Amid Riots, Egyptians in New York Reach Out to Those Back Home

Friday, January 28, 2011

Egyptian riot police gather near burning tires as a demonstrator throws an object towards them during a protest in Cairo, Egypt on January 26, 2011 Egyptian riot police gather near burning tires as a demonstrator throws an object towards them during a protest in Cairo, Egypt on January 26, 2011 (AFP/Getty Images)

As Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak responded to protesters for the first time on Friday, Egyptians in New York applauded the thousands of demonstrators who clogged the country's street to oppose the regime and stage the largest challenge yet to the president's 30-year rule.

New Yorkers watched on Friday as President Mubarak addressed protesters for the first time in the four days since tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to demand he resign. He vowed reform and asked his Cabinet to resign.

Maha Eltobgy, who grew up in the Middle East and spent a few of those years in Egypt, said she hears a new energy on the streets of Egypt she's never heard before. Eltobgy was able to actually listen in on the protests Friday when she called her friend in Cairo from New York on Friday.

"You can just hear, like, chanting very, very loudly from what ... is across a very big river, the Nile River," she said. "Some of it is, like, 'Down with Mubarak' but a lot of it is just a sense of pride, a sense of like, this is our country, and we want our country back."

Mohamad Soliman said he is concerned about the well-being of his mother and sisters in Alexandria, but he is encouraged by the demonstrators.

"We want to get rid of this dictator, honestly," Soliman said. "We want to see a change. We want to see a free Egypt. It must happen. It's coming. You're going to see it yourself."

Protesters continued to defy a nation-wide curfew despite a military crackdown. Obama roundly criticized the regime's police crackdown of protestors and threatened to reduce a $1.5 billion foreign aid program if Egypt used excessive force.

Ailsa Chang contributed reporting.


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Comments [11]

Lamiaa gouda

Thanks a lot misty, I do appreciate it.

Jan. 31 2011 11:41 AM
misty from louisiana

hello again Lamiaa gouda! Thank you for helping me to understand everything better. How awful to live in that kind of fear!!! I will pray for your relatives and the unrest over there. I will keep you all in my prayers. thanks for taking the time to share with me. sincerely. Have a good night!

Jan. 30 2011 09:39 PM
Lamiaa gouda

Hi misty, I do have two sisters there now, and thank god they are ok, they told me that all neighbors gather their men in front of buildings with sticks and knifes and they had a very scary night, but that's over now, I heard the police will go back in the street. I don't know who can take over after mobarak, since his party was the only one leading for 30years, and he never even had a VP, we really don't know anyone else!!! Funny ha? But at least now his son is out of the picture. Please pry for Egypt, it really is a great country. Thank you again, you are great.

Jan. 30 2011 07:04 PM
misty from louisiana

Thank you, Lamiaa gouda, for helping me to understand better. This Mobarak sounds like a terrible man. I saw on tv his little speech about making the governmental officials resign, but then again, HE is appointing the new officials - like THAT will do any good. Even I see how that won't make a difference. What I'd like to know is, do the people protesting have any leader/leaders that can step into power if Mobarak were to be hopefully removed. If so, maybe the protesters can run him out of there. Oh, yeah I'd live to visit Egypt - I've always wanted to see the Pyramids. My family phycisian acctually went to medical school in Cairo I believe. I imagine the people there must be really fed up to be protesting. Unfortunately, any time there is an uprising or occurrence that causes law and order to be unstable, you have the criminals coming out of the woodwork to rob, kill, and destroy. Kind of like here after Hurricane Katrina, even after all the devastation in New Orleans, we still had criminals more interested in what they could steal than in bonding together for the common good. I hope things get better in Cairo soon, do you have relatives near the violence?

Jan. 30 2011 05:31 PM
Lamiaa gouda

Thank you misty very much for your interest, as you know, Egypt is a republic, yet Hosni Mubarak is ruling it for 30 years now, he changed in the constitution to give himself unlimited number of terms so he can be the president for as long as he wants, he also changed in the constitution to ensure the presidency for his son Gamal. Like if Egypt is a kingdom!!! For example there is a famous slogan says " Egypt is Mobarak and Mobarak is Egypt" I'm not kidding they say this on national TV, in the graduation of military college, or in any public occasion you can imagine. Egypt is the only country with marshal laws for 28 years. As for women in Egypt, we dress as we wish, they may wear Islamic cloths or they can take off their head scarf, as long as it's not too reviling. But they are free to drive and get good education and even be in the parliament and college professors. I wish you can visit Egypt it is not a desert and camels like they show on tv it is a very modern country with very kind people. Thank you again and forgive my English as it is not my first language

