I have a very dear friend, Ahmed Ouf. I first met Ahmed in the United Arab Emirates some years ago when I was attending a conference there and he was working for the Emirate of Sharjah. We’ve been together and worked together a number of times since our first meeting. Once when I was in the UAE working on a project that Ahmed had connected me with, I joined him and his wonderful family for dinner on the first night of Ramadan. The friendship and hospitality shown to me by his wife and children was in the finest of Arabic tradition.
The last few years Ahmed and his family have been back in their native Egypt where he has been teaching at the University of Cairo. During the crisis of the last few weeks we have exchanged emails. I am posting in its entirety (with Ahmed’s gracious consent) the email he sent to me just minutes ago. It speaks for itself. I need add nothing.
Subject: Pray for Us All
After 16 days of uncertainty and an hour-by-hour worry about tomorrow …
We were unable to hold our son and daughters from joining the street demonstrations, and we felt guilty that we were afraid to join the people on the street because of the live bullets … maybe we have gone old
Three days ago we decided to join our children on the street and we went with them to Tahrir Square … unbelievable that millions could squeeze in that area and all streets leading to it. This morning I went with my daughter to Tahrir Square (who was joining school of Medicine demonstration to support Tahrir Square protestors) and I have to tell you that we barely entered as it was full at 12:00 noon … so now they estimate the number at the square at three millions … impressive isn’t it … there were large boards carrying pictures of those who were killed by live bullets and by the tear gas … they died for this revolution to happen … we pray that Allah will bless their souls and give them eternal life in paradise … they were mostly educated youth with years of good future waiting for them, they were Muslims and Christians , poor and rich but all of them were fed up with the current political, economic and social situation in Egypt. They did what we could not do for years … confront the system that we will take it NO MORE
One hour ago they declared that the Army will take over and that our president will step down … what a change, I have to tell you that we expect the next few days to be difficult but hopefully leading to a better future to all of us. We are optimistic about tomorrow. however, a revolution does not bring in all the desired results and sometimes does not have in its first few weeks the brains of a good government … mistakes might happen … I pray that those who will take over will have the wisdom and courage to take the proper steps to assure a smooth transition of power and a safe life to all.
Keep praying for us, we need all of your prayers and good wishes
Ahmed S. Ouf