This interview was recorded on February 13th, with Dr. Nehal Heliel and her husband Dr. Ashraf Mansour from their apartment in Alexandria. The interviewers are Otis Pitney and Tik Root, who were studying at the C.V. Starr Middlebury School Abroad in Alexandria. The full interview covers everything from Mubarak’s last speech to the future of Egypt and can be found following these highlights:
Listen to selected audio:
– “Nehad: [Mubarak’s] last speech was at 11:00pm on Thursday night. That’s why everybody insisted on going out to protest the next day. The next day was unbelievably, undoubtedly the biggest protest since Jan. 25th. Lots of people were concerned that it would be bloody.
Ashraf: There were more than 2 million people in Alexandria only.
Nehad: The people in the street had no fear, it was weird. You would think [Mubarak] would have set his police again or do something, but nobody cared.”
– “Nehad: But I do know that me and Ashraf, we are grown ups, we were made to believe that the Islamic Brotherhood are real big monsters. I don’t blame the kids if they also believe in whatever monster has been put into their heads.”
– “Ashraf: This regime fell down in just 18 days. It is actually like a shot from a pistol. We lived in this regime for 30 years and it fell in 18 days.”
– “Nehad: Nobody is scared of the tanks, they treat them like pets. Ashraf calls them the friendly elephants.”
-“Ashraf: We are now the only people in the world w/o police and w/o a president.
Nehad: And it’s lovely! I swear, people smile at one another. The rules are working, because the young guys on the street are looking after the traffic. There is a sense of community.
Ashraf: Yes, people are very cultured, very disciplined, very protective of each other. It is like a nice anarchy.”
-“Ashraf: I think the goal right now is a democratic state. Some people right now are thinking of a parliamentary constitution and republic, not a presidential republic.”
-“Ashraf: A constitutional convention that represents all of the political trends and parties in Egypt. This convention will put in front of it, two other older constitutions, the 1923 one and the 1952 one, because these two were the most liberal and democratic constitutions in the history of modern Egypt.”
Conversation with Dr. Nehad Heliel, Dr. Ashraf Mansour, Otis Pitney and Tik Root from their apartment in Alexandria. 3:15pm EST (2/13/2011):
Nehad: I am so excited. It is not just about Mubarak leaving, it is not about a person, it is about a dream, an ideology, a regime. We are euphoric, ecstatic, we still can’t believe it.
Ashraf: I am very proud.
Tik: What was it like being in Alexandria when he stepped down?
Nehad: We all went out the next day after his speech, very angry, very disappointed. We all went out to the streets until 6pm, between ourselves we were a little bit mad at the Army, that it had not intervened on behalf of the people. When we got back, the porter at our house told us that he had resigned. We thought he was joking, but he wasn’t. We watched the news of it on his TV.
Ashraf: We took a rest in our apartment for 5 minutes and then we went back to the streets to celebrate with the people. It was like a festival in all of Alexandria, all over, on the Corniche, there were flags everything.
Nehad: People were singing, people were dancing in the street. People were putting their kids in the back of their cars, because that’s illegal and there aren’t any police.
Ashraf: You couldn’t see the tank because of the people on it.
Nehad: You cannot imagine how long it took us to get to my father’s place. He wanted to go on the streets. It took us maybe an hour to get there, who lives very close by. We were driving, there were thousands of cars, jammed, there were flags everywhere. Everyone was congratulating one another. It was mad. There were children dressed up, it was like a wedding or a carnival. There were fireworks.
Tik: So it was the exact opposite of the feeling after Mubarak’s speech last Thursday night?
Nehad: Yeah. Exactly. His first speech was depression, disappointment, anger.
Otis: When we heard it, me and Tik were being interviewed by Fox 44. We were so disappointed and it was difficult not to overreact on TV.
Tik: I think the Army gave him one more chance to do it by himself but I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows.
