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Youth of the revolution:

When most of us think of Egypt, ancient mummies, treasure-laden tombs, spectacular pyramids and even the ten plagues comes to mind. But recently, Egypt has caught the world’s attention as the call of the people in the street has caused an upheaval in the nation’s established government.

On Feb. 11, President Hosni Mubarak resigned his office as Egypt’s president. Mubarak, whose control of the country had stretched over three decades, stepped down from office after weeks of protests.

Two million Egyptians participated in the protests and strikes that began on Jan. 25. The country’s citizens, pushed to the brink by the autocracy and corruption therein, demanded that changes be made in their government.

Dr. Monir Atta-Alla, Associate Professor of Education in Eastern’s Loeb School of Education, gave a special edition Windows of the World on Feb. 16 to enlighten the Eastern community as to the situations that lead up to the peaceful revolt.

In 2005, Egyptian government officials amended their constitution to include an article that gives power to the president in office to govern the country for an unlimited number of years, and to hand off his position to his sons after him, Dr. Atta-Alla explained. “It is as if he is ruling a kingdom. We don’t see any kind of democracy – the people are oppressed.”

Dr. Atta-Alla praised the young people of Egypt for their courage in making a stand. Repulsed by the situation of government oppression and corruption going on around them, peaceful protests were organized. The students and young adults of Egypt used technology, such as Twitter and Facebook, administered by Google Executive Wael Ghoneim, to organize and plan their actions.

Millions met in Tahrir Square to peacefully protest, calling President Mubarak to resign. Christians and Muslims united for the first time in Mubarak’s regime, as Dr. Atta-Alla explained, “they want to live in peace together.”

Omar Suleiman, recently appointed vice-president of Egypt, was first to publicly mention Mubarak’s intentions of relinquishing power. The president officially left the position and declared to place power in the hands of the military. In six months, the military is to relinquish power, as the people will hold an election to decide their next president.

The United States has had a strong relationship with Egypt in past years, especially because of their alliance with Egypt and the country’s commitment to terrorism prevention.

Concerns arise as to who will gain control of the country, especially as, according to Dr. Atta-Alla, extremist group the Muslim Brotherhood has made it publicly known that they seek to establish a Muslim State.

The goal of the young people who brought on this great change in Egypt is for a civil, democratic state to be established. Dr. Atta-Alla applauded the young people of Egypt, saying, “they can do wonders,” and encourages the Eastern community to continue praying for the future of freedom in Egypt.

Sources: The New York Times, Window of the World with Dr. Atta-Alla

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