Yesterday thousands of Egyptians took to the streets demonstrating against their government. Anyone who has lived even a short time in Egypt knows that this is remarkable. In general Egyptians are a laid back group of people, they are slow to anger and quick to laugh. But they are fed up. Although government sources dispute this, studies show that a majority of Egyptians live off of $2.00 a day. Unemployment is sky high, corruption rampant and the common person has no voice of change or otherwise. In the midst of the protests, the US government claims that Egypt is stable and the government of Egypt is “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs of the people”. Hard to reconcile reality with that statement.
Our connection to this feels close. Besides our experience living for 7 years in Egypt, our daughter Annie, who attends graduate school at the American University of Cairo, marched with the protesters, avoiding water cannons and experiencing the sting of tear gas. (She tells us that milk works to get out the sting). She writes this: ”
“Lots of momentum, and pretty unprecedented since Mubarak has come to power. It certainly won’t be a direct copy-cat of Tunisia, just given Egyptians’ general downtrodden-ness about politics here (so many of my friends today kept saying they didn’t think it would change anything, but they were there, So!)”
The Egyptian people have a saying that permeates much of life whatever the circumstance: “Bukara, Insh’allah!’ (Tomorrow, God Willing!) Sometimes said with sarcasm, other times with hope, it is the ever-present acknowledgement that there is a tomorrow, and there is a God. And in that they have trust. Despite today’s crack-down on protests, despite social media sites being shut down, despite their own difficulties there is always the collective cry “Tomorrow, God Willing”.
- Egypt police end Cairo protests (bbc.co.uk)
- Egypt bans new political protests (bbc.co.uk)
- U.S. urges restraint in Egypt, says government stable – Reuters (news.google.com)
- Thousands in Egypt Join Antigovernment Protest – Wall Street Journal (news.google.com)