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Transcript of interview
Interviewer: Noutchka Karaguezian
Narrator: Anita Arzrouni
Date: 8/3/2011
Place: Narrator's home, Alexandria desert road, City View, Cairo.
College: American University, Cairo
Noutchka Karaguezian
Anita Arzrouni Interview
8 March 2011
Person's present: Noutchka Karaguezian-I
Anita Arzrouni- Mother
(Start of Interview)
Interviewer: This is Noutchka Karaguezian, I'll be interviewing Anita Arzrouni; my
mother who lives on the Alexandria desert road. Her age between 40 and 45.
So, how are you today?
Interviewee: Fine, thank you.
Interviewer: Ok, regarding the Egyptian revolution, first of all were you pro or anti x
President Hosni Mubarak? Did you have a change of heart as the revolution
Interviewee: Uh, actually it was all uh unexpected and uh really a surprise for most of
us. We were not expecting this at all, but knowing what's happening now. At the
beginning I was with the revolution and I wanted the change, because it's been 30
years we've been having the same President and uh when I was seeing all these poor
people around me uh and the difference between the rich and the poor it was really
bad and I was expecting that something like this to happen. Uh but now uh I don't
think I'm very happy about it, because it's not anymore of a revolution.
Interviewer: So do you think Hosni Mubarak should have stayed and not resigned?
Interviewee: Uh, it's not exactly this; I think he should have resigned, but uh it
shouldn't have been done this way. Uh resign and yet to wait till September, till the
re- elections. Then all this would have happened in a legal and smooth way and not uh
the way we're having it now, the really corruption that we're in.
Interviewer: So despite the fact that President Hosni Mubarak resigned, protestors
still wanted to change the government like Ahmed Shafik, does this seem logical to
Interviewee: It, well somehow it is logical and yet it's not logical. I wanted Ahmed
Shafik to stay, he's, I think he's a very good man and uh he shouldn't have left. But the
people are really very strange, the way they think and what they want. You know we
have a lot of ignorance in the, our population and uh the idea of just Hosni Mubarak
having uh um chosen him, I think this was the real problem.
Interviewer: What about during the revolution were you in a critical situation
personally, you and your uh family?
Interviewee: With my family? Umm critical yes, we were really, I was actually really
panicking and uh I was very afraid especially, because we had all these jails open and
all these criminals coming out of these jails and uh people dying, the young people
being killed in Tahrir Square and uh all this uh mess. I was really afraid, I was
thinking to just leave the country and go, leave my house, leave where I was born and
that was really difficult.
Interviewer: So a lot has happened during the revolution that has affected peoples'
lives and their personal living, especially I think, as you said the releasing of the
prisoners. So they did not only release the prisoners but they also broke into the
Egyptian Museum. Who do you think was behind those two aspects? Were they the
Egyptian activists or were they the Islamic Brotherhood, who do you think?
Interviewee: Actually, the Egyptian Museum was the first place to be attacked um on
Friday and uh, it's really mysterious because at the beginning we thought no they are
uh thieves or what do you call them, uh I don't know.
Interviewer: Terrorists?
Interviewee: Mm, no, not really terrorists, uh you know in every country you have
these people that want to steal. They are not really called thieves, they are more like
Interviewer: Yes.
Interviewee: And um, but then because our shop was in The Egyptian Museum and
we were completely stolen from our jewelry, so um there were secret things told. I'm
not supposed to say but I think some people are involved from the police, because all
this was uh filmed. There were cameras in the shop and uh, a lot from the police,
broke in and stole the jewelry. So, I don't know if in the Museum, uh part of it was
also the police, so I can expect anything.
Interviewer: The people who were controlling the police were by the Minister of
Interior, Habib El Adele. Many blame the break in of the prisoners on him, do you
agree or do you feel that there is, there are more suspects to this?
Interviewee: Um, everybody I know is against Habib El Adele. They're, they say he's
the real criminal who killed the youngsters, um the young people in Tahrir and he's
the one who took out the thieves. He's the one doing this; he's the one who's doing
that. Maybe, I cannot say yes, I cannot say no. Within years we will know the truth,
because even if he is now condemned to death, uh it doesn’t mean that he is the one
who did this. But, I'm sure if he even is a part of it, there are very powerful other
people behind it and uh the only thing I can say is at least we were safe, now we're not
safe at all, we're not safe at all in all ways. You see what I mean?
