Local Egyptians weigh-in on unrest overseas

By: Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Getting in touch with anyone living in Egypt right now is no easy task. One woman says she's learned citizens everywhere in the country are fearful as the situation continues to unravel. She's hoping her family's sacrifices will be worth it in the end.

Dina El-Mahdy's sister, brothers and cousins are struggling in Cairo, a capital now in crisis. She lived there for 28 years of her life. Her sentiments now are a powerful statement.

"If I were in Egypt right now and something would happen to me I would jump in the street among protestors and choose to be dead. To die instead of live this life forever," El-Mahdy said.

She speaks from experience. El-Mahdy came to America to escape President Mubarak's regime. She tells me she understands the protestors. She says there was no opportunity for growth, no chance to become something more.

"Things have been very bad in terms of political, social, economic and people complain all the time," she said. "I used to complain all the time to resist the regime."

She's now earning her PHD in accounting at VCU so that task is left to her family. She describes them as struggling through a situation that's going from bad to worse.

"Sometimes you have to buy food and sometimes stores and shops are closed," she said. "My brother is joining team of neighbors. They are parking in the street, camping in the street, eat, sleep, protecting the neighborhood this is not life."

Other hindrances in that life include the government's block of cell and Internet service, which caused El-Mahdy to panic.

"It was really horrible moments. I never know what happened to my sister," she said. "Of course I love her so much, she's my only sister. I feel so bad."

Especially now that she's wondering if protestors will achieve true change, something she says Mubarak's new cabinet, is not.

"It's a big mess," she said. "People are scared everywhere."

Other people we spoke to said the block of social media was very frustrating. Nowadays many keep in touch through Facebook and Twitter and the lack of those systems caused panic.

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