For the past week, protestors across Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries have demonstrated against the 30-year regime of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. While Yale faculty and students studying in the country have been forced to evacuate, other students with personal ties to the Middle East shared their reactions about observing the events from afar.

“I feel like it’s about time that a change would come about. If this continues, this can be Egypt’s 1776. I follow what happens [in Egypt] regularly, I’m very closely connected with a lot of Egyptians both in Egypt and in Chicago. I have relatives from my mother’s side and I also have Egyptian friends. Although I’m not there physically, I’m there in spirit. I support their fight for democracy.”

  • Aala Mohamed ’14

“I was surprised. I didn’t see it coming. But it’s really interesting because it was obviously sparked by the Tunisian revolt [in December 2010 and January 2011] that caused their president to leave. I just saw on BBC that Mubarak says he will not ask for another term, so I don’t know, I wonder how sincere his commitment is, we’ll see what happens. I’d be interested to know what this will mean for the rest of the Arab world. One of the most fabled dictatorships in the world has been shaken in a matter of weeks, so it’ll be interesting to know how this will spill over into countries like Syria, Jordan and others where you also have various dictatorships.”

  • Faizaan Kisat ’12

“I’m Egyptian, so I have a lot of family in Egypt. It was kind of hard because they cut the Internet and cell phone service in the area. We’ve been trying to stay in touch with them, not [for fear of the government] but for fear of the opportunistic mob that’s going around. Some of my cousins and friends are part of the protests, which is scary, but they wanted to take a stand and they did.”

  • Joyce Saad ’14

“I have been following [the situation] through a reporter based in Egypt, Lara Setrakian, whom I know personally. I’ve been following her tweets and her live blog. She’s the Middle Eastern correspondent for Bloomberg, and she’s giving an interesting and unbiased take on what’s happening. Saying, ‘Ok, Mubarak just said this in Tahrir Square, and this is what the people are saying back to him.’

“I’m also trying to see the situation from the perspective of other Arab countries now, because I live in the United Arab Emirates and I’m quite speculative about whether this wave of democracy will go over to the UAE. Its interesting from my perspective because I’ve always thought of the Arab world as a place that’s pretty much monarchies and not democracies. Now there’s kind of like a full-fledged revolution [in Egypt]. If there’s a time that should happen, it should be now. The Arab world has come so far. If you look at cities like Dubai, Qatar, they’ve reached out so far to the Western world that influences have come in. There are going to be transitions that will continue to spread across the Middle East.”

  • Aahan Bhojani ’14