Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Saturday-Jan 29th 6:36 PM Local
I woke up to not a cloud in the sky nor a cop on the street. I turned on the TV to see Mubarak had not stepped down but had sacked his ministers. That won’t be effective at all-the people want him out. Then I took a nap for a while as we waited for orders. I had a dream I could send one text to my folks to tell them I am safe.
We loaded the bus to head to the grocery store. People were directing traffic, taking the job the police were supposed to do. That was really inspiring. The notion of “we took down the police, so now we will fill in the spots” was really cool to see. We drove by one of the burned-out police stations and saw men who were looting being forced back by the citizens. One man had to return a rug by force of the people. (Currently I am watching the pictures of some of the looting that occurred in the museum in Cairo. I was so proud of this revolution and the calm shown by the protestors. There is a certain place in hell for someone who does this to a museum while his brothers are in the street fighting for their rights.) The street people all say “revolution,” while the news stations all say “protestors” or “demonstrators.” While walking around today, before the 4pm army instituted curfew we saw 20 military vehicles including a few tanks lined up on the main road in Alex.

A few hours ago I heard gunshots outside our apartment. The neighbors between a few apartments have barricaded the street and have armed themselves with pistols shotguns, 2x4s, golf clubs, and metal rods. Black smoke started to fill the sky again as the sun set over Alex. We are definitely in a state of emergency. We are safe though in our apartment. If something were to happen to one of our students though, we had no way to get them around the barricades to medical treatment. I doubt the looters will come our way, we are tucked away very far up on a ridge. I don't think we will be pulled out though.

Mubarak has appointed a VP-hasn’t been one for 30 years. A few of the other positions of the regime has been filled as well. I worry that once Mubarak does resign, celebratory gunfire will erupt.

8:10pm Gunfire rings out from the square 100 yards away. It is meant to keep the looters at bay, or so we hope. I checked the barricade that our neighbors built in our stairwell. I am not terribly excited about our only fireescape being blocked, however it adds to how real the perceived threat is. The scariest part is the Molotov cocktails which are primed and ready to be dropped on any attackers.

The selling point for my coming to Drake was when I found out we were getting an Arab professor. He was from Egypt and I was quite excited to be able to get there at some point. (Brits just announced to stay put if you are in the country and they are NOT yet pulling out.) I went with that professor in the past summer, and had a wonderful time. While there I learned quite heavily about the rigime, which augmented what I learned through Drake. Now I was really excited to at least put a professional grasp on Arabic from spending the semester here. I have been in Alex for almost 2 days now, and it has all gone to hell. This is the risk we take when we come to these places, so that we can learn a language and culture which will undoubtedly save American lives. Could I have gone and parties in Australia or London? Of course, but that would be a semester vacation. This semester will matter, and will undoubtedly be a story to tell my kids.
Some other photos of a revolution:

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