Local Egyptian College Student Reacts to Violence

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Nour El Koptan is a graduate student at Mary Baldwin College who is away from her home in Egypt for the first time while studying in the Valley.

She says the unrest in Egypt had been building for the past few years, but never at the levels of today. It's been challenging for her to watch the news unfold from afar.

"At some point, I lost contact with my friends and they are protesting in the streets and I see violence and I don't know if they got injured, hurt, or something. So, the past days have been really nerve-racking," explains El Koptan.

She's been able to get in touch with her family, but it's been difficult.

"Through landlines because mobiles were not working, Internet was shut in Egypt, but at least landlines were working," says El Koptan.

For her, the calls are better than nothing, but she says they do not reassure her.

"In a two-minute call they would say, 'No everything is fine, don't worry' and that's it. But I know that everything is not fine. I'm seeing videos," comments El Koptan.

Even with the knowledge that everything is not fine, she says she would still rather be home.

"It is very frustrating. I would rather be home with my friends in the streets protesting against this regime rather than being safe here," adds El Koptan.

She says many of the demands of her friends and family are basic.

"We're asking him [President Mubarak] to stop the emergency. Egypt has been under emergency law for the past 29 years. Enough. We have had enough of that," says El Koptan.

While she watches the news from afar, El Koptan is hopeful that this is the beginning of change for her homeland.

She says, "I want to go back to a different Egypt. I want to start building my country and rebuilding it."