A Face in the Crowd: 'Syriana' Actor Amr Waked

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Actor Amr Waked is best known to Western audiences for his role in the George Clooney oil movie Syriana, but this week, he has been protesting along with millions of his countrymen in Tahrir (Liberation) Square in Cairo, as the Egyptian people rise up in an attempt to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled the country for 30 years.

"We've never seen this in our modern history, not even in 1919 when we made the revolution against the occupation of the British, it's extremely glorious, it's fantastic," he told Celeste Headlee on The Takeaway's new podcast, Wave of Change.

For Waked, Mubarak's reign is already over, even though the autocrat has not yet stepped down. He criticized Mubarak's handling of the protests, saying "It's unacceptable by any standards of humanity."

Waked said he's been in the core of the uprising and he's seen intense police brutality, particularly last Friday when police were shooting at protesters while they chanted "This is a peaceful demonstration."

The actor is optimistic that the people will prevail, saying they will not stop until they get what they want: the end of Mubarak's power and the beginning of free, democratic elections.

The Obama administration is making a mistake by not supporting the revolution, he said. Waked dismissed fears that the end of Mubarek's reign would mean a war with Israel or breaking of the peace treaty between the two middle eastern nations. He said Mubarak had been feeding a deliberately altered image of Egypt to the U.S. to continue getting its support.

As for the uprising that began in Tunisia and is now raging in Egypt, Waked predicted it would not stop in Cairo. "Everything that happens to Egypt happens to the rest of the Arab world," he said.