The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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July 12, 2013

Mankato man from Cairo reflects on unrest

Maged Lotfy headed back to Egypt today


Interim President Adli Mansour also appointed former U.N. nuclear agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei as deputy to the president, responsible for foreign affairs, according to USA Today.

“I am excited to see what has happened there,” said Lotfy, who will be in Egypt for the next month.

Lotfy said Morsi's removal was positive. And he's proud of the changes occurring in Egypt. He's looking forward to a new president and a new constitution.

“All will share in that,” Lotfy said. “I am anxious, but I am very optimistic.”

Mankato native and MSU alum Mohamed Sallam recently returned to Minnesota after six weeks in Egypt, where he did research for his dissertation at the University of Minnesota. Sallam's family is from Cairo, and he's traveled to Egypt his whole life, he said.

Sallam left Egypt on the Fourth of July, the day after the armed forces announced the new plan that suspended the country's constitution and removed Morsi. Sallam said he's been indifferent to the events that unfolded.

So many people were excited two and a half years ago for the country's election of Morsi, he said. “And there are a lot of people who are very frustrated right now that democracy was snatched away from them,” he said.

On the other hand, he said, he understands the frustration of many Egyptians who witnessed the swift consolidation of power and control over many important government institutions.

“They said, 'Wait a minute. We just replaced one very strong political entity with another strong political entity,'” Sallam said. “I'd chalk it up to part of the revolutionary process. Revolutions don't come with manuals, and they don't come with rule books.”

While the protests appear to be inundating Egyptian cities, Sallam said most people are going on with life as usual. Even on June 30 when between 8 and 12 million people gathered in protest across the country, there were few casualties in Cairo, Sallam said. And on July 3, when the new plan was announced, Sallam said the people he observed seemed mostly festive.

As for Egypt's future, Sallam said it's anyone's guess. There are a variety of ideologies and visions moving forward, and compromise will be necessary, including making sure members of the Muslim Brotherhood are at the table, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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