Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Building the New Egypt

February 13, 2011

Today is the first day of classes at AUC. Mubarak stepped down Friday at 6 p.m.

We had a fantastic meeting at the Asili Auditorium at the AUC new campus today. President Lisa Anderson presided. Faculty, staff and students were there. Everyone began there comments with "Mabruk!" Everyone referred to the events of the last days as the "Egyptian Revolution." We are thinking it may be referred to as the Tahrir Revolution.

The downtown campus is still closed. AUC is planning on renaming the downtown campus Tahrir Campus.

Everyone who spoke at the meeting began their comments with Mabruk, a joyful greeting conveying happiness at the outcome of the revolution, and meaning congratulations in Arabic. One professor asked how many had participated in the Tahrir Square protests, and 3/4 of the room stood. We held a moment of silence for the martyrs who gave their life for the revolution.

Many faculty and staff, American Egyptian, and other nationalities participated in the protests, AUC will be putting together a retrospective book and video of their experiences.

We had a faculty meeting with journalism, public policy and law. We are going to do a two day teach in about the "way forward." As Dr. Jennifer noted, the question now is shto delat, as Lenin asked. "What is to be done?"

In other news, the citizen militias appear to have dissasembled. During the revolution, groups of about twenty men would sit outside their houses on plastic chairs. The plastic chairs have been stacked up by the guard booth, and the men are no longer gathered at checkpoints. El Rehab is very quiet and pleasant, and the only reminder of the turmoil are the tanks every few miles.

The government, such as it is, is largely close. The Ministry of Interior is not operational. When I arrived I was informed that I needed to register the name of each person living in my house, along with a copy of their passports withing 48 hours. In addition, guests must register as well. Obviously, I did not do that, due to the Revolution. However, I will not be fined for registering late, since the office is not even open.

I spoke to Hamadi and Mamu. Mamu has her Kenyan accent back. She asked why she could not go to the airport with Mommy. . . .

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