Learning more about Egypt’s street revolution

This afternoon, Northeastern University’s International Affairs Program and Middle East Center held a forum about the “Egyptian Revolution” and Arab protests throughout the Muslim world.

“There’s corruption all over the world. Generations all over the world can no longer stand it,” said Ilham Khuri-Makdisi, co-moderator of the event and assistant professor of history at Northeastern. “The situation in Egypt has turned into international accountability, not just Egyptian.”

Even though I feel overwhelmed about the latest updates in Egypt whenever I turn on the television or glance at the front page of a newspaper, I went to the forum to learn more about the situation. I wanted to hear Professor Denis Sullivan’s perspectives. Professor Sullivan is the director of the International Affairs Program and Middle East Center for Peace, Culture and Development, so I knew he would have reliable information to share. Also, I wanted to take pictures at the forum to use for my class photography assignment. But I underestimated the student body and faculty at Northeastern: The room was filled to capacity. My camera couldn’t handle the huge open space. Instead of submitting my photos for the assignment due Tuesday, I decided to insert some into this post. I am hoping to attend a walk for Egypt this Saturday at Copley Square in Boston to take photos.

Throughout the hour and a half, Professor Sullivan reiterated his thoughts that Egypt and the Arab world will never be the same again after this “Egyptian Revolution.” There is a belief that the uprising in Tunisia sparked the protests in Egypt. But, Professor Sullivan and his wife were recently in Cairo until January 25th. The demonstrations have been building up for six years, he said.

Professors Ilham Khuri-Makdisi (left) and Denis Sullivan (right) co-moderated the forum.

“While we were there, we heard of the people wanting to take to the streets in protest of the government,” he said. “Egyptians knew of the corrupt government down to the core because of the influx of information through social media.”

Professor Sullivan expressed his concern that it took days for President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to respond to the events. “They eventually realized Mubarak should go,” he said.

Today marks the Day of Rage in Yemen, where protesters are also calling for change. Saturday and Sunday might also mark Days of Rage in Jordan and Syria as Tunisia’s snowball effect creates uprisings for changes throughout the Arab world.

“We hope it’s game-over time for Mubarak. We really do,” Sullivan said. “They love the Egyptian flag, and so do we here.”

Four Northeastern students – two individuals on co-op and two individuals studying abroad – have returned from Egypt. None of them were in attendance at the forum today.

Northeastern students and faculty gathered in West Village F.

The Q-and-A portion of the presentation ranged from students’ concerns about the Catholic minority in the country to the possible future steps the United States will take.

Although my hopes of taking a few decent pictures failed, I am pleased that I was able to hear the professors’ remarks. I anticipate the walk on Saturday. Maybe I’ll see you there!

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