Nehad: I think they wanted to give him some dignity, you know when you come out and do it yourself, it takes a lot of courage like when Nasser did it. That was after defeat, and he came out and he genuinely meant it, that’s why millions of people went crying out on the street, and telling him to come back but that’s a different story. But Mubarak didn’t even have the guts to admit or apologize.
Ashraf: He was a coward because he didn’t dare to announce his resignation on air, or in an open address to the people. When the army pushed him to that, he did not give a resignation speech. He was too proud and too cowardly to confront his people and say I resign.
Tik: Do you think he is in Sharm al Sheikh right now?
Ashraf: I have doubts about this, because I think that someone like Mubarak will be very careful not to tell anybody, the people, where he is, because actually he is wanted right now as a criminal. He can be assassinated at any time.
Nehad: There are a lot of tabloids saying that his sons are with him. They had a big fight about Gamal’s desires for the presidency getting the father, Mubarak, into this particular ordeal. There are a lot of rumors going around. But I do believe that the Army owe Mubarak a safe way out, I mean he is from the Army, that was the dilemna.
Tik: And Tantawi was his good friend right?
Nehad: I don’t know if they were supposed to be friends.
Ashraf: Yes because Mubarak was the one who got Tantawi into his position as the Minister of Defense. So Tantawi owes Mubarak.
Nehad: And Tantawi was also in a very hard situation. I think there was a lot of pressure on Tantawi from the younger generals and Marshals. Before he came out with the last speech, the military came out and gave a speech, where everyone was included except for Mubarak and Suleiman. Tantawi looked very sad. He has a reputation of being very meek and non-aggressive. I’m sure they were friends.
Tik: He is in charge right now right?
Ashraf: Yes he is the one in charge right now, because of his leadership of the higher military council.
Nehad: We’ve never heard of anything that has tarnished his reputation, nothing has given him a black history.
Otis: Can you tell us some more about this Council of the Armed Forces?
Ashraf: This is a very big council, consisting of many senior officers and generals, and it couldn’t be controlled by only one person.
Nehad: One of the only systems in the country that is a little bit democratic. That’s why relatively that is the body that we trust, that’s why we have more confidence in the military. Even Mubarak cannot force the Army to beat the people or to get violent towards the people. It is a different body.
Otis: Perhaps he tried and that’s why he’s gone.
Nehad: That’s what people say. That’s what one of the very famous writers said. He said that he tried to ask the army to be violent, and the Army, or at least the majority of the Army refused.
Tik: In Tahrir, I saw a few of the Army men after Mubarak’s speech, turned in their guns and joined the protests.
Nehad: Yes, they took off their uniforms. That is in itself disobedience, it is mutiny. It is very symbolic when a military officer takes off his uniform and takes in. It could have been the start of another problem between the military. No one really knows what was going on behind the curtains.
Tik: Where did you watch Mubarak’s speech?
Nehad: The last speech? His last speech was at 11:00pm on Thursday night. That’s why everybody insisted on going out to protest the next day. The next day was unbelievably, undoubtedly the biggest protest since Jan. 25th. Lots of people were concerned that it would be bloody.
Ashraf: There were more than 2 million people in Alexandria only. There were more than 2 million people in the Tahrir area only.
Nehad: The people in the street had no fear, it was weird. It looked crazy, taking their babies and their children, like I wouldn’t take a baby. They didn’t care. And it was the day after he had announced that he was staying on. You would think he would have set his police again or do something, but nobody cared.
Otis: When we were watching this on Fox 44, we were so worried about violence breaking out after all the excitement in Tahrir and for Mubarak to give a speech like that. How worried were you?
Nehad: We were actually. We were very worried. My mom called me from England, saying don’t go. Don’t go on that day. And thank god we didn’t listen to them. After all that, when our country really needs us, would we abandon it on this last day? No. It was either his regime or the people. In Tahrir, they dispersed themselves into three, some surrounded the TV building, some surrounded the Presidential palace. In Alexandria we surrounded the Presidential palace. It is very symbolic. It’s like, ‘we are out there to get you.’ The tanks are there but they can’t do anything to the people. It is like the utmost rebellion. I think he knew it.
