Egyptians in Britain express fears for homeland

“At the beginning of the revolution the main feeling that I felt was fear. I was scared for my family especially as all the mobile networks were down so the lack of communication increased my worry and fear.”

Former 24 year old economics student Mohammad Badrawi currently lives in West London but spent most of his life in Egypt where he was born. He spoke of mixed feelings about the current situation in his home town.

“As I watched what was happening on television I started to feel sadness for what was happening in my country and for what Mubarak was doing to the protesters. I have friends that have been shot and injured as a result of these protests.”

The issues surrounding President Mubarak and the reasons for these protests taking place are fairly new to most people in Britain. British born Egyptian Mona Moussa aged 24 from North West London, told People with Voices there is a widespread misconception about the relationship between President Mubarak and the Egyptian people.

“Mubarak has always been unpopular and hated by the people.  The western world seems to think that President Mubarak must have been liked by his people because he has been re- elected numerous times with a 99 per cent majority vote.

“These protests are based upon the idea that Tunisia overturned their leadership so Egypt wants to do the same. Tunisia gave Egyptian people hope and the courage to stand up against their leader.”

Egyptians living in the UK have supported family and friends back home by organising rallies and protests. Mr Badrawi attended Sunday’s protest outside the Egyptian Embassy in Mayfair.

“There needs to be a change in the current constitution in Egypt as it doesn’t allow anyone to be elected except for Mubarak and his son. This is why it is essential he resigns so that these measures can be put into place,” he told People with Voices.

“I think there should be a council made up of political figures such as Ahmed Zewail and Mohamed ElBaradei who will have the people’s best interest at heart. Then the people can have free elections and vote without fear for who they feel will best serve them.”

Tourism accounts for around 10 per cent of Egypt’s GDP and one fifth of its foreign exchange earnings, making it key revenue for the country. In 2009 to 2010 the country's tourism revenue hit $11.6 billion.

But since the protests began tourism has been badly affected. This has raised concerns for the financial stability of the country’s economy. Ms Moussa told People with Voices:

“I worry about the economy suffering especially as tourism makes up a majority of our economy’s revenue. I also worry about the lack of fairness in regards to jobs at the moment in Egypt, which is due to Mubarak’s regime. But with a new leader our economy may suffer short term but we will be more stable long term.”