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DU reflects on Egypt’s uprising

Professor Mohamed Askar lectures to class about Egyptian Revolution. Credit: Dominic Schwab, Dominican Star.

By: Dominic Schwab, Staff Reporter

A number of Egyptian citizens successfully and peacefully revolted against President Hosni Mubarak during an 18-day protest from Jan. 25 to Feb. 11 because of their growing dissatisfaction with Mubarak’s leadership.  Mubarak had served as president for three decades until his corrupt practices were uncovered over the last five or six years.  Using Facebook, the Egyptian citizens united to end Mubarak’s presidential reign.

Dominican students were aware of Facebook’s role in the revolution.

“I know that prior to the revolution, Egypt was under the rule of President Mubarak for over 30 years,” senior James Ortega said. “Egyptian citizens were unhappy with Mubarak’s regime and, through Facebook, they banded together to change the government.”

Senior Jaron Salazar noted that Egyptian citizens united through the popular social network in order to protest.

“[The Egyptian people] were aided by Facebook to get change by protesting. The pressures they put on Mubarak spawned the revolution,” he said

Professor Mohamed Askar, an associate professor of management at Dominican who was born and lived in Egypt before moving to America, had more to add about the role Facebook played in the Egyptian revolution.

“The protests were done over Facebook,” he said. “Wael Ghonim, a former student of mine, is the Marketing Head of Google in the Middle East.  He was a main figure in organizing the protests through Facebook.”

Askar said that Mubarak rose to power, “in a critical time” after the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar El Sadat, and that he “acted as a reformist during the early years.” Over time, however, Egyptian citizens grew suspicious toward Mubarak’s presidency, a sentiment validated in recent years as Mubarak and his government’s corruption were exposed.

“Mubarak was a pharaoh and his days are over,” Askar said.

Student opinions were mixed on the revolution’s outcome.  While Salazar and Ortega thought the revolution was necessary, both remain fearful for Egypt.

“The outcome up in the air,” Salazar said. “It depends who they put into power.  There’s the possibility of things falling apart.”

Salazar mentioned the United States’ offer to help Egypt create a democracy, but Egypt’s refusal because they “just wanted to work on creating a better government on their own.”

“I’m fearful that the military’s power may take advantage of the situation,” Ortega said.

Askar said the military and the people worked together as one to protest against Mubarak, but he realizes the possible negatives about how the country is now being run.

“The military is in power and will stay in power for six months,” Askar said. “I would like it if they stayed in power for one year so as to establish a long-lasting democracy that treats everyone equally and will hold the president accountable for [his] wrongs.”

“The revolution will have a big impact on the Middle East,” he said. “Egypt is the leader of the Middle East and I hope Egypt can move forward as a leader of peace and civilization in the world.”

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