Arkansas man speaks about family ties in Egypt - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Arkansas man speaks about family ties in Egypt

 By Amanda Hanson - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Just over a year ago, a man left Egypt to make a home in Jonesboro, AR.  Sunday, he spoke about his experiences over the past month, thousands of miles away from his home country. 

"What's going on in Egypt, it started last summer.  I had friend there, who was with me in the college, and he got killed by police.  He was sitting in an internet café and the police walked in a wanted to search him.  He asked why do you want to search me, and they started beating him," he Bahaa Gafary who is for Alexandria, Egypt.   His death then sparked the making of a facebook page called "We Owe Khalid Saied" to make sure his death was not unnoticed.

"Like half a million people are members of this group right now. They started making a few protests every week like, telling the government to stop the police from doing this to us, but the government never listened," Gafary says, but when their voices went unheard, it all came to head.  "People decided to go to the streets, and that group said under their status, let's go try to ask the government to step down," he says.

It was an upheaval that had Gafary worried.  "What about our families there?  The government there decided to cut the internet, cell phones, everything," Gafary says, leaving him in the dark. "I can't do anything here because my mind is there.  All we can know is from the news, like CNN," says Gafary.

The only way he could communicate with his loved ones was through the land line phones.   "My friend was calling me and to say that if the police is not going to protect the country, we will protect our country.  A couple hours later he called me back and his brother got killed by police," says Gafary, who felt helpless.  

A flag on both his car and house showed even though he's thousands of miles away, his thoughts were with his country.  "Family, friends, and you know every once in a while your friend gets killed for nothing.  That government had to go," says Gafary. 

And this past Friday, when Hosni Mubarak stepped down, a new era began.  "I started dancing by myself I was so happy," he says. 

Since that time, he has talked with his brother back in Egypt, who says there is a new found pride in the county. 

 "He said after the government stepped down, the people walked through the street mopping the streets and cleaning the streets.  Before that, people didn't really clean anything.  They didn't want the country clean because that country gave us nothing," says Gafary. 

While the country still has a long way to go, Gafary says he's proud to be an Egyptian. 

"Those people didn't die for nothing.  They died for a reason now and I'm sure citizens are happy now because the country is having a better future I'm sure," says Gafary. 

It's a time in Egypt's history that will never be forgotten.  The next step for Egypt is electing new leaders, which Gafary hopes will be a new beginning for the country.  

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