Tik: How did that day compare to other big days in Egyptian history, like the ’73 war, or the’ 52 coup?
Ashraf: I think this the biggest event in our modern history. This is much bigger than’73, ’52, much bigger than the 1919 revolution, and the 1981 revolution. This is a people’s revolution. This is actually much more huge than 1919, the English colonization of Egypt. This is a social revolution of every class in the country against dictatorship, corruption, autocracy, police state.
Nehad: It is against every component of what we’ve been living in. It is like a complete breakdown of the whole make up of our regime, it is the whole makeup of how we’ve been living.
Ashraf: This regime fell down in just 18 days. It is actually like a shot from a pistol. We live in this regime for 30 years and it fell in 18 days.
Nehad: When we heard his speech, all of us had no idea that this would happen the next day. We thought it would go on for months and we were ready for that.
Otis: Yeah, I didn’t think Friday was going to be decisive. We thought it would drag on. The Army really set an amazing precedent. Did didn’t harm a single protester right?
Nehad: No. Not one. Not once. That’s why the only body that we trust is the military. Even when there are a few corrupt senior officers, it is still not a corrupt body. The police have lost total credibility.
Tik: Do you think this revolution will lead to democracy in Egypt?
Ashraf: Yes I do. I think so.
Nehad: Democracy is a very loose word, a complicated process. There is no comparison between the democracy you have and the democracy we have. I mean do you believe that the democracy you have is complete? It is very elastic.
Tik/Otis: No there is no true democracy. It is a broad spectrum.
Nehad: Exactly, but we do know that there is positive change. People have changed, they are no longer scared like they were before the 25th of January. They are motivated, they have a sense of dignity, they have hope. They fought together with each other and I think there will be a lot of positive change. I do not know what we will call it, whether it will be democratic or not but it is definitely better than what we’ve been in. At least for 10-20 years until somebody comes back again haha. At least the president who runs for elections will think twice before he comes on the stage because it is not an easy job. People who have been very patient or not able to patient any longer. People have tolerated their utmost and they are not going to tolerate another tyrant or dictator.
Otis: Do you think something has permanently changed and that the people will not let someone like Mubarak come into power again?
Nehad: Even if somebody deceives us during the election campaign, when the constitution is changed, at least we will have the ability and the strength to not keep him forever.
Ashraf: We must begin with the constitution. The present constitution that ruled Egypt from 1971, gives the presidency many many powers and authorities. It makes the president an autocrat. So we must control the presidency from the constitution itself.
Nehad: So it is we that control the president, not the president that controls us.
Tik: Does the constitution have to be rewritten or can it be amended? Throughout this whole process I have only heard the word amendment. Do you think the whole thing will be rewritten?
Nehad: No rewritten.
Ashraf: Reinvented. No it must be uprooted. They need in these days some amendment in the present constitution to allow some kind of freer election.
Nehad: The next phase is that maybe they must amend it, just to get to the election phase and then they write up a new one.
Ashraf: When you want to throw away a constitution, you must first have a committee, a body politic, to announce that this constitution is over and that it will be replaced by another. This constitutional body must be invented from the present constitution itself, it is a necessary step.
Otis: Is that developing right now?
Nehad: The military have been consulting with the Judiciary. They have already dissolved today the Maglis a-Shaab, the parliament, and the Shura, the Assembly Council.
Tik: They also suspended the constitution.
Ashraf: Yes, but they did not cancel it as a whole.
Nehad: It is not completely out.
Otis: How will the country decide whether or not to overhaul the whole constitution? Can you tell us more about the next step?
Ashraf: A constitutional convention that represents all of the political trends and parties in Egypt. This convention will put in front of it, two other older constitutions, the 1923 one and the 1952 one, because these two were the most liberal and democratic constitutions in the history of modern Egypt. I think that this convention will take many articles from those two constitutions.