Jan. 30 2011 03:24 PM
misty from louisiana

hi Lamiaa gouda, thanks for enlightening me. I know it is a stupid thing to do, but for some reason if we see something on tv/internet/magazines, we think it is true - i saw somewhere that women were stoned to death in egypt - thank goodness that is not so. I think it is good that you were able to get out and support the protesters in NYC. I'd like your insight, as an Egyptian woman. What is really going on over there. I know we aren't being 100% informed. And I also know there isn't one easy answer for me, but I would really like to be more informed. We live in such a messed up world (for lack of better words). All parts of the world have their own unique problems - some more than others. Even though we are having a hard time in the USA ecomomically, it is nothing in comparison with the hardships others (Egyptians in Cairo for example) are facing. I guess what I'm saying is I truly just don't understand it all. Can you help me? What is the long term/short term good coming out of the uprising in Egypt? I guess I just fear it will make things worse for them. thank you.

Jan. 30 2011 02:42 PM
Lamiaa gouda

I want to respond to misty, I'm Egyptian and I can tell you for a fact that there is NO women stoning in Egypt, Egypt is a Muslim country, but we do't rule with the Islamic law like Saudia, there were some women in the protest, but not much, only because they were expecting violent, and egyptian men don't let their ladies face that, only out of respect, trust me with that, As a woman I went to the protest in NY with my kids and husband and he was happy cause he knows it's safe

Jan. 30 2011 09:38 AM
misty from louisiana

Where are all the women protestors? Oh yeah, I forgot, isn't this a part of the world where they still stone women to death or disfigure them them for supposed adultery? I mean, if we stop and think about it, as God fearing US citizens, with radically different views on EVERYTHING fundamentally - what kind of effect does this uprising in Egypt have on us. I feel bad for the people being subjected to the poverty, but go to your local grocery store, and see the prices here. What they are having is a meltdown. They have no one that can stand up as a representative by and for the people and make a difference, so what the hell are they really going to accomplish, except burning everything down, getting their homes robbed by opportunist criminals, and more headache. Then, when thousands are dead from the violent fallout, more are suffering from the lack of political/ecomomical infrastructure, and you have people living homeless, hurting, and hungry what was gained?? How much will the hated USA pitch in for aid? It is a no win situation for all. I hate to sound one sided, and I am probably ignorant of some factual data, but from what i DO know, it all seems like a lost cause. A lose/lose situation for all involved.

Jan. 29 2011 01:35 PM
Sherwit abomoustafa from Boston,Ma

oh so he comes up after 4 days nobody have seen him and says a stupid speech to just make them calm down but guess what there not going to.all you say in that stupid speech is that your going to get a new deck of police but they don't want a new deck of police they want u to leave leave LEAVE LEAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and u also stop mr.elbardy by force from coming out of his house so he dose'nt join the people on the streets.Take all the money you want take everything in that country but just LEAVE they want u to LEAVE you've already killed 3 of them how much more do u want just a thing in every time i pray i will hope that u leave LEAVE LEAVE LEAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.............and die so no one else gets hurt by YOU

Jan. 29 2011 09:53 AM
Hallamo De'pari from South Sudan

God will punish Sudan and Egypt, says the bible. i think the bible forgot to mention and Somalia too! ha! i think was absent minded when he created us and gave us the worst brain that thinks in a revers gear! Egypt did their 500 years of punishment, Sudan did 5o years of punishment. wow, since the world was created, is there anything good that African leaders have done that we the citizens can remember for? apart from human disaster like; genocide, dictatorship, corruption, supercluing on power as if its a kingdom. they go hunting for funds in the name of freedom fighting we dnt know from who? yet they are the very cause of human disaster in Africa! to me they all look alike; thesame African leaders obbessed with power and they called it liberty, equality, freedom!! what freedom when citizens can't afford to buy bread? ha Sudan on Referendum, Egypt on chaos, Somalia on tatus! what is not worst that these selfish leaders havn't done to their citizens? they are not even asham of themselves! i hate African leaders! Africa would be better without people who called theselves African persidents! elections are waste of time in this danger zone bse we are always living on an emergency kind of lifestyle and i even dnt know how a normal life tasts like! to us in South Sudan if there is no Emergency, then something is really going on wrong somewhere! or else another mad man somewhere is planing to throw booms on us! what a world of emergency? if ER was in Africa, they would have ask for an express ER to vaccute them as soon as they landed! Africa is living the lifestyle of Tom and Jerry, they are the worst enemies living togather and yet they can't give up their carriers bse that is how they earn their living! i just wonder if Tom and Jerry were Africans, they would be either Sudanese or Somalians! or Egyptians.

for more about my Africam plse call on:
0901749734. South-Sudan
Hallamo De'pari
South Sudanese celebrity.

Jan. 28 2011 06:05 PM
Hallamo De'pari from Sudan

i really love nationalists, fight for your rights, African leaders suck! kick him out.

Jan. 28 2011 04:53 PM

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