Egyptian revolts cause teacher’s family to flee

By Jean Park

While others were concerned about the political implications of the recent Egyptian revolt, English teacher Jocelyn Madawar was assisting her mother, uncle and sister-in-law escape the riotous country. Medawar’s mother was born in Alexandria and her late father in Cairo, and her family members were in Egypt during the turmoil. They were visiting relatives near Tahrir Square and had also planned a trip to Alexandria and a cruise along the Nile River, but they were met by “something unprecedented,” Medawar said.

“At first, they were expecting a couple of days of protests and traffic, and then they could continue with their plans. Over time … it [became] impossible to leave the apartment since they were so close to the big square,” Medawar said.

Her family members agreed to stay at a hotel near an airport. The cab ride to the hotel “was rather nerve-wracking, according to my mother,” Medawar said. With the internet blocked by the government, it was hard for many travelers to communicate and book flights to any other country. Some airlines suspended flights due to the unrest and civil violence in the country. Medawar and her family members, however, were able to communicate through her uncle’s cell phone and a relative in San Francisco was able to book them an early flight to Milan.

“But those few days were extremely hectic with people crowding both the hotel and the airport. My mother said that just a little more pressure, just a few more people, a little more shouting, and one felt that total chaos could ensue. But that never happened, and they made it to Milan. What concerns us more is that my cousin and aunt had to leave their apartment and get out to a suburb because of gunfire, tear gas, etc. A Molotov cocktail was thrown into the building across the street from theirs,” Medawar said.

Medawar said that her mother, safely back in California, was “thrilled” about the overturning of the Egyptian goverment.

“The protestors are from all segments of the population. They want a life without rigged elections, corruption, 40 percent of a population of 83 million people who live in poverty…many of them uneducated and without the hope of jobs,” Medawar said.