ground, someone somehow must have seen him and must know where he is."
Ghonim, a native of Cairo who has been working for Google in Dubai for three years, was in Cairo for a conference. He was not known for being politically active, but he was inspired by the protests taking place around him. His friends and family begged him not to take part, but he ultimately decided he should "go for it," Haddad said.
Haddad stayed in close touch with Ghonim, exchanging messages every hour or so, but Thursday night they lost contact.
Ghonim's wife called Haddad from Dubai on Sunday morning concerned that she and Ghonim's brother in Egypt had not heard from him either.
"We are not panicking at this time. We are trying to use whatever we can in our power to figure out what's happening and find people to help us," Haddad said. "So far we have not been able to find any good leads."
Haddad described his friend as a passionate technology entrepreneur who is "definitely one of the smartest people I have ever met." Ghonim describes himself as a "constant joker," and Haddad said it was rare to find his friend without a smile on his face or a joke on his lips.
"I know him well enough to vouch that he is one of the brightest people in Egypt," Haddad said.
-- Jessica Guynn
Photo: Wael Ghonim's Facebook profile picture. Credit: Facebook
For the record, 9:18 p.m. Feb. 1: An earlier version of this post misspelled Habib Haddad's name.