Mubarak Refuses To Step Down, Md. Egyptians React

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It was not what they wanted to hear. Thousands of Egyptians gathered in Cairo expecting to hear their president announce his resignation. Instead, Hosni Mubarak told them he’s not going anywhere yet.

Gigi Barnett has more with local Egyptians who say they’re angry.

They are here in America because they left Egypt for the same reasons people are protesting in Cairo.  Now the local Egyptian community is disconcerted as they learn Mubarak is staying in power.

“It’s been terrible for 30 years,” said Mona Elmetwally, Egyptian American. “People are oppressed.  Nobody can express himself.  And we thought we had a taste of freedom finally, but it’s not happening.”

Up until Thursday afternoon, they thought the revolution was working.

“I started texting my kids and my husband and saying, ‘He’s stepping down.’ And we were so happy,”   Elmetwally said.

But when Mubarak and the vice president started talking, it was clear that victory is still in the distance.

So now that power is going to the VP, will things change?

“He and him are the same,” said  Ashraf Rashwan, owner of Koko Market in Highlandtown.

“You need to change everything,” said Hassan Mahfouz, Egyptian. “We don’t trust these people. ”

Mahfouz didn’t want to show his face on camera. He says he was held in jail for no reason while in Egypt.

“I’m lucky. They held me for three days.  Some people they hold for five, six years,” Mahfouz said.

The worried Middle Eastern community hears from family online and gathers to talk about what may happen next.

“Until they heard that nobody’s going to go nowhere, that’s what I feel,” said Tariq Gelel.

“I think he’s trying to trick the army to do something with the people,” Elmetwally said.

One Iraqi man who lived under Saddam Huessein commiserates.

“I would just like to tell them that they have to be patient. Victory will come.  And this brutal dictator will eventually disappear,” he said.

Stay with WJZ for complete coverage of the crisis in Egypt.

More from Gigi Barnett
  • rdthomas1999

    “Mubarak Refuses To Step Down, …” Really? Of course he does. Dictators don’t just leave. They have to be forcibly expelled or killed. Allegedly already a billionaire, but he’s not done looting his own country. Why leave anything behind for your people other than misery and ruin​?

  • Jim

    I am glad I am not in the President’s shoes or in the shoes of Secretary of State Clinton. This is surely a situation that can get of control quickly. It was believed that Mubarak was going to resign his post and go away. Instead he shocked all of his citizens of Egypt when he announced he was not stepping down from his position. All the Presidents from over thirty years have supported the power structure in Egypt. Once again our government is walking a fine line that could end either in success or failure. We once more stand at the brink of a situation that could end with disaster in the Middle East. I suggest the President walks carefully and to carry a big stick, which the first President Roosevelt did when a firestorm was brewing in Cuba at the turn of the century. We need to pray for Guidance from the Creator of this Universe.

    • Robin

      Why is this our problem? This Country has enough of it’s own problems. Let these other Country’s work their own problems out themselves. We don’t need to pray, we need to mind our own business for once.

  • Elwood

    Dear Egypt,


    Here is why I think waiting for 6 months may not be such a bad idea:

    First of all let me say that our hearts go out to you as we read about you in our newspapers and watch you on our screens. The meaning of the sounds your voices, though articulated in a different language, comes across loud and clear–you have had enough, you have had more than enough of your share of injustice, oppression, and inequity…and after decades of dictatorship, the time has come for change.

    We understand your struggle for a better life. We understand how you, your family and your friends have been mistreated–your basic human rights trampled on. But while you experience the emotional high of this moment of “people power,” and anticipate the approaching conclusion of this conflict with your government, I hope that you remember what is at stake here, and realize what the cost of this turmoil will be to your society as it moves forward.

    Remember that the goal of your jihad is more than just an ouster of a dictator and his corrupt regime. This is not the end-point of your struggle. Remember that ultimately, the prize for your labor is a higher quality of existence, through a better system of government, measured by the presence of peace and happiness.

    Achieving this goal, as you already realize, will not come without cost–and you have already begun to pay for it. What is the price tag for an immediate transition of power? The answer in one word: Instability. Think of these questions as you forge your future in the fires of this unrest. Can you afford the months, maybe years, of uncertainty in the governments ability to deliver even the most basic of services to your homes? Can you afford the insecurity of your cities, towns and borders? Can you afford living with an unsteady and fluctuating income? As you toss out Hosni Mubarak from political power, you need to be careful that the basic services of government do not get thrown out as well.

    Furthermore, as you consider the fundamental aims of your revolution and the obstacles you will have to overcome on your journey towards your idea of eusociality, have you had a chance to inspect the possible candidates for replacing Hosni Mubarak? We know that anyone connected with the current regime is tainted with the past, so will the new president truly represent the ideals you are fighting for? Or will this person and their administration turn out to be a disappointment for your movement?

    Egypt, I recognize the legitimacy of your struggle, concomitant with that, I want to urge you to be cognizant of what it is that you really want to see happen in your country, and the path you are willing to take to get there. Consider especially, extending the transition period for change. This will allow some time for the formation of a new and improved government system without the power-vacuum induced instability that an immediate exit will cause. Waiting for Mubarak to finish his term in six months this September does not seem like a bad idea when you consider the larger picture of the history of your civilization.

    As you dictate your demands to your dictator today, and as you hear the cheers of encouragement from your neighbors around the world harmonizing with your own voice of discontent and dissent, I hope you realize how vital it is for the stability of your future that reason and patience prevail over passion and a sense of immediacy. It would be a real shame to see in the news six months from now of a nation in dire straits, its premature democracy floundering, and its society in critical need for some sort of external intervention by a more developed, more powerful, foreign-based democracy.

    Best wishes.

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