Rally held in Berkeley to support Egypt movement

Rally held in Berkeley to support Egypt's movement

February 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A group of about 50 sympathizers of the pro-democracy movement in Egypt rallied at UC Berkeley on Monday. A handful of the protesters were students from Egypt who say that one of the major demands is for more jobs back home.

Those who attended the rally at Spoul Plaza stood in solidarity with protestors in Cairo's Liberation Square.

Tarek Hosny is an Egyptian student and a 26-year-old MBA candidate. His good friend became a casualty of the violent confrontations there last week.

"They were attacked by the police and he got shot in his eye," said Hosny.

Hosny and other Egyptian students we spoke with are fortunate they're getting college degrees abroad. They all believe they will have no problems getting good jobs when they go back, but they also say that's not true with many of those who are educated back home.

"The school systems are very bad. The teachers are paid incredibly low wages," said 25-year-old Sarah Ismail, a grad student in public health.

Farida Ezzat, 20, says it's not only the poor quality of education.

"You have to have connections. Nepotism, corruption... that all contributes to the fact that it makes it harder for you to find a job," said Ezzat.

According to a World Bank report, in 2008 about 28 percent of college-age Egyptians were enrolled in universities. But the report also says while more young people are getting degrees, there aren't enough jobs to keep them employed. The jobless rate stands at just over 25 percent among those under age 25.

The Egyptian students in Berkeley at the rally all say they will go back home, but also on their minds is the prospect of being targeted by the government because they're actively supporting the protestors.

"I can't live my life based on fear. I can't keep myself from speaking up just because I'm concerned about the potential consequences," said Ezzat.

Ezzat and the others in Berkeley say they're just doing their part for democracy.