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Staying in Egypt

Hello again, it’s Nellie. Tom still doesn’t have access to internet, so the only way I’ve been able to reach him is through phone calls. I’m going to have quite the phone bill this month, but it is worth it to know he is safe and get an idea of what is going on over there.

Tom’s classes at the American University in Cairo have been cancelled for at least the next two weeks, and possibly longer. His Arabic classes have also been suspended. If his classes do not resume, he may be looking for another place to study this semester or coming home.

Instead of studying he is spending most of his time working with CNN, doing various jobs, helping with stories and helping the staffers at CNN understand the area and what is going on. Today he travelled to the airport in Cairo and did some filming (if you see any footage from the Cairo airport on CNN, it is probably from him!) and tonight some of his American roommates should be interviewed by Anderson Cooper about their plans to leave Cairo.

As of now, Tom is planning on staying in Egypt, but he has a spot on a plane this coming Friday in case the situation there becomes worse and he needs to leave. When I asked him if he felt safe (which I do every day) he said that he still feels “perfectly safe” and that while there are some anti-American sentiments among the protesters, they are not directed at Americans in general. Instead, he says that the anti-American feeling are directed at American policies over the last 30-50 years that the Egyptian protesters believe have hurt their country by suppressing growth, pigeonholing their country into economic stagnation and forcing them into oppression under the Mubarak regime.

Tom also mentioned that the Egyptian protesters are frustrated by the Obama administration staying on the fence throughout the protests. Some of the protesters even allege that a transition in police tactics from relatively peaceful crowd control (using tear gas and marching the protesters) to more violent crowd removal (the use of secret police and armed thugs) was directly correlated with Hillary Clinton’s first statement of support for the Mubarak regime late Tuesday night. However, despite a negative look on some American policies and their support for Mubarak, these protesters are pro-democracy, pro-freedom and not anti-American in general.

A concern that has been raised in America and elsewhere is the chance of the Muslim Brotherhood taking over the Egyptian government, if they are able to oust President Mubarak. Tom says that from what he has seen, this is a non-issue, with little chance of happening. What he has seen is that not many Egyptian citizens are supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, many of the protesters argue with, and shut down, those that  speak in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

I hope that was informative. Check out Anderson Cooper 360 tonight if you get a chance!


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Katie Plofchan
    February 1, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Thanks, Nellie! You are doing an awesome job “speaking” for Tommy and I’m sure that he appreciates it. We, too, are a bit weary of the phone bill, but that hasn’t stopped us from calling him several times a day!

  2. Elizabeth Hofstedt
    February 1, 2011 at 5:46 am

    Thanks Nellie.

  3. Uncle Big (aka BB)
    February 1, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Nellie, Please give Tom my very best regards. This is an incedible life event at the ripe old age of 23! Among his many noteworthy qualities, it is a good thing Tom also inheritied his father’s hard head. Thumbs up and God bless.

  4. February 1, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Well done, Thomas!!

    Few things bring more satisfaction to a teacher than seeing a student do something like this.

    I am particularly pleased to see your assessment of the Brotherhood. Watching as a non-expert from afar, part of me wants to rejoice at the prospects for human freedom, dignity, and human rights; and another part is terrified that this will result in a different form of tyranny that will spread throughout the regional powder keg and lead to horrible destruction followed by united tyranny.

    To see the great people of Egypt unite and create a democratic regime with guaranteed rights for all minorities (and for women) would be a truly delightful sight. I’m glad I know someone who is there and can provide trustworthy information.



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