Bay Area Egyptians keep close eye on uprising

Bay Area Egyptians keep close eye on uprising

February 2, 2011 12:55:03 AM PST
Egyptians living in the Bay Area are watching what is happening in the homeland very closely. They are worried about their families, but also very worried about the future of their country as a whole. Tuesday some local students had the chance to learn about what is happening there from someone with very close ties.

San Francisco State University students are hanging on every word spoken by Yasmine Deiffallah. She is an Egyptian and a UC Berkeley political science graduate student. She explained why after 30 years of rule by Hosni Mubarak a revolt has finally taken place.

"Poverty, inflation, a widening gap between rich and poor, and politically repression and the combination is explosive of course, especially when it's there for a long, long time," says Deiffallah.

She's worried about her family back home, but she says her brothers and neighbors are literally taking back the streets.

"My brothers, for instance, were mentioning to me they were taking shifts with the neighbors protecting the streets," says Deiffallah. "People have gone out to protect their own neighborhoods. They have done this and also to keep public law, order and security."

Deiffallah says she felt an undercurrent of unrest on the streets when she went home two weeks ago, but nothing prepared her for this national uprising.

Another teaching moment is going on at the International House at UC Berkeley. There the Sausan Egyptian Dance Company is putting on a cultural event for people who are really interested in learning more about Egypt.

"We decided to put this show together to bring some good support Egypt which is of course going through a lot of turmoil right now," says Susan Moulton from the Sausan Egyptian Dance Company.

Atef Eltoukhy is Egyptian and a director at International House. He's waited a long time for what's happening now.

"It's been a generation with no change, so this was definitely overdue. Everybody was expecting something to happen, but it just somehow took much longer than anticipated, so it's about time," says Eltoukhy.