The Student Free Press Association interviews an American exchange student who evacuated Cairo yesterday:
SFPA: Are American students in the Middle East, particularly Egypt, safe right now?
Sloane Speakman: If you had asked me this a few days ago, I would have said yes. We had a very organized, strong neighborhood watch program where I was staying in the Zamalek neighborhood of Cairo so I was perfectly safe.
The bigger issue for us was that we were quickly running out of food. The American University residence where I was staying fed us twice a day, but the supply was slowly diminshing. All of the surrounding shops, of course, were closed, so we had no other option. All of the ATMs were out of cash as well, so many of us had no money and we were unable to buy any more credit for our phones once service had been restored. (We were also out of toilet paper…a less reported on problem, but nonetheless a serious one).
However, the last couple of days have taken a much more violent turn. I was evacuated on Tuesday, and by Wednesday, fights had broken out between the pro- and anti-government supporters. By now, of course, it has become even bloodier. Most of us students were determined to stick it out, but the longer the situation dragged on, the more we realized that things were becoming increasingly hostile. Some of my friends who went to the protests had tear gas shot at them, and one girl came back to the lobby of our residence with 13 marks on her body from where she had been shot with rubber bullets. It was unbelievable.