LearnServe Egypt Exchange Seizes Moment of Opportunity

The Washington Diplomat, September 2011
By Jacob Comenetz 

On Jan. 25, the “Day of Rage” that sparked the Egyptian revolution and the demise of President Hosni Mubarak, Omar Abdel-Maksoud, a mechanical engineering student at the British University in Cairo, received a Facebook invitation to “join the revolution” in Tahrir Square.

Clicking “maybe,” he called a friend who had already joined the tens of thousands of protestors thronging the square. Hearing that not much yet was actually happening, Abdel-Maksoud told the friend he would call back later. He had to get ready for a trip to Turkey in any case.

Like many young Egyptians, Abdel-Maksoud expected the protests, a recurring facet of life in Cairo, to die away. During the week he was away, the protests did the opposite: they escalated. He watched the fighting in the streets unfold on Al Jazeera. People were being brutalized for trying to assert their rights. Abdel-Maksoud knew then that nothing could make them go back.

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