Tik: Is the Supreme Council of Armed Forces a different committee than a constitutional committee?
Ashraf: Yes the constitutional committee has not formed yet.
Tik: Who gets invited? Who decides that?
Ashraf: I really don’t know the answer. It seems that nobody in Egypt knows yet. But I think that this commission must represent all parties and all trends in Egypt, all the opposition parties.
Tik: Are there specific people that you want to see on that constitutional council?
Ashraf: Yes, I want to see Kifaya. I want to see April 6th, the youth. I want to see the council of the 25th of January, the revolutionary council. I want to see Marxists, socialists, leftists, and the Muslim Brotherhood. They all must be represented. I also want to see the most trusted and famous judges.
Nehad: They have different backgrounds, some are conservative, some are liberal, some are leftist, some are communist.
Ashraf: We also need someone like Amr Moussa.
Otis: Are there constitutional qualified specialists among all these parties?
Ashraf: Only Amr Moussa. Someone like al-Baridei is a specialist in international law, but he will be useful.
Otis: Ashraf we would be much more confident knowing that you were president.
Ashraf: Haha Egypt will never have a leftist president.
Tik: Who is leading the youth movement? That was another question because April 6th never had one leader so who would represent them?
Nehad: This is complicated, there are so many youth organizations that are working together. Some of them are part of political parties, some of them are independent and some of them are 6th of April. We can see about 5 major young guys. But they made a point of saying nobody is in charge. When asked what parties they belong to, they said, ‘we are here representing youth. We are here as Egyptians. We don’t want the idea of a party’. So even though some are affiliated w/ political parties, when they get together they all insist that they are a body of young Egyptians, which is very healthy. They also said that when they mixed or talked with the opposition parties, the yfound that the older guys, who have been there for over 30 years, they said that their pace was too slow for them, they could not wait for those opposition parties to take the initiative, they do not even have the patience, that’s the beautiful thing about youth, they do not think the slow pace of the older generation is catching up to them. Maybe patient was the wrong word, they are more proactive, they are more proactive, like you guys. Your age is the golden age. On facebook all the time. They do everything fast. You do everything fast. It is a different strategy all together.
Tik: If they want to be represented on this committee they have to ask somebody to go?
Nehad: They were asked something like that yesterday. They were asked to form a party and they refused that. But if they get the chance to be part of the constitution, I think they will be listened to. I’m sure they will eventually select from among themselves. I trust them more than the older guys. These are the ones that died, these are the ones that did it. It is not the older guys that have been talking for years and years and did nothing
Ashraf: I think also that the 25th of January movement or council, has middle class demands, public liberties, releasing reporters, and democracy. They didn’t announce the more just distribution of wealth in Egyptian society. They didn’t demand something like the re-socialization of many of the privately owned projects. They don’t have a clear idea of an economic takeoff of Egypt. They are not economic specialists. They are not politicians, they are not specialists. They’re demands are to get rid of corruption, demands of values and norms. They are very idealistic. They want democracy, freedom, social justice. But they don’t have any idea or clear way of making all of those ideas possible. They are like the French Revolutionaries in the very early days of the French Revolution that demanded equality, fraternity and liberty.
Otis: Being so broadly theoretical, do you think that will make it difficult for their voice to be heard and included in the constitutional convention?
Ashraf: I think that all those ideas must be implemented and put in the new constitution, but they will need much more elaboration, from the experts on constitutional law.
Nehad: Maybe it’s not their job. Maybe it is somebody else’s job, but they should be consulted, acknowledged and recognized.
Tik: What about everyday life, how is that going?
Nehad: I wish you were here. You would have had fun. You would be witnessing the history. We didn’t know how long it would take. Nobody could predict.
Ashraf: We are now the only people in the world w/o police and w/o a president.
