As millions of Egyptians flooded Tahrir Square in Cairo, SF State faculty and students took part in a teach-in to spread information and promote conversation over the volatile situation.
“We are at the junction,” Dr. Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, associate professor in the race and resistance studies department, said to a packed room. “The Egyptians don’t need us (the U.S.) to do this for them, they are doing this themselves.”
Attendees sat on the floor and stood in the hall of the Ethnic Studies and Psychology Building Tuesday night to hear the panel discussion, organized by the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora Initiative.
Six panelists discussed aspects of the unrest they felt were not widely disseminated in mainstream media. Topics included a history of events leading up to the uprising, and the role of social media in spreading it.
Panelists also shared examples of self-organization on the part of the Egyptian citizens and possible replacements for the Mubarak regime.
“It’s part of the democratic process,” panelist Yasmeen Daifallah said of the protests. “There is no consensus on the streets of one person to represent the uprising. There is a pluralism of forces on the ground.”
Daifallah, 29, was born in Egypt. She currently studies political science at UC Berkeley, and visited her home country last month. The other panelists included an Egyptian SF State student and two Egyptian faculty members.
“Students needed to come to this to engage in dialogue with each other and challenge their knowledge about what’s going on,” said ethnic studies graduate student Kurt Kaaekauhiwi.