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The question of how much the Internet will change the Middle East, or other dictatorships, has swirled in recent years. Egyptians authorities have clamped down on bloggers in a number of high-profile cases. But news seeks light, as Cairo is finding out. Now Mubarak faces a new enemy: Facebook.

More than 2,000 Egyptians have joined a discussion group on Facebook, the popular Internet social networking Web site, to ponder one overwhelming question: “What will you do when (President) Hosni Mubarak dies?”
Postings began in June but they have been coming thick and fast in the past 10 days amid persistent speculation about the health of the 79-year-old Egyptian head of state and the future of the position he has held for a quarter of a century.
Many of the commentators have never known any leader other than Mubarak, who has run the Arab world’s most populous nation since 1981. Some assume he will outlive them.
“I do not think that we will live to see his funeral,” wrote Rami Ragi, a member of the group.
The presidency and other state institutions said nothing when the rumors began, even when independent newspapers and television stations started to mention them.
The only official comment on the president’s health has been from his wife Suzanne, who finally dismissed the rumors on Saturday night after two televised appearances by him failed to convince everyone he was alive and well: “The president is fit as a fiddle,” she said.

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