Nehad: And it’s lovely! I swear, people smile at one another. The rules are working, because the young guys on the street are looking after the traffic. They are doing the rubbish and it works much better. You go up to the traffic guy and you thank him and give him sweets, or to the trash collector. There is a sense of community.
Ashraf: It is a very nice feeling to find yourself in just a few days being transferred from a very authoritarian, oppressive regime to an anarchic state, to anarchy, a state without police and w/o a president.
Nehad: But it is working, it is looking after itself
Ashraf: Yes, people are very cultured, very disciplined, very protective of each other. It is like a nice anarchy.
Tik: It proved to the people that it wasn’t Egyptian that were authoritarian, it was the regime. It was not an Egyptian thing, it was a Mubarak thing.
Ashraf: Weddings are happening in the morning, not at night. All of the weddings were being held at night, at very late hours from 9 or 10 or 11. But in these days I noticed that many many wedding parties are taking place during the day, from 11 in the morning to 12, to 1, because of the curfew.
Nehad: Though there has been curfew, and the military are on the street, nobody is afraid of the curfew, intimidated by it, though it is a very intimidating word. You can be shot. The people have created a very informal and friendly bond, people do go home relatively later than the curfew, but there is an atmosphere of comfort. People are comfortable.
Ashraf: People love the Army and the Army love the people because the Army is the army of the people. There is a special relationship between us. This is a deeply historical relationship.
Nehad: I hope they stay like that. It is ironic because Mubarak was part of the Army. Nobody is scared of the tanks, they treat them like pets. Ashraf calls them the friendly elephants. It is a very healthy and friendly anarchy. With no police, the youth are enjoying being policemen. People are smiling at each other with ease. People were so high strung, they were stressed and ready to fight each other because they were so frustrated. And despite the economic crises we have had the last couple of weeks, still things are more comfortable. The vendors are still selling their vegetables or fruit. Because they are not giving their taxes to the police, they are happier. There is a lot of sympathy and empathy. It is like a fairy tale I know it will not last forever, but we are enjoying it while it lasts.
Tik: Do people have enough money? The people that weren’t working for two weeks?
Nehad: Some people have not been able to afford going on strike. These people have had to work. I think they have the money. When somebody doesn’t have the money, there is a lot of social welfare. People depend on each other. You know that people don’t have money around you, you go and help them. It is very idealistic but it is not like Egypt is beautiful or anything, there is loads of rubbish and trash. The government responsible for the trash are not out there so people are doing it themselves.
Otis: Are citizens still out at night protecting their neighborhoods?
Ashraf: Not really, the Army is settling in, they are taking the role of the police. The Army has taken control of the streets.
Tik: Is there anybody still protesting?
Nehad: There are a lot of protests all the time. Everyone is protesting against their company.
Ashraf: There are protests from professionals, nuclear engineers, workers in the media, and the policemen themselves.
Nehad: Yes, because, I mean, they are human.
Ashraf: They are demanding higher salaries, they are demanding more social security.
Nehad: but I would have respected them more if they had protested against their own regime, like the guys working in Egyptian TV, they protested against heir seniors because their seniors had been forcing them to say lies. They were against their own image. The policemen were protesting for salary increases. It is different. And the police get a lot of money actually.
Otis: Do you think maybe the policemen were equally as scared of being killed by their superiors, by the internal ministry?
Nehad: On the first day, we had some of the younger officers working with us. And they are our friends from the college. The younger ones that are not very high up are like every day people that just want to live a decent life. The very poor soldiers that you see on all the demonstrations, these are the most trodden; they are the underdogs of society. They couldn’t resist when the young protesters beat them up. They are poor things, we would walk next to them and we would say, ‘hey guys we are fighting for you. You are poorer than anyone else. You shouldn’t be on their side. You should be on our side.’
Tik: Have you talked to my one-on-one econ professor, he was an officer in the Army or the police I don’t know which one.
