Life in Egypt: Coping with Political Unrest

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Egyptians are under curfew and under the worst violence and political bloodletting in years. Through it all, ordinary Egyptians are just trying to carry on with daily life. Some struggle to find food. Some no longer have jobs to go to. Today we check in on how ordinary Egyptians are coping.



Personal lives in upheaval

From Suez to Alexandria, security forces waged battle with supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi Morsi and anti-coup demonstrators. As you may have heard in the news--a number of police officers have been killed in the Sinai. All of this-- as Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood calls for a fresh wave of marches.

But Egypt's Military leader General Abdel Sisi sounded calm and assured yesterday when he made this statement in a national, televised speech:

"The Egyptian people are free to choose whom they want to rule them. And we are the protectors of this free will. The army and the police are now the defenders of people's free will to chose their leaders. This is the truth!"

Egypt's Military leader General Abdel Sisi

It is unclear whether the Muslim Brotherhood will be outlawed all together. The cabinet is expected to meet later this week to make a decision.

ordinary-ppl-egypt-250px.jpg

Egyptian army soldiers on guard near Cairo's
Tahrir Square. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Meanwhile, the situation on the ground remains tense, and Canadians have been caught up in the violence. A doctor and a professor from Toronto's York University - are confirmed to be detained by Egyptian police. We don't know exactly when or why they were arrested.

And at least one Canadian resident has died. Amr Kassem was 26 years old. He lived in Toronto. This summer, he travelled to Egypt for a family vacation with his wife, Asmaa Hussein, and their nine month daughter. His wife says Amr was shot in the head on Friday.

Since last Wednesday, upwards of a thousand people have died as a result of political unrest in Egypt.

  • Sharif Abdel Kouddous joined us from Cairo to give us an update on the situation in Egypt to. He is an Egyptian-American and a correspondent for Democracy Now.

To get a sense of how Egyptians are coping through the political unrest, we spoke to three Egyptians.

  • Ingy Gad works at the Alexandria Public Library. She joined the crowds at the democracy demonstrations right up until last month. She was optimistic about the country's future -- and her own. She hopes to get married in October, but is now having trouble making plans since the curfews have shut everything down. She was in Alexandria.

  • Marium Amgad is a elementary school teacher in Cairo. For five days she has been almost wholly confined to her home, leaving only for brief trips to the store, one hour at a time.

  • Amin Abou Hashem is a recent graduate of the American University in Cairo. He struggles with the chaos on a day-to-day basis ... the threat of violence is right outside his front door.

Our next guest is interested in how the recent violence has affected the outlook of Egyptians, his organization has been polling Egyptians to try to better understand how they feel about their country following the revolution:

  • Magued Osman is the managing director of Baseera, an Egyptian center for public opinion research. He was also the Minister of Communication and Information Technology in Egypt's caretaker government following the resignation of Hosni Mubarak.

This segment was produced by The Current's Vanessa Greco, Jess deMello and Theresa Burke.

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