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  • Student perspectives: Egypt unrest

    Published: Feb. 18, 2011
    Student
    Protesters in Tahrir Square on Feb. 6.Photo: Joseph Hill on Flickr/CC

    Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians participated in the historic uprising against President Hosni Mubarak’s nearly 30-year rule. Seeking greater political and economic freedom, Egypt erupted in mass protests in January. And after 18 days of protests, on Feb. 11, Mubarak resigned and turned over all power to the military.

    The following essays represent different perspectives on the protests in Egypt from students who have lived there. One student was in Alexandria, Egypt studying abroad when the protests began. Click on the following links to read each student’s personal essay.

    Hadiel Nawaz

    Hadiel Nawaz

    Hadiel Nawaz is a psychology junior who grew up in Alexandria and Cairo. She still stays in touch with her friends in Egypt.

    I awoke Friday morning to the sound of my phone ringing, indicating my mother was calling. Lazily, I reached over to my bedside table, knowing she was waking me up so I would get out of bed, pack, and head over to see her in Houston. Casually answering and putting the phone to my ear, I mumbled a sleepy, “Hello.”
    “He’s leaving!” She exclaimed, “Mubarak is leaving! He’s out!”
    The words washed over me like tangible elation, the same joy that filled her excited voice. I spent a couple of seconds to register her statement before a grin overtook my face and I sighed a myriad of emotions. There was relief, a deep satisfaction at knowing that the unrelenting efforts of the Egyptian people had not been squashed once again, but had reached a dream upheld by Egyptians for decades …
    Continue reading Hadiel’s essay.

    Jordan Bellquist

    Jordan Bellquist

    Jordan Bellquist is a senior studying Arabic Langauge and Radio-Television-Film. She was living in Alexandria, Egypt when the riots began.

    Before the riots, day-to-day life passed by as it always does. Everyone got up, went to work or school, and returned home to be with their families. Then the next day, did it all over again. We were free to move about wherever we wanted without restrictions. I was always in a safe environment because I lived with an Egyptian woman and she understood all of the cultural nuances it took me months to pick up on. I was surrounded by an amazing group of people: my host family, my teachers at the university (several of which have taught at UT for a semester), my language and academic partners, my friends, those I worked with at my internships, and simply those people I saw every day in my neighborhood who would always stop to talk to me and ask me how I was doing. Then the protests began and the government shut off all cell phone and Internet connection …
    Continue reading Jordan’s essay.

    Anita Husen

    Anita Husen

    Anita Husen is a graduate student in Arabic Studies. She lived in Cairo, Egypt from 2009-2010.

    In a military state with martial law, an innocent 28-year old Egyptian, Khaled Said, was beaten to death by state security. His post-mortem photo circulated the Internet and started a movement by Egypt’s Facebook generation. Fed up with police brutality, Egyptians from across the political spectrum demanded basic human rights. Egyptian youth signed in to social networks, organized and strategized peaceful demonstrations on main streets, crowded neighborhoods, and large squares in major cities for Jan. 25, the national Police Day holiday …
    Continue reading Anita’s essay.

    • Quote 2
      Pavol said on Feb. 25, 2011 at 2:54 p.m.
      I remember how in 1989 we had our own pro-democratic revolution in Slovakia (former Czechoslovakia). Granted, it was not a violent one, but it stood for the same principles. And just like people are now afraid that radicals will start ruling Egypt, EU countries were afraid that there will be a flood of people from Eastern Europe. It didn't happen. Instead, Eastern Europe adjusted their policies to match the ones of Western European countries, and although economically we are still behind, politically we are equal. I believe, Egypt will see similar situation. People may be fairly upset about what may seem like a never-ending "catching up" economically to the West, but I believe they will will choose the same democratic way.
    • Quote 2
      a vanderpool said on Feb. 24, 2011 at 8:07 a.m.
      Thanks for this article. I was hoping to hear reactions from UT students with close ties to Egypt & would love to hear more. The bravery of the people there is so heartening.
    • Quote 2
      David said on Feb. 23, 2011 at 3:17 p.m.
      I think its amazing how the revolutions are rolling throughout the middle east and northern Africa.
    • Quote 2
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