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Alexandria, February 6th 2011 and then…?

The people of Egypt are experiencing yet another twist in history in these critical days, and next to them all of us who stay by their side, hoping that a new day Egypt will rise, democratic, progressive and ready to take on, in a peaceful manner, a more important and leading role in the Middle East.

Recently, we went through difficult times, touching moments. We were called to protect our families, our fellow citizens and our homes from criminals who had escaped from prisons. In this “battle” we have always had the support and love of the Egyptian people, who through this havoc, did whatever was possible to remove the troublemakers by creating a militia, in order to protect its valuable cultural heritage, such as the Library of Alexandria, mosques and churches, social benefit foundations and more.

The moments, the days we are experiencing are unprecedented, we live and experience intensely modern Egyptian history “unfold” and the change on the map in Middle East, along with our brothers, the Egyptians.

We strongly feel the heat from this boiling cauldron, eagerly awaiting social reforms, trying to think, to guess, the results of this major revolution of history and classes, or rather the youth movement in Egypt.

Once again, in this world we live in, youth plays a very decisive role. And so in here, the spirited youth of Egypt, took the reins in their hands and began what one would not dare think.

Claiming freedom of speech, press, social freedoms, equal treatment for all the people of Egypt, boldly and decisively, knowing all problems, ignoring dangers.

They marched forward, with their love for their homeland as a shield, turned their dream into a veil of protection from tear gas and rubber bullets, from the violence inflicted on them, but did not manage to discourage them.

The most prominent peril will be, in case some try to take the reins from their hands…then what? Have they not yet comprehended those who “rule” the earth, that the people of Egypt are also a great nation? With feelings, bravery, but also great respect?

Their respect is an entire “religion” to the people of Egypt, they have learned (and us being on their side), to respect their friend but also their enemy.

They present behavioral examples in this moment, in their prayers to God, they ask for more time, to make their history, they ask to “bury” their “dead” on their own, re-establishing the international respect towards their country.

They do not tolerate a foreign “Here and Now” call, to change their history, as they want to build their own tomorrow, something which they had been expecting for thirty years.

Both those who are in favor of Mubarak solution and those who are against, agree that they do not need foreign intervention on the internal matters of the country.

The demostrations, initiated through youth, organized through the use of social media, were followed by events which led to this movement being out of control. The protests have a clearly defined class character and we even witnessed Christians and Muslims protesting together, holding placards bearing the symbols of both religions.

The role of the Copts, who are 12-13 million in total, seems to be neutral, they do not participate, however they express themselves and follow the developments in agony.

The day before yesterday, with the prayer on Friday, was critical in showing how many were in favor of Mubarak’s solution and how many were against and which solution will eventually prevail.

He himself states that he wants to leave his position in dignity, that he does not intend to abandon Egypt, that he wishes to die in his homeland. He asks for more time for a smooth transition to democracy in Egypt. The calmer voices are calling the people of Egypt to accept this solution, since two contentious articles of the Constitution “depicting” the next president have been changed, ensuring that free elections will be taking place in September.

Mubark made it also clear that he will never be a candidate again, nor his son.

Financial losses, as a result of the rebellion are huge, everything had been halted, investors are worried, Egypt is losing millions of pounds on a daily basis and the countdown has began for the country’s economy.

The people of Egypt however, continuing to protest in favor of Mubarak’s removal do not seem to be convinced. These people are not violent, they are peaceful and calm, but they were had to resort to this extreme and unpredictable situation, claiming their dignity.

The Greek authorities in Egypt are on standby, in case a second evacuation of the country is needed, after the repatriation of 150 Greeks who mainly came from groups in need. Coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, diplomatic authorities but also the communities of Alexandria and Cairo, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Demetris Dollis, but also the support of the Association of Greeks from Egypt were exemplary.

Hellenism in Egypt went through many hardships the past decades, experiencing three wars in 1956, 1967 and 1973, as well as several rebellions, nonetheless managing to keep their head high, continuing to live next to their brotherly nation, the people of Egypt. We feel, during all these years, and continue to feel, a sense of protection provided not only by the state but also our fellow citizens, which is something we strongly experience during the difficult days we are going through. Those of us who have remained, do not feel comfortable, but we cannot do otherwise. Our conscience will not let us go and leave our senior fellow community members in the old people’s home, our lives, foundations and our history. For a series of generations we peacefully live with all these people, we cannot be with them only during joyous times, but also in situations like this, when the history of Egypt is undergoing change, when correlations in the Middle East are changing.

I would personally like to participate, to experience on a daily basis what is happening in Egypt, my life is in Egypt, my soul is in Greece.

I am in favor of a peaceful solution and we also pray along with them to end this story today and in the best possible way.

Following the media, we realize that the people of Egypt managed to do something more, something which other people may have not been able to do… affecting the Mass Media with their feelings and greatness, as well as their strong faith in a better tomorrow.

Today, slowly, Alexandria is regaining its everyday pace, banks are operating, businesses are working, and the market is “awakening”. During lunch with the President of the Greek Community of Alexandria at Alexandria Greek Yacht Club, discussing the developments with a few community members, I was watching the seagulls fly over the tranquil waters of the blue sea.

I saw them being “sad”, wondering what they may have seen or heard from above, which saddened them so deeply?

Perhaps they saw and heart Egypt “crying”….
Stefanos P. Tamvakis, 6th February afternoon 2011.


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