News / Middle East

Egyptian Youth Vow to Transform Their Society

Volunteers check other anti-government protesters to search for and prevent weapons and infiltrators entering the demonstration after brief clashes with pro-government supporters in Talaat Harb square near Tahrir square, Cairo, February 4, 2011
Volunteers check other anti-government protesters to search for and prevent weapons and infiltrators entering the demonstration after brief clashes with pro-government supporters in Talaat Harb square near Tahrir square, Cairo, February 4, 2011

In Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere, a mix of Arabs are protesting against their governments. And a feature of many of the largest demonstrations has been the use of social media by young people to mobilize big crowds. The Egyptian youth rallying there are vowing to transform their society.

Amid the continuing protests, Cairo's Tahrir Square has been a place where protesters are helping each other and have been seen sweeping the street, picking up garbage, while sharing food, water and medications.

Fadi Awad has been here since uprising started on January 25. The 32-year-old said, "Now when you look in the eyes of people you see happiness, you see intelligence, and you see acceptance of the other - all the others, inside or outside,” said Awad. “I guess Egypt is going to be a great country after all, I hope."

Watch Video of Friday's Protests in Cairo

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has long justified his rule by warning that without it, chaos would reign in Egypt.  Protestors charged that Mr. Mubarak's supporters tried to sow chaos earlier this week in the streets of Cairo by attacking foreign journalists and human rights activists - and by hurling cinder blocks and steel pipes from the roofs of buildings surrounding the square.

Mahmoud Shaker, a 26 year old diving instructor from the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, fought back. Now his left arm and eye are all bandaged up.

Still, he says he is prepared to fight until death.

Watch a Related Video from VOA's Luis Ramirez

Shaker recalls that even former U.S. President George Bush, not a popular figure among Arabs, wanted Mr. Mubarak to embrace democracy.

That makes Awad hug and kiss Shaker, who he just met. Awad said, “He made a great metaphor!”

Shaker continues, with Awad translating.

"The Arab countries are going to be changed by the hands of their youth - not the old people, corrupted people like Mubarak," Awad added.

These young are suspicious of the older dissidents, including former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei. They also worry that the Muslim brotherhood may try to hijack their revolution.

But they were the ones who helped bring the revolution to the streets of Cairo - with the help of Facebook and Twitter. And Awad expresses their optimistic outlook.

"All the Egyptian people is changing. Me myself, I'm changing,” said Awad. “Egypt is going to be more democratic. I hope the economy, everything, is going to be better after this regime steps down."

Members of the younger generation in Egypt say changes that have swept the world since the fall of the Berlin Wall - have finally arrived in the Middle East.

 

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid