Egyptian-born Toronto entrepreneur Mahmoud Hashim said he felt helpless watching the anti-Mubarak protests in Egypt. Unable to return to his home country, he watched, like the rest of us, as his countrymen and women were dying for democracy.
With the death toll approaching 200, Hashim wanted a way to memorialize those who had died. So, he contacted Toronto’s 1000Memories, a website that creates online memorial pages for deceased loved ones. Hashim sent an impassioned plea to the website’s co-founders, asking them for help to create memorial pages for the 142 confirmed dead in Egypt.
However, the 1000Memories’ creators went above and beyond what Hashim was looking for; they created the first-ever group memorial in their website’s history, Egypt Remembers. And, as TechCrunch reports, it didn’t take long for the memorial to go viral:
After they sent out the sent to Hashim and others, the page immediately went viral, bringing in over 150,000 unique views in the first 48 hours. Since it went up it has garnered over 46,835 Facebook shares and 4,121 tweets.
“At some point we were getting over a tweet per minute. People were rallying around it because it puts a face on the numbers we see in the news,” said co-founder Adler.
What’s more remarkable is that a little more than half of its traffic is coming directly from Egypt according to Adler, due to shares from influencers like New York Times’ human rights blogger Nick Kristof and popular Egyptian televangelist Amr Khaled, who shared it on his 2 million strong Facebook fan page.
While 1000Memories first pulled its initial list of the departed from a collaborative Google Doc, people have started emailing in names and photos of loved ones directly. After verifying the information with Human Rights Watch officials on the ground in Egypt the cofounders are now linking these and the individual memory pages created (like this one) directly to the main page.
It’s inspiring to see how much the world cares about the struggle in Egypt. Companies like 1000Memories and HootSuite are to be commended for their efforts helping Egyptians from afar, and doubly so for keeping the focus on the real heroes — those on the ground fighting for democracy in that strife-torn country, and those who have died in the effort.
And now that Mubarak has officially resigned, it looks like their efforts have not been in vain.