One Family Stands Together for Egypt
Feb 09, 2011
The riots in Egypt hit close to home for one Concordia family.
Dr. Ahmed Kamel, an associate professor of computer science, and his wife, Dr. Mona Ibrahim, director of intercultural affairs and an associate professor of psychology, both grew up in Egypt. Their daughter, Ayah Kamel ’11, Fargo, N.D., studied at the American University in Cairo in 2008.
The family shared their perspectives on the conflict, alongside political science professor Dr. Rebecca Moore, at a forum on Tuesday. They all shared the view that the Egyptian government needs reform.
“They are simply running a police state,” says Ahmed Kamel, “and they are saying they are trying to protect the world, and it is simply not true.”
Ahmed Kamel remembers being 18 and trying to register to vote. The police told him that he had already registered, even though it was only two days after his birthday. When he insisted that he hadn’t registered, the police threatened him with “much worse things.”
Voting is just one freedom, says Ayah Kamel, most people in the U.S. take for granted.
“We have much more say [in our government] than people in Egypt can,” she says.
It is for this freedom that the protesters are fighting. Ayah Kamel was in Egypt during protests April 6, 2008. She says the momentum began as a Facebook event and grew from there. The same has been true for these protests, with the younger generation taking the lead.
The government shut down the Internet, phones and even the lights, in many places, but Ibrahim says that this actually helped the movement since they were already “attending” on Facebook.
“They had no other choice but to go down [to protest],” she says.
Protests have continued for more than two weeks, in spite of more than 5,000 injuries and hundreds of deaths.
“We stand together to break the terror of fear,” says Ibrahim.