Evacuating Egypt

By Wu, Angela | Newsweek, February 7, 2011 | Go to article overview

Evacuating Egypt


Wu, Angela, Newsweek


Byline: Angela Wu

American students studying abroad in Egypt recount harrowing tales of how they got out and what comes next.

As gunshots echoed in the background, Robert Joyce spent his last Friday night in Egypt, Jan. 28, writing an Arabic paper in his dorm. Outside, a mob was shaking a main gate off the building, which houses primarily Egyptian students at Alexandria University. By this point, the once peaceful protests in Egypt's second-largest city had grown violent, but the possibility of class the next day was still very real.

By Saturday, the university had canceled classes for the next week. As campus security guards and dorm staff abandoned the student-housing complex, Joyce fled his dorm with about a dozen other Americans for the relative security of a friend's local apartment. "We knew [protesters] would very easily get into the unguarded dorm complex, and we'd be sitting ducks for any type of violence," he said. The students grabbed what they could--computers, clothes--and hurried out while daylight remained. For some that meant fleeing with only the shirt on their back.

Like Joyce, many study-abroad students in Egypt recount harrowing tales of trying to escape amid mounting chaos as the protests started to turn violent. Most have spent the past five days scrambling to return home--navigating closed roads, dealing with canceled flights, and calling on senators and parents for help. At this point, most universities have successfully evacuated the students and reunited them with relieved families. It seems unlikely that anyone will return to the region this semester, so many students are now trying to figure out what comes next and where they will study.

In the past, Egypt was widely considered one of the safest havens in the Middle East. The country best known for the Giza pyramids has, in recent years, attracted more than half of all American students in the region, according to the Institute of International Education, a nonprofit that develops international study programs including the State Department's Fulbright. "We didn't really have any concern about Egypt not being safe," said Lesa Griffiths, associate provost for international programs at the University of Delaware, which this past Sunday flew home 22 students and two professors.

Like many colleges, Delaware doesn't support study-abroad trips to countries on the State Department's travel-warning list. But on Tuesday, Egypt became the newest member of the list, after the hotbed of angry protesters had citizens fearing for their safety. Students recounted seeing protesters burn down police stations while chanting and screaming broke out around the dorm.

As late as Thursday, Middlebury College's Schools Abroad program director in Alexandria had sent a reassuring message to the college, saying that the demonstrations were largely peaceful. But that didn't last. "From Thursday to Friday, that changed completely," said Michael Geisler, vice president for the Middlebury program. "So we made the decision to evacuate the students."

Over the weekend, "the mayhem really started," said Alex Puig, a former operations officer for the CIA who manages security assistance for International SOS, which has evacuated more than 800 clients from Egypt. "It was amazing how quickly it changed from the students being able to see a movement being born in Egypt to sheer terror--'Get me out of here because there's looting and mayhem in the streets.'"

As college staff at Middlebury frantically arranged the students' exit, Joyce spent part of Saturday night wielding a broomstick on the street with the neighborhood watch that had been organized to protect the building from armed looters, escaped convicts from a nearby prison, and thugs rumored to be hired by President Hosni Mubarak. "About every hour to 45 minutes, there'd be a car or a group of guys with guns who would start shooting, and the entire mob of people on the block would charge them," Joyce says. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Evacuating Egypt
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.