After admitting to assisting the corrupt totalitarian government of Hussain Mubarak in Egypt as he violently attempted to crush the popular uprising, Vodafone have sunk to a new low.
Shamelessly, they have now attempted to claim responsibility for helping inspire the revolution in an advert. The three-minute commercial features images from protest rallies in Cairo’s Tahrir Square before claiming: “We didn’t send people to the streets, we didn’t start the revolution … We only reminded Egyptians how powerful they are”.
Vodafone is one of several firms in Egypt that agreed to shut off its mobile and internet networks in the early stages of the revolt as the government attempted to isolate anti-Mubarak protesters. It also allowed the Mubarak regime to send out bulk anti-revolutionary text messages to subscribers. It said it had no choice and has since apologised.
The firm is facing a series of legal challenges over what some critics have called its “complicity in dictatorship“. It is accused of passing on information about opposition activists to the Mubarak regime’s security services – a claim seemingly confirmed by Vodafone’s global head of content standards, Annie Mullins, in February 2009 but later denied by Vodafone Egypt.
Pro-change activists have condemned the advert as a “sickening” attempt to push up sales by “riding the revolutionary bandwagon”, and an insult to the hundreds who died in the struggle to bring down Mubarak. Meanwhile, a new website named I Hate Vodafone Egypt has rapidly become an online sensation.