Students, faculty respond to Mubarak transfer of power

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    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Thursday he was transferring power to his vice president, Omar Suleiman, but would not leave the country, according to the Associated Press.

    Mubarak said in a nationally televised address Thursday that the demands of protesters calling for his immediate ouster are just and legitimate. He said he had requested six constitutional amendments, answering one of the demands of the protesters. He said he would lift emergency laws when security permitted.

    Mubarak also vowed to punish those behind violence over the past two weeks and offered condolences to the families of those killed.

    Hanan Hammad, assistant professor in the Department of History and Geography and who was born in Egypt, wrote in an e-mail that Mubarak stepping down was great, but if the military continued to take over, the situation will become problematic.

    “I believe people want to get rid of the entire regime, constitutional and civilian democracy,” Hammad wrote.

    The movement taking place in Egypt currently comes as a surprise to Hammad, she wrote.

    “Initially, I did not expect it would continue,” she wrote. “The revolution did not only challenge Mubarak and his regime, it succeeded in bringing all Egyptians, men and women, Muslim and Christians, from all generations, together.”

    Hammad wrote that her wish was for democracy, social justice, stability and peace to come to all people in Egypt as well as the Middle East.

    Another one of Hammad’s wishes, safety for her friends and family still in Egypt, has already been granted, she wrote.

    Her family lives in a town called al-Mahalla al-Kubra that has been a hotbed for the revolutionary movement. Despite the disruptions going on in the town, Hammad wrote that her family is very safe and has nothing to worry about.

    “The news about chaos and looting has been exaggerate[d] by Mubarak’s propaganda to scare people inside and outside of Egypt,” she wrote. “But I have to say my mom told me my niece is a bit scared and crying because of the unprecedented protests.”

    Most of Hammad’s friends are currently in al-Tahrir, the center of the protests, and she wrote she was moved by their efforts.

    “I’m very proud of my friends who sacrificed their jobs in the state TV and media and joined the protest,” she wrote. “As far as I know, they are all fine.”

    The same is to be said for the family and friends of junior communication studies major Luther Wilson.

    Wilson was born in Houston but spent the majority of his middle school and high school years in Egypt, he said. He said he was at ease because he knew his loved ones were safe and out of Egypt for the time being.

    “A lot of my Egyptian friends fled to Europe, and my family is in Houston,” Wilson said.

    Wilson said he was able to get a better understanding of the events from the many stories his family brought back with them before their evacuation.

    “When they were going to the airport, they said they saw Uzis and tanks in the neighborhood,” he said. “At nighttime, they could hear explosions and machine guns going off.”

    Wilson, a rapper that goes by the alias J.Quest, plans on using the events going on in Egypt to educate his listeners in the future, he said.

    “When people look at me, they don’t expect me to say I’m from Egypt,” he said. “I just want to enlighten people that Egyptian people have the same wants and needs as you and me.”