We heard the faint ringing of gunshots from Mohammed Mahmoud street, and the panicking sound of stampeding feet, as we stood safely in Tahrir square.
We knew that those on the front lines were the ones putting their lives at risk to protect protesters and curious onlookers occupying the square. As we breathed in wisps of teargas at the field hospital, we saw a steady stream of wounded coming in from side streets where clashes still raged.
Director of Public Safety Mahmoud Zouk finally agreed to meet with The Caravan for an interview which helps answer the many questions raised by the student body since the strikes earlier this semester.
The Caravan sat down with renowned political scientist Norman Finkelstein during his trip to Cairo for a one-on-one interview where he candidly shared his views on the Third Intifada, Obama and the future of the Arab World. Edited excerpts below:
You are here obviously at a very critical time in the Arab World and there are all of these changes going on, so generally speaking how do you feel this so called Arab Spring is going to impact the Palestinian struggle?
It is not just the impact on the Palestinian struggle, it is an historic event, you know. Everybody who participated has participated in an historic event, part of history. I think September 11 will be forgotten much faster than the Egyptian revolution, so it is a stirring moment for all humanity People saying that, it is not just about Hosni Mubarak and Suzy Mubarak, but ordinary people, simple people, that they also are somebody. It is a thrilling thing to behold. [...]
The Caravan’s investigation into the recent theft of antiquities has revealed that in a period spanning several decades AUC faculty and officials collected more than 1,600 artifacts described by Egyptology experts to be ‘of no great significance’ in value.
(Six suspects have been arrested in the theft of the antiquities stored below Ewart Hall - click here)
Ironically, the theft of some of these items brought to light the previously unknown cache stored beneath Ewart Hall.
Renowned Egyptologist and professor emeritus Kent R. Weeks told The Caravan that “the objects in Ewart Hall were acquired by then-President Richard Pederson, who for some reason thought it would be nice to have a teaching collection of antiquities on campus.”
What began as a ramshackle uprising on February 17 in Libya, 34 days after the ousting of former Tunisian president Ben Ali and six days after former Egyptian president Mubarak resigned, has quickly become another Arab country on the brink of revolution.
The day the world drops International Women’s Day from its list of celebrations is when gender equality becomes a reality. But for now, March 8 serves as a continual reminder of the long road ahead. In an unfortunate and saddening incident, a ‘Million Woman March’ held in Tahrir Square last week was sabotaged by Egyptian men and women, screaming at protesters to forgo their cause. It seems that women’s rights may be the elephant in the room for the January 25 revolutionaries.
Are the changes taking place in Egypt going to affect the administration’s policies regarding student activities?
Absolutely, I think the Office of Student Development tended to be extremely conservative about the kinds of things that it was comfortable encouraging students to do. Even at the time, last year, when I was Provost, OSD was more conservative than I would have been.
As I said at the time, I am a political scientist, and I think the best ways to learn about politics is to practice them. So I’ve always thought that students should always be involved in voter registration, debating political issues of moment on campus, and so forth and so on. I do think that there has been a conservative approach to that in the past, and I anticipate that this will change perceptively for students now. Whether that is attribute to my presidency or the revolution, that is for you to decide for yourselves.
On January 25, I was lost amidst thousands of protesters marching on a path towards a grand finale in Tahrir Square. I was with two friends, a college student with Islamist tendencies, and a high schooler who, in between the chants calling for the fall of Mubarak, would sing lines from the Beatles’ Revolution. We were grains in a heap of sand, and our individuality soon vanished.