SJSU students react to violent Egyptian uprisings

A week of protests all across Egypt continues as thousands of citizens fight to overturn the political regime of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who has been in office since 1981.

Colloquially being reported as the “Arab Spring,” the Egypt protests come at a time where uprisings and political changes are happening all throughout the region — from Tunisia to Somalia, the face of North Africa is changing.

“I’ve been so busy getting geared up for the semester that I haven’t really talked about it much [with my friends],” said Julie Kasomo, senior political science major. “We’ve talked more about Sudan than Egypt.”

The resources-rich southern region of Sudan voted 99 percent in favor of succession from the military-centered and capital-rich north.

“There’s always been unrest in Africa,” Kasomo said. “Africa is a high resources area and a lot of conflict is due to resources.”

In the past two weeks, other parts of northern Africa and the Middle East have also seen conflict. From the collapse of the Tunisian government, to similarly violent tumult in Jordan, Yemen and Lebanon, Africa is a place of unrest.

“We put up a banner yesterday with links to sites with information,” said Sadika Sulaiman, Mosaic Cross Cultural Center Interim Director. “It’s important that people’s voices are heard and their needs are met.”

Sulaiman said she is concerned about the situation, but the center has no plans to discuss these recent events. The center would support a discussion if someone wanted to lead one, and said that students should want to know what’s happening around the world.

“Being busy doesn’t absolve the responsibility to know about what happens internationally,” she said. “Often times it affects our neighbors and those in our community.”

In San Jose, The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum has housed Egyptian artifacts and replicas since the 1920s.

“We haven’t a lot of contact with our friends in Egypt right now,” said Julie Scott, the Executive Director of museum.

According reports by the Associated Press and Egyptian government the military has been deployed to protect monuments and museums like the pyramids at Giza which provide much of the national revenue for Egypt.

Mubarak has announced that he will not run for re-election, but refuses to step down. Egyptian protesters say that their week of activism will continue until their president leaves.

“The uprising is a good thing,” said Civil Engineering major Senior Bashir Ali. “Anyone that gets rid of dictators is doing a good thing. But you need a transition.”

Ali, originally a native of Somalia, fled the country with his family in 1992 after a civil war. He says that Somalia isn’t strong today because it lacked transition after its revolution.

It is speculated that Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei will soon become the President of Egypt, but Ali has serious doubts.

“He hasn’t [lived in] Egypt for 20 years,” Ali said. “Let Hozni finish his term and then transition to something new.”

Mubarak has already replaced his prime minister and vice president in hopes of quelling the uprising to no effect. Ali said the people are clearly upset.

“There has to be a leader and government chosen by the people,” Ali said. “Democracy could exist, but it would not be the same format as America. Malaysia’s managed to make their own Muslim version of democracy work.