Chaos in Egypt, fear in Chicago
Published: Monday, February 14, 2011
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
After weeks of violence, Egypt's historic revolution pushed President Hosni Mubarak to resign from his 30-year presidency last Friday. Fear has spread to the DePaul community, as some students have said the protests may affect their future. Some Egyptians living away from the revolution have said it is hard to be apart from their country during a time of chaos.
"When I think of my future, I don't know what I'm going to do," said Egyptian Sayed ElSalamony, who is studying economics and finance at DePaul. ElSalamony, who is here on a student visa, said he is worried what state his country will be in when he returns home.
Mubarak addressed his nation last week in a televised statement announcing that he would not step down from his presidency-despite three weeks of protests calling for his resignation. Expectations that Mubarak was to resign that night led to more violence revolts in Cairo. The following day, Vice President Suleiman announced Mubarak had resigned.
"Psychologically it is affecting me," said ElSalamony. "I just can't see my country fall apart in front of my eyes and not be there because I'm here and not there, and that's really frustrating," he said.
"I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know where the country's going, or where the economy is going, where the political side is going.is it going to go into a better state? That's what we're trying to figure out," ElSalamony said.
Prior to Mubarak's resignation, Scott Hibbard said, "In my personal opinion, the sooner Hosni Mubarak leaves the better off Egypt will be." Hibbard, a political science professor at DePaul, said, "There are different ways that can unfold, but he's really become the face of the old regime and the face of everything that's wrong."
Citizen protests against the old regime erupted on Jan. 25 when the people demanded Egypt's economic situation and government change. Hibbard said that while getting Mubarak out of power may be the first step in Egypt's revolution, addressing the country's economic situation needs to come next.
"I really hope to see a more vibrant economy," Hibbard said. According to Hibbard, there is an enormous-but poorly distributed-amount of wealth in Egypt and in the region. "What you have is the absence of a free and open market, and that's contributing to mass poverty," Hibbard said.
Egypt's transition period has been said to be affecting the Arab population as a whole. Faten Bushehri, a recent DePaul graduate of Arabic descent said she believes the Arab community should support Egypt during this time of distress.
"Arabs usually tend to stick together and support each other because it's one region-and what happens in one country affects the other countries," Bushehri said.
As an Arab-American, Bushehri said she feels that it is only right that she and others in the Arab community back Egypt's revolution in hopes to spread democracy.
"We're supporting other countries that are fighting for their freedom," Bushehri said. "In America it's all about democracy and freedom-and that's something that we try to promote to people in other countries. It would only make sense to support Egyptians to fight for their freedom." With a president who has been in power for nearly thirty years, Busheri said it's about time.
While Egypt may be on the road to democracy, they are still only at the beginning stages of their journey, said Hibbard. But he still has hope for the country's transition.
"At this stage the future is yet to be written" he said. "Some change will happen. The question is how much change and how significant. There is a movement for change and I think it is long overdue for the region," Hibbard said.