Despite the mass anti-government protests that have persisted for the past ten days, calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's president of over three decades, it appears that the Egyptian nation is not as dichotomous in its pro/anti-government stances as it may appear.
When asked to comment on the current chaotic Egyptian reality, many civilians reveal that they are afraid for both their safety and their livelihood, prioritizing stability and normalcy over a regime change.
Ragab Abdel Hamid Mansour, a 48-year-old boat owner on the banks of the Nile said "The protests have brought my work to a standstill. My work depends on tourists, and there aren't any tourists coming anymore. Everyone is afraid. I want those protests to end now and even not tomorrow. I can't live. I can't even find a loaf of bread."
The protests have made day to day living near impossible. Amira Hassan, a 55-year-old teacher lamented, "I can't carry on with my ordinary life. I can't even go to my dentist because his clinic is downtown. I want this to end so that I can go to work. It makes no difference to me now whether Mubarak stays or leaves. I just want to see security back on the streets so that I can go on with my life."
Many have been unable to work and often even doctors cannot reach patients for medical emergencies. Ahmed Naguib, a 48-year-old doctor said, "I can't work anymore. Last night, one of my patients was in labor, and I couldn't reach her at all. For how long will this
Mobility has also become an issue as protests span and overtake the city. Sayed Ibrahim, a state employee said "My work has been closed since the protests broke out. I did not take part in any of the protests, but they are affecting my life. Tahrir Square is in the heart of Cairo, and it connects the entire city with each other, and that's why the protests make it difficult for any one to move."
Although Mubarak's 30-year rule has been described as both authoritarian and brutal, many Egyptians seem to feel that stability overrides the lack of democracy in the disputed leader's regime. "I want Egypt's stability back, and that's why I want Hosni Mubarak to stay, " said Mohamed Abdel Razeq, a 38-year-old state employee. "He gave us stability."
Despite widespread Western and Israeli fears that a regime change in Egypt will lead to a radical Muslim leadership, many Egyptians desire otherwise. Raga Mahmoud, a 35-year-old marketing executive related, "I saw a lot of reports all over and many of the people are saying enough protests are not pro Mubarak. They just want security and life back…I don't trust that if Mubarak leaves the Muslim Brotherhood won't try to take over. We need time to elect someone like Amr Moussa (the head of the Arab League). If Mubarak leaves now, which some say he could do tomorrow, then who knows what will happen."
He continued, "the Muslim Brotherhood are making interviews left and right ... I'm worried about the Islamist movement happening now in Tunisia that was once more liberal than Egypt and their leader is supporting the Brothers in Egypt. Mubarak only has a couple of months left and I too want him to leave with some pride not when the international government says he must go."
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