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February 5, 2011

Egypt a 'textbook uprising' says Elmasry

Luisa D’Amato

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Dr. Mohamed Elmasry of Waterloo has seen the Egyptian police attacking the pro-democracy demonstrators with rubber bullets and tear gas. And this week he also walked among those demonstrators, including families and children, who want to remove President Hosni Mubarak, as they assembled in Cairo's Tahrir (Liberation) Square.

“It was a beautiful scene, very peaceful,” he said in an interview Friday on his return to Canada.

“This is a textbook case of a popular uprising against a dictatorship,” he said.

And if the protesters are successful, and bring about a democratic government, “that will have a ripple effect across the Arab world.”

Elmasry, professor emeritus of computer engineering at the University of Waterloo, and founder of the Canadian Islamic Congress, was in Cairo for conferences when the uprising happened.

He is very optimistic for the prospects of reform in his native country.

“This is the first time in Egyptian history that youth are taking the initiative and making this popular movement,” Elmasry said.

The regime didn’t listen to the opposition parties when they asked for reform, but now that there is a widespread popular movement, reform is inevitable, he said.

“Mubarak will leave,” Elmasry said.

One sign that Mubarak’s power is declining is that the police are no longer in evidence. Individuals are guarding their own homes and businesses, he said.

On his way to the airport this week, Elmasry saw busloads of pro-Mubarak protesters heading for Cairo.

Elmasry is on the editorial board of The Canadian Charger, an online magazine, where some of the video he took in Cairo can be viewed.

He said he is disappointed by the Canadian government’s response to the uprising.

Instead of calling for Mubarak to leave, the federal government has said it is up to the Egyptian people to determine their own destiny.

“This is a cop-out,” Elmasry said.

Elmasry has uploaded videos shot in Egypt during the protests to and to his facebook page.

Luisa D’Amato, Record staff, Sat Feb 05 2011

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