December 15, 2012

Protests in Egypt hit home for PSU student


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Thousands are protesting in the main streets of Alexandria, Egypt, just 15 minutes away from Aly Zaher’s home.

The SUNY Plattsburgh freshman, 18, will join friends in Cairo to protest next week.

“It’s civil war,” he said.

The ongoing revolution over the proposed constitution has encouraged millions of protesters to swarm into the streets. There are two sides, Zaher said: those supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which backs President Mohamed Morsi, and those fighting against him.

Egyptian President Hosney Mubarak stepped down in the beginning of 2012 following demonstrations and violence; Morsi’s leadership was supposed to bring positive change.

But that didn’t happen, Zaher said.

He expects the Muslim Brotherhood to manipulate the results of the vote to benefit Morsi, even if the majority of the people are against it, because of the corruption in his government.

“It’s the worst thing to ever happen to Egypt,” Zaher said.


Zaher said that right now, the media and the protesters are fighting against the forces of the brotherhood because the new constitution would take away the rights of the common citizen and diminish the balance of power that prevents Morsi from having too much control.

“The Muslim Brotherhood is an organization of people trying to teach people more and more about Islam and to teach people an Islamic tradition. There are a lot of rules in our holy book, rules for everything in our life.”

But the practices of the brotherhood do not relate to what that faith stands for, he said.

“They killed six people. This is not Islam.”

Zaher said the people of Egypt used to think the brotherhood represented something better, but they forgot about their religion after Morsi became president. And they don’t fight for the positions, he said; they just take them.

Supporters of the brotherhood are using guns to overtake media outlets and enforce their control, he said, threatening to arrest or kill people who join the opposition.

Zaher will arrive in Egypt two days after today’s vote but expects the demonstrations will still be ongoing.

He said he is not nervous to go to the streets and voice his opinion, even with the possible violence.

“I’m not going to fight or do the wrong thing,” Zaher said. “We want peace.”