Martha note: Egyptian citizen Hager Faisal became friends with WMRA's General Manager Tom DuVal and his wife, Lorie Merrow, while she was an exchange student at JMU. Now back in her native country, she works as an an English Language Instructor at Cairo's Misr International University (MIU).
Last Friday, Hager was in the streets of Cairo when, after three decades in office, Hosni Mubarak resigned as president of Egypt and handed over power to the army. And over the weekend she sent me the following thoughts and pictures, along with a note that said:
"I am attaching some of the photos that I have taken in Tahrir square, which are different than those you see on TV. They show how the protestors are talented, civilized, ambitious, energetic, humorous and simple lovely Egyptians. I meant to send you this album in particular because you can only see the big crowds on TV. They also do show how peaceful those people are. The painters were drawing the faces of the martyrs.
"The pictures that are taken at night are those of the celebration in Cairo Streets. In one picture you will see how the military are acting very nice towards people and they take pictures with them."
Hager has promised to update us on developments.
"Since I am only 22-years old, I have the privilege to understand my students very well, who are mostly between 17-20 years old. I considered myself super lucky to teach at such an early age, because I acted as a faculty member yet I still belong to that young generation who I am teaching. Moreover, I still have the student's perspective because I am a graduate student in the American University in Cairo, where I insisted to get my Masters in Gender and political Economies believing that development is a pressing need in Egypt. Being a graduate student from Misr International University, the same university I am working for, and an exchange student at James Madison University, has helped me to be very much aware of the educational process and the nature of the Egyptian students.
"One course that I am teaching is mainly about the art of analysis and we focus on analyzing problems that face the Egyptian society and offer a deep evaluation for the existing solutions. While in another course, students are introduced to the essential skills of critical thinking and developing a logical argument. This is not to say that education in Egypt is perfect, however, the teaching criteria has changed a lot.
"Accordingly, it was very easy for me to interpret the misunderstanding between President Hosni Mubark's regime and the Egyptian Youth who started the 25th of January Revolution. The first reason is that Mubark's government in the last six years was living under the delusion that they are ruling an uncivilized, ignorant and absentminded population. However, they were not aware of the fact that it is only out of the people's kindness and patience that they were staying silent. They were also so busy to notice that the Egyptian youth are very well trained to use technology not only for fun but for creating their own new world with their desired rules. Social networks, specifically Facebook, were their tools to share ideas, express themselves and take actions. Thus, it was so easy to start the call for a demonstration on Facebook.
"The dishonest promises and the corruption of Mubark's government were the food of distrust. The youth's revolution was proven to be successful because, unlike Mubark's government, the youth are sincere, successful, civilized, organized, respectful, creative, ambitious and energetic.
"I should like to conclude by translating the message that Egyptians are circulating on Facebook for a better Egypt that summarizes into:
- Be positive.
- Be proud of themselves and their country.
- Be aware of their legal rights and responsibilities.
- Help each others.
- Respect each others.
- Defend their country.
- Eradicate corruption.
- Build their country.
- Vote in the next elections.
- Practice democracy."