Below the Surface in Egypt


Chaos has ridden the city of Cairo, Egypt since Jan. 25 and is not showing any signs of slowing down. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest the reign of President Hosni Mubarak, who has led the country for over 30 years.
Mostly citizens in their 20’s and 30’s, these protestors have only known Mubarak as their leader. With the unemployment rate climbing and poverty running rampant, the citizens of Egypt are making their concerns known.
In light of the catastrophic events occurring in Egypt, Anneka Preston’s visit to FAMU could not have come at a better time. Serving as an admissions counselor to the University of Cairo, she has an inside look at the happenings in Egypt.
“This is a really incredible testament to democracy,” said Preston, “because in Egypt there is no right to assemble and the freedom of speech is very much limited.” She stated that this seemed to be a “middle class protest” and that “they are coming from a place of privilege knowing that they have these rights are not being able to express them.”
Joseph Jones, the interim assistant vice president of the office of International Education and Development feels similarly about the events. 
“The population of Cairo is so great and a large percentage of it is young people. They are educated. They go to school, get their degree and then what? That’s a large part of what is going on,” said Jones.
But others have quite opposing views to the demonstrations taking place. An Egyptian-American woman, referred to as G.W., sees things differently.
“This does not make any sense,” said G.W. “Yes there is the problem of unemployment in my country, but every country has that problem! Something deeper is going on.” 
G.W. said that this sudden uproar in Egypt was not of the Egyptian people’s own doing. “It is said that outsiders are trying to take over our land and make the whole country Islamic. It’s a mystery.”
At the center of this mystery is the Muslim Brotherhood, an underground political party that has a strong following in Egypt. The organization of men is aiming to take Middle Eastern countries back to traditional Islamic values and reclaim their land from what they see as liberal, westernized ruling. 
It is still early in the battle, but President Barack Obama is making his opinion on the matter known.  
“He (President Mubarak) needs to listen to what is being voiced by the Egyptian people and make a judgment about a pathway forward that is orderly but that is meaningful and serious.” 
G.W. does not see the president as the problem in her country at all. 
“Would people be killing each other, stealing things, burning down buildings, over unemployment or over our president? I do not believe so. I just feel like the devil now lives there.” 
Whether or not the protests are solely in retaliation to the living and freedom conditions in Egypt or the Muslim Brotherhood is attempting to overthrow the government is unknown. 
“Time will tell,” said Preston. “No one knows the future of Egypt at this moment. All we can do is hope for the best.”