FAMU Student Supports Family Overseas through Tally Rally

Outside the Capitol Building, people gathered to show support for and solidarity with the anti-government protesters in Cairo. For Michel Ibrahim, a pre-med student at Florida A & M University, the Solidarity Rally for Egypt gave him a way to support his family overseas. Ibrahim was born in Egypt in June of 1990, and moved to the United States when he was 15 years old. In 2005, Ibrahim and his family moved to the United States to escape the oppressive regime of Hosni Mubarak, president of the Arab Republic of Egypt. Yet after leaving, Ibrahim said he sees Mubarak as an Egyptian hero who was able to bring peace to his nation. The fact that there have not been any major wars in the Middle East in the 30 years of Mubarak’s reign is something that he and fellow Egyptians take pride in. “We have a great deal of respect for him,” Ibrahim said. The ongoing protests in Egypt have evoked strong emotions for Ibrahim. When the Egyptian government shut down the internet and cell phone service, Ibrahim was cut off from all contact with his family members, including his grandfather. “It wasn’t scary because we knew they were going to be okay,” Ibrahim said. “Not being able to talk to my grandpa and my cousins…it was hard.” Ibrahim said he is optimistic about the outcome of the protest in his homeland, and their success in forcing Mubarak out of office has given him hope. The internet, he said, gives youth the power to make a widespread change. A strong believer in democracy, Ibrahim is excited about a free election in Egypt where anyone can run. “Democracy always wins,” he said. The violence and destruction that ensued during the protests as the pro-Mubarak protesters rushed the crowd made Ibrahim realize how serious and potentially volatile the protests can be. “When you see a big mall in Cairo and Alexandria, it’s sad,” Ibrahim said. “I went to those malls. It is like watching the Tallahassee Mall burning to the ground, you know?” The recent violence that erupted made him feel a sense of urgency in sending the revolutionaries home, he said. “The rest of the president’s resignation will come in time. We don’t want Egypt turned into a military state,” Ibrahim said. Despite the emotional twists and turns Ibrahim has endured within the past week, he said he feels the government is moving in a positive new direction. Ibrahim said he is particularly thankful for demonstrators supporting a cause that is important to him and his family.