Egypt in state of emergency

Egypt’s citizens continue to protest the country’s policies, leading the government to declare a national state of emergency in late January.

Violence from protests has claimed the lives of more than 60 people in the region.

“Continuing political strife could cause the collapse of the state and threatens the country’s future generations,” Egypt Military General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi told the BBC.

Three cities exhibiting the most unrest — Port Said, Suez and Ismailiyah — were each assigned a curfew in an effort to curb the chaos.

Still, many residents defied the night- time curfew and continued to protest throughout the evening hours.

According to Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies Amal Khoury, this violence is not a new, isolated incident but can be traced back to the Arab Spring of 2011 when then President Hosni Mubarack’s government was toppled by Egyptian citizens. In 2012, Mohammed Morsi was elected to replace Mubarak.

Egyptians have since expressed dissatisfaction with Morsi, his Muslim Brotherhood – based government, and his policy, the BBC reported.

“After forcing Mubarak from office, the Egyptians were hoping for change and democracy,” said Max Carter, director of the Friends Center and campus ministry coordinator.

“They feel they haven’t gotten that from Morsi and simply replaced one dictator with another.”

Senior Sara Hussein, a student of Egyptian descent, said that during Morsi’s term to date, he “managed to make it clear that he is only interested in consolidating power in the hands of (the) Islamic Brotherhood and not interested in solving people’s problems.”

Amir Abedrabo, a former Guilford student now living in Palestine agreed.

“Morsi has done nothing to improve the (life of the) average citizen; on the contrary, poverty, illiteracy and crime rates have all gone up, along with unemployment,” said Abedrabo in an email interview.

The citizens and Egyptian government cannot seem to come to consensus on the next course of action, making the prospect of peace a distant one, the BBC reported.

Mohamed ElBaradei, who leads the opposition’s National Salvation Front, insists that Morsi make concessions before agreeing to talks. ElBaradei aims to “take urgent steps to stop the violence and start a serious dialogue,” Al-Jazeera reported.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies Jeremy Rinker hopes for an end to the fighting but sees obstacles in its path.

“There is no easy answer,” said Rinker. “There are so many underlying issues fueling this uprising that finding a solution is very difficult. Egypt could employ a third party to help sort out the issues.”

It is likely that violence and protests will continue in the region until the Egyptian government compromises with its people.