Identity Magazine: Special Coverage – Interview with Ramy Yaacoub #Jan25 #Egypt
Date posted: March 15, 2011
Identity Magazine: Marwa Rakha's Special #Jan25 Revolution Coverage
Ramy Yaacoub – USA
M.A. Candidate, United States Foreign Policy – Middle Eastern Relations
School of International Service, American University
As a Foreign Policy graduate student, I tried to be both involved and uninvolved to better analyze the situation. I wanted to be able to make an objective analysis, while supporting my secular democratic friends who were risking their lives on the ground in Cairo and elsewhere. In the beginning it felt very frustrating to not to be there, but then after the internet/cell phone blockade conducted by the former regime the real value of us, ex-pats, came to light.
The most painful moments:
- Knowing that my grandparents locked themselves in their house in fear of being killed by looters.
- My uncle asking me where I kept my baseball bat because he couldn't fall asleep without something next to him to protect himself with.
- And perhaps most significant, painful, and devastating knowing of friends like Sand Monkey being arrested; I called him as he was being arrested and the officer threatened me on the phone as he told me he will be in with us for a while, and I am going to get you!
The happiest moments:
- The release of detained friends, knowing that they are no longer threatened to disappear behind the sun.
- That my family is safe.
- And the cherry on top, is that the police have clearly been notified by popular voice that harassment is no longer acceptable.
- I am happy that there is actually change happening.
The most important thing I learned is Egypt's finest/golden generation was born between 1975 and 1989. That is the most important thing I have learned. I have learned many new things in technical political analysis, but I will not bore you folks with this stuff 😉
When I think of the future, on a personal level, I am optimistic. On a technical level, I am skeptical. There are many things we should realistically expect; there will be political strife ensuing post the decimation of the veil of fear that dominated the Egyptian society for decades. Cleaning out the corruption will not be as easy as many thing. We are faced with entrenched, intertwined culture of corruption that has, unfortunately, become part of the fabric of society. It will take a long while to clean it out. For this to happen, one right must be protected no matter the costs, and that is the freedom of speech and expression, as long as it does not call for physically harming anyone. Without this right, Egypt will dwindle down the hill it just so valiantly climbed. If Egyptians continue to exercise the wisdom that was shown over the past few weeks in the future, I am confident the ultimate results will be on the brighter side, rather than the dark one.