As Egypt celebrated the end of President Hosni Mubarak's
three-decade-long rule Friday night, students from the Arab world
studying here rejoiced with them. Glued to the internet for the
latest update until now, they are now keeping a close watch on
what happens next.
Most students said their happiness is more for the people of Egypt
whose voice was finally heard than over the end of Mubarak's rule.
Mubarak stepped down Friday following an uprising that began Jan
25 in Cairo's Tahrir Square and quickly spread across the country.
The 18 days of vehement protests ended Mubarak's nearly 30-year
Raed Kassab from Palestine, studying architecture at the Jamia
Milia Islamia, said: "My first reaction to the news was
happiness...and I am very happy not so much for Mubarak stepping
down as for the people of Egypt because they finally got what they
"I am one of those people from Gaza who has had to face a lot of
problem in Egypt. I had got a scholarship to study here in Jamia
but I arrived nine months late because the border was closed. Even
the treatment at the airport is very bad, so I hope that now
things will change," Kassab told IANS.
Echoing similar sentiments, Ibrahim Abu Ghail - a Palestinian who
is pursuing his Ph.D. in computer sciences in the Jawaharlal Nehru
University (JNU) - said he hopes that the situation in Egypt will
change for the better after the end of Mubarak's rule.
"When you leave Gaza in Palestine and come to Egypt, you are not
free to roam around. You just can't stay in peace...I hope that
now when I go to Gaza or am coming back to India, I will be free
to walk around in Egypt," Ghail said.
"Palestine hopes that the various issues will be solved. We
support peace but we also like our dignity," he added.
For those like Saif Jewad from Iraq, the "victory" of the Egyptian
people is good news for the entire Arab world.
"I am very happy because it's the end of a dictatorship. I am
happy that the Arab world is more free and it's the beginning of a
new phase," Jewad told IANS.
A Ph.D. student of linguistics in the JNU, Jewad, however, added
that he is now closely monitoring the news to see what happens
"I am keeping a close watch on the news on the internet to know
what happens next. I am expecting more such things to happen,
maybe in Jordan, Syria," he said.
Ali Alwasouf from Syria - a fourth year doctorate student in the
JNU - said he has been watching the events unfold live on
"I have been watching the events live 24 hours for the past two
days. When the protests started, I knew that no dictator will go
off easily but I was betting on the army. If the army remained
neutral, as in Tunisia, then there was a chance for success,"
"Now we are speculating - who's next. Some people say Algeria, I
think it could be Jordan but it will not be against the king, but
the government. Syria is different from Egypt. People strongly
subscribe to the foreign policy of the regime in Syria against
Israel and the United States," he added.
Speculations are also rife about what will happen in Egypt next -
after the euphoria has died down.
"In Egypt, the most dangerous part has started now. I doubt the
elections will be democratic. I tell my friends that Egypt is like
a small India. The poor will get swayed to vote by money or other
factors, and educated people are polarised," Alwasouf told IANS.
Similarly Kassab said: "I am worried about what will happen next
in Egypt. In Iraq too, Saddam Hussain was forced to step down, but
the country still has its issues".
"In fact, before Mubarak's announcement, Al-Jazeera showed
interviews of different Egyptian parties and everybody said
something different on what is to be done next. It shows that
while there was unity in protesting, the thought process of the
people is not the same," he added.