Nehad: He talked to me and I was a little bit skeptical of him. He is police, like FBI. Like out of nowhere, he phoned and was trying to find out how the protests were doing. And I said, ‘how are you doing, do you know that we feel very bad about you guys and what you have done.’ He said something very subtle or very vague, we are tired of all of this being blamed on us. He said something about a lot of divisions between the police and each other, internally. He might be a good decent guy just like everybody else. He also asked me something else about the media. He was upset with Al-Jazeera. And I told him ‘stop believing Egyptian state TV. Al-Jazeera are not the enemy.’ Because we have been made to believe that in Egypt we have 3 enemies, the Islamic Brotherhood, Al-Jazeera is one of major enemies for some reason. And…
Tik: And Israel? Israel’s always an enemy. Or the US. Foreign influences? You have been made to be scared of foreign influences right?
Nehad: Israel… Israel is different. It’s the state of Israel. Foreign influences yes. And Israel has also been a monster. We’ve always been made to believe that Israel is going to come and eat us up. It’s like a Hitler sort of strategy; Israel is a monster. The Islamic Brotherhood is a monster.
Tik: A few of the kids we lived with in the Medina, in the dorms, they were affected by that propaganda. There were a couple whose facebook status showed their belief in what state television was saying about Israel and the Muslim Brotherhood. Do you think that’s because they were from the countryside, and they are more susceptible?
Nehad: I don’t know. But I do know that me and Ashraf, we are grown ups, we were made to believe that the Islamic Brotherhood are real big monsters. I don’t blame the kids if they also believe in whatever monster has been put into their heads. It’s a strategy. When this revolution broke out, Israel was the one that was so scared. Honestly. We want to tell them we are not interested in having war with you. We have more important things to do. Leave us alone! We do. We have so much to do.
Tik: Are the universities back open or are they still closed?
Ashraf: Not yet, maybe next Saturday.
Tik: Are you guys going to go back to the university? What are your plans?
Nehad: Ashraf is a professor at Alexandria University. I am a Middlebury hire. So I don’t really have a job right now.
Otis: How has your contact been with Middlebury College?
Nehad: They’re great. We’re great. They have plans for the future, for next semester. Though, I wish you had seen what has happened. We didn’t know how dangerous it would be. It’s not like the most stable time in Egypt. You would have been witnessing a lot, but I don’t know how the program really would have been able to go on trips. There’s no tourism at the moment, so I don’t know how the program would have been able to survive. I might be volunteering to teach Egyptian kids (university students) because I want to seize this opportunity. I want to be part of that, even it is just a couple of hours a week. I want to do that. Me and Ashraf are thinking of doing an exhibition, but in the entire faculty if you are interested. We want to have something to honor the martyrs. These are very special moments. We want to dedicate something to those that have lost their lives. We want to acknowledge them as university members, we want our Egyptian and American students whatever, to just participate in something like that, maybe publish something.
Nehad: By the way, when me and Ashraf talk about you guys, we have so much confidence in young people all over the world. You have been doing a very important role, you’ve been part of it.
Nehad: So why are you guys doing all of this?
Tik: I think part of it is definitely just a way for us to stay involved, but also you guys have been saying stuff that people here don’t even think of, it is 10-15 times more useful for me to listen to you guys for 2 seconds, than the news for hours.
Nehad: There’s something I’ve noticed in the American media in general, when they analyzed or dealt with this specific event. It’s trying very hard to actually get to the truth, it is not a one-opinionated media that it usually is. I mean bits and pieces of it were very melodramatic and a little bit biased, but then there’s a lot that’s getting more objective, people that are young and living in the country are writing. The media is generally doing a good job.
Nehad: If it was your country, if this had happened in the states you would be out on the streets like us, I’m sure. Everybody has the same sense of love for their country. It was just one tiny little thing that we could do, and there’s still a lot to do. We want to educate the people. On the protests, we like talking to people. People can tell from the way we dress, from the way we talk, that we have some kind of education. People are eager to know. People ask Ashraf certain questions. So that was our chance to, in a way, educate people that are honest and want to know the truth. So I’m happy that the best times of our lives was in the midst of our people. It was beautiful.
