Monday, February 14, 2011

Through Egypt's Eyes

The last 24 hours of Mubarak's reign as president of Egypt were described as the worst in the nation's history by professor Lilian Mina, who emigrated from Egypt in August 2010.
She sat up all night waiting for Mubarak's address Thursday night, and when she heard his news, she shared the emotions of her home country with her dismay.
Mubarak announced in this address that he was not stepping down from his position.
"We cursed him one-thousand times in his speech," Mina said.
She said that she almost had a heart attack, fearing that Egypt would soon break into civil war. Violence escalated in the streets as clashes between the military and civilians reached a climax.
"I cried like never before," she said.
Civilians marched toward Mubarak's military-protected palace and surrounded it. 17,000 prisoners were released by the government to scare the country into submission. The prisoners roamed the streets with official weapons.
The violence came to a sudden halt with a 29-word address.
"He finally surrendered," Mina said. "Finally, we could rest and get some sleep."
Egypt saw immediate changes, particularly in its media, the primary resource for protesters and demonstrators.
"Now we can see all the old faces that were banned from national TV," Mina said.
The Egyptian parliament was dismissed and the constitution was suspended yesterday.
Yet, the country will need time to recover from its crippling blow. The country was in a standstill for over two weeks, and the economy went lower than ever before. Businesses shut down and the stock market was closed.
"People felt they had no future in Egypt," Mina said.
The nation's economy is supported primarily by tourist income, bringing in approximately 50 percent of the Egypt's wealth. The winter is typically the high season for them. The stock market will likely reopen next week, according to Mina.
"The one good thing about the whole situation is that the army is taking over," Mina said. "We trust the army so much." She added that while this takeover looks grim to Westerners, it is generally accepted by Egyptians given the current tumultuous state.
Elections for the new president and parliament are expected to occur in less than six months.
"We'll see how things go," Mina said.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Egyptian Revolution

The Egyptian Revolution began Friday, January 28, with police dousing pro-democracy leaders with water canons.
Soon after, all lines of communication were cut in Egypt, according to an Indiana University of Pennsylvania professor who emigrated from Egypt in August. The protesters were organizing their meetings through Twitter and text messages. The government responded quickly by eliminating all forms of electronic communication.
This display of power from Egyptian leaders shows that technology plays a crucial role in the fight for democracy in the 21st century, but that a corrupt government can still easily stifle the voice of the people.
This revolution is distinct from past revolutions also because of the prevalence of womens' participation and unity of the populace.

Photo by The Huffington Press.
A cohesive cry for purity evolved through the protests, according to Newsweek. Sara Abu Bakr, an Egyptian journalist, told Newsweek that Egypt is notorious for sexual harassment, especially during mass public events. Yet, there were no reports of harassment.
Bakr said that there was a unifying quality to these purity protests. He said that people were not identifying each other as as the Muslim Brotherhood or by political parties. Everyone was solely and purely Egyptian.