This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Photo credit: Courtesy D.C. Mungo

Egypt Through the Eyes of an Alumnus Who Was There

When David “D.C.” Mungo ’10 – recipient of a 2010 Ann Cornelisen Fellowship for Language Study Abroad – headed to the Arabic Language Institute of the American University in Cairo for five months of study, the History major and Arabic minor was in proverbial heaven. Then, on January 25, one day before his scheduled departure for Damascus, Syria, the revolution broke, and Mungo’s experiences in Egypt suddenly took on an entirely new perspective.

He chronicled the unfolding events in a series of Twitter and Facebook updates, and offered his subsequent reactions in a lengthier post on Blogger. The result, interpolated here, is a unique window into the uprising and overthrow of Hosni Mubarak’s regime through the eyes of one Vassar alumnus.

[Blogger] The Egypt I left was not the same one in which I arrived…

[Twitter] Jan 25 – Big day of protests all over Cairo today echoing Tunis. Don’t think it’s going to be as pivotal as some expect, but gonna keep low anyway.

[Blogger] Cairenes...marched to the major square in downtown, Midan Tahrir (pictured)...to face water canons, tear gas, batons, rocks, rubber bullets and the threat of arrest... Thanks to this merciless security apparatus, Mubarak has held onto power through a mixture of fear and complacency... on that first day of protests, I was still pessimistic about the protestors’ chances.

[Facebook] Jan 25 - Good luck today, Egypt.

[Twitter] Jan 25 – The News sources are conspicuously and I would say embarrassingly quiet on all this.

[Blogger] ...news sources – including even Al Jazeera – were remarkably silent about Egypt’s protests on their first day... Some news outlets reported for a while that they were protesting corruption, unemployment, bureaucratic incompetence, and the thirty-year-old emergency law allowing charge-less arrests, but really the Egyptians that came out were protesting one thing and one thing only: Hosni Mubarak.

MungoOne day later, on January 26, Mungo left for Syria, but continued to follow the events – and his friends in Cairo – closely.

[Facebook] Jan 28 - For the rest of Egypt, I wish so much I were there with you...

[Twitter] Jan 29 – Woke up yesterday morning seriously considering buying a plane ticket to Cairo. Why did I leave??

[Blogger] I became aware of this strange love for a city I lived in for only five months...

After 18 days of protests and 3 decades of iron-fisted leadership, Mubarak steps down as a President of Egypt. That same day, Vassar faculty and hundreds of students participate in an on-campus teach-in event on the topic.

[Twitter] Feb 11 – Wow. Just wow.

[Blogger] ...the Arabic name for Cairo, al-qahira...means “victor.” I think the Egyptian people’s dedication and devotion...carries within the recipe for an Egyptian future that will hold onto [the] optimistic idealism that induced them to keep their protests peaceful... – Compiled by PB

March 2011


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