Saturday, January 29, 2011

Candlelight vigil tonight for Egypt



Dozens of Charlotte area residents with ties to Egypt will hold a candlelight vigil tonight (Saturday, Jan. 29) as a sign of solidarity with the people of Egypt. They will meet at 6:30 in Marshall Park in Uptown.

For more information, contact (704)258-0304.


Trouble in Egypt stirs Charlotteans

By Franco Ordoñez
fordonez@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte area Egyptians are watching the protests raging in Cairo and across Egypt with a mix of concern and anticipation.

Mona Baset of Charlotte immediately worried about her cousins' safety when she learned police were lobbing tear gas and using water cannons against protesters in her relatives' neighborhood near the 6 October Bridge in Cairo. She checked her cousin's Facebook page and found he had been posting messages supporting the protests.

"I thought that was very brave of my cousin to post that," she said. "People are concerned, but there is a sense of hope that there is going to be some change. I really think that people there have been living under such an oppressive government."

Baset, whose parents moved to the United States after they were married in 1960s, said she was glad to find out her many aunts, uncles and cousins were safe before the government cut off most of the country's Internet and cell phone service.

The unrest in Egypt has come after weeks of turmoil across the Arab world that has already toppled the authoritarian president in Tunisia.

The protesters in Egypt are seeking a similar result, hoping to overthrow their President Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power since 1981.

Mohammed el-Nawawy, an associate professor of communication at Queens University of Charlotte who is from Egypt, called it an "historic moment."

El-Nawawy, who has studied the role of the media and Internet in the Arab world, described the protesters as mostly educated, middle-class youth who have used social media sites and the web to cut through restrictions on freedom of expression and political activism.

He said the government's effort to quash the movement by shutting down the Internet is too late.

"This is the point of no return," he told the Observer Friday. "These are young people who are insisting on making things happen now. Now the regime is forced to take action."

Baset's parents moved to Texas in 1969 to attend grad school, but also for many of the same reasons that the people today are protesting.

"It was a similar situation where it was just so oppressive," she said. "They felt that if they stayed there they didn't think they'd have the opportunities. They decided to leave and never looked back."


3 comments:

Edie said...

Franco,

I would just like to mention that participants at the rally this evening won't just be Charlottean Egyptians.

There are also those who believe in human rights for all and stand against despots and dictators - even those propped up by our own government - that will also be standing in solidarity with the protesters.

Many have been killed by Egyptian security forces and thousands detained. According to Amnesty International, this is when they are most likely to be tortured or abused. Those detained need to be kept safe, be allowed to contact their families and charged with a recognizable crime or released immediately.

You don't have to be Egyptian to care about what happens in Egypt, just like you don't have to be Haitian to care about Haiti.

An injustice or tragedy to one is an injustice and tragedy to us all.

seth32345 said...

Whatever, don't be brainwashed. Wake up! The american war machine is chompin at the bit on this one...wonder how those fat cats think they can make on this one

Dear america, the world does not need you to fix their problems.

Why dont you fix you own?

Ex. Vietnam, Iran, Iraq- I dont even know who the enemy is but I am sure that my government will let me know soon.

John said...

seth,

the enemy IS your government (regardless of whether Bush or Obama is the puppet).