Nehad: Thank you Otis and Tik for taking so much care and concern. I have a lot of faith in the youth in the world. When you get older, something goes wrong. You are not as green, you are not as pure. The people that started pushing this revolution were the youngsters who were very emotional, they didn’t think twice. They didn’t rationalize, they didn’t put it into logic. They just felt it, like faith, like God.
Otis: They still believe in the change.
Nehad: Exactly. Stronger than people like us that continuously analyze. We are cautiously optimistic.
Tik: But that’s important as well, I saw plenty of times during this revolution where the older generation was stopping the youth from doing something stupid, looting, going too far. You guys were crucial during those few days when pro-Mubarak protesters were on the streets, it was interesting to watch, all the stuff we were getting from students was about stopping the protests, and all the stuff from the older generation was saying ‘we need to keep going.’
Nehad: Exactly because the youth are young and emotional and you can work on their feelings. That’s why we were talking to the youth protesters. I hope that people that are a little more sensible, I don’t want to say sensible… older, people that are older see through deception because we are not as innocent and pure as the younger groups.
Tik/Otis: Well you guys will have to be the ones who will have to write this constitution. They aren’t political scientists. The youth have the feelings but they can’t put them into words.
Nehad: I don’t know about the constitution but I do know that we have a role. Sometimes I feel useless just walking and protesting. But when people see us walking, we are part of the middle class, we are educated, we are not conservative. It gives them more stamina. It is not only us youth.
Ashraf: Some people come up to us and ask us ‘who are you, what do you do? What is your job?’ We are representing the middle class.
Nehad: This girl Lana is of Lebanese origin. She is very secular in mentality, and liberal. She went on the street, she had this sign, that said ‘we don’t want a religious state.’ When someone saw her sign and said, oh my god. She started shouting at the people and explaining herself. The people started to pick up what she was saying. So she was educating them. ‘There’s a difference,’ she was saying, ‘It’s not like I’m an atheist, that’s why it’s important for me to be on the streets so that this revolution doesn’t turn into a religious one. So when Lana did this, we were very worried about her because she was so into it. A couple days later, people were picking up what it meant, people were saying, we don’t want an Islamic nation, we don’t want a Christian nation, we want a civil nation.
Ashraf: They were using the exact same words that she wanted the very next day. We don’t Brotherhood, we don’t want parties. These are the simple laymen.
Tik: So do you think that’s what’s going to happen? You are not going to have a religious nation?
Nehad: I don’t know, that’s a very hard one, that’s too hard for me Tik.
Ashraf: I think the goal right now is a democratic state. Some people right now are thinking of a parliamentary constitution and republic, not a presidential republic.
Otis: Do you think Egypt will be stable enough for students to continue studying in?
Nehad: The military has said today that they will be here for 6 months. When elections arrive, I think things will definitely have calmed down. I think people will act very civilized. And we are taking the police back again. The military released a statement something to the effect of, ‘please try to be nice to the police,’ and to the police they said try to commit to your motto, ‘please remember that you are in service of the people.’ And I know that the nature of the Egyptian people is a peaceful one. They will eventually forgive the police. They won’t go and you know… jump on every officer in the street. I am hopeful. I think that by September things will have shaped up. And Jordan will be interesting too. Now it is the time when Jordan is in turmoil. It is there turn. Jordan has a lot of similarity to Egypt. Our political background is similar except that they have a kingdom, we have an autocracy. They have the same relationship with Israel that we do. Economically, they have crises, their prices are much more expensive than they are in Egypt. So I’m seeing a lot of turmoil in Jordan. In Yemen, in Algiers. It is contagious, so I don’t know what exactly Jordan will be like, but Jordan is already not that stable. And Egypt still isn’t but we have passed their stage.