Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
As over one million protestors were flooding the streets of Egypt’s cities, a group of about 60 students and faculty crowded into Shane Lounge in Parrish Hall yesterday afternoon to march in solidarity with the Egyptian people.
The Swarthmore event, a joint effort between the Middle Eastern Cultural Society (MECS) and Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine (SPJP), was a small but passionate display of solidarity with the Egyptian people as they called for an end to President Mubaruk’s corrupt and abusive 32-year regime.
While the TV overhead played Al-Jazeera’s streaming coverage of the protests in Egypt, students affixed handmade signs that read “Enough” in Arabic and quoted Dr. King in English.
“We originally wanted to do something bigger with the Arab Student Association at the University of Pennsylvania,” said Dina Sharhan ’12, one of the coordinators of MECS. “[But] we still wanted to spread awareness and show support. There were no support events in Philly that we could have joined.”
“We wanted to bring the situation to peoples’ attention, to solidify our cause for freedom and for ending an oppressive regime. I expected more people to come, but the faculty’s presence was a really good influence,” said Marina Tucktuck ’13, a coordinator from MECS.
Before the march Nidal Alayasa ’11, whistled to get the crowd’s attention.
“Let’s get started,” he said.
Like the protests in Egypt, this event had no single leader. Participants represented a broad cross-section of Swarthmore’s demographics.
“This is a revolt of the people against tyranny,” said Alayasa. “Our group wanted to bring this struggle to attention and demonstrate support for people dying on the streets for their freedom. The only way for freedom to happen is through uniting.”
“Today we are all Egyptian!” one marcher shouted as the group began to move.
Outside of Parrish, the group sang “We Shall Overcome” as they marched toward Sharples Dining Hall.
The march continued through Sharples, where some surprised-looking students stopped eating to watch.
“Kifaya, enough, it’s time for freedom, democracy!” sang the marchers, chanting the Arabic word for “enough.”
The marchers then headed uphill and into McCabe Library, saying “Mubaruk out, Egypt up!” before being asked to leave the library.
“If America were to support the [Egyptian] people for once, it would be good for [America’s] image in the Middle East,” said Alayasa, after the march. “More importantly, it would be good for the people.”