Interviewer: Of course, we're not safe without the police anymore.
Interviewee: Uh without the police, because we have the people of uh terrorists, we
have the people of uh drugs. We have these people that are just thieves, criminals, we
have everyone around us. So there are a lot of people in this, these people were locked
in to jails and Habib El Adele put them into jails and so they're against him. Now that
they came out, of course they want to do anything against him, especially the Muslim
Brotherhood, because a lot of them were in jail. Now all of them are out, even the one
who killed President Sadat; he's out after all these years. So I don’t know if this is
right or wrong, but we will know.
Interviewer: You mentioned that there were outside forces that were effecting this..
Interviewee: Yes
Interviewer: so what about other countries, like Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen, Syria and
now Libya, what do you think? Do you think these are young people who want a
different world, fighting for their rights and freedom? Or do you think it's more
terroristic and it involves countries like the States and uh countries like the States and
uh Israel who are helping to provoke the situation?
Interviewee: I think the young people, yes they started it and they wanted a change
and they have all the right to do that, because really it was really unfair the way these
people were living. Especially not the mid mid class of course and not the very rich
where we're talking about the milliards that they've been stealing from the countries,
but the very poor people that don't have electricity, or uh portable water to drink. Uh
so, they did this for them and I'm sure with a very good reason for it and I'm
completely with them. But I'm sure the ones who are continuing now or uh creating
all this mess like all these other countries, it’s a hand from outside Whether it's the
Jewish or the States, America or Iran maybe, Hezbollah, they're all at the very end,
one hand.
Interviewer: Well, what about activists like Wael Ghoneim? You mentioned that
these people on the streets were fighting for their own belief ..
Interviewee: Yes..
Interviewer: would you believe someone, like Wael Ghoneim, who's a true Egyptian
Activist, who always in his interviews, he's always emotional and cries..
Interviewee: I don't, I don't believe in anybody. I don't believe in anybody, I don't
know these people, I don't really know them uh maybe yes maybe no, but umm. I'm
just thinking if it was really for a good cause, why are they are not trying to now, uh
create something by keeping the country calm and safe, because we really are in a
very critical situation and they're continuing. And who burnt this church, actually?
You know that there has been a Christian Church, two days ago, completely burnt. So
who did this? I want to know who did this. These young people, they're not thinking
that the country is now in very very dangerous situation? And, if they are, they have
to do something about it. If they're just watching and all what they care is about the
President and they don't care about anything else, I'm sorry to say that I'm completely
against them, if this is the cause what they started the revolution for.
Interviewer: But you mentioned that you were happy about the fact that Egypt would
probably recover..
Interviewee: Of course, of course, because I wanted a democracy, I wanted a better
country, I wanted these poor people. I'm a mid class person, I had no problems with
Hosni Mubarak. No not Hosni Mubarak, but I had the problem seeing these poor
people. They deserve a better life, a better place to live in. So I was with them, ok?
For them to have a better life, because after all we're all human, but what's happening,
what's happening now is really unfair and it's not right. Ok, Ahmed Shafik, they don't
want him, ok we took Ahmed Shafik out, we got who they want, now they have who
they want. They burnt the church, because now they're starting with a Christian and
Muslim uh, another problem. So I don't understand what's happening, every time there
is something, every time there is a reason, every time it's, it's becoming like a
bordello. It's, we cannot. It's going out of our hands and out of the hands of everybody
and the government will not be able to do anything. So these young people if they're
really powerful and they are the ones who did the revolution, the one million and the
four million in Tahrir, then they have to now do something about. That's it if they had
good intentions to begin with. They have to now see that our people, the innocent
people, can be in real danger, ok? And their father, mothers and their children are all
in danger. You young people, you're in danger so if they really care they have to do
something about it.
Interviewer: True and the Internet would you call it a big, do you think it played a
major effect on the revolution, do you think it..
Interviewee: The YouTube and all these things you mean?
Interviewer: No, the Facebook groups, the groups that got all these students and all
Interviewee: Some people from these groups are good and some people of them are
not. Some people are from the Muslim Brotherhood, some people are not. The
Muslim Brotherhood, you know they're very well organized and very clever, but you
cannot trust them or believe them. They tell you, yes it's white and in one second they
can tell you no it's not white, it's black.
Interviewer: So you're saying that it was an Internet Revolution, but not necessarily
involving innocent people who wanted a change but there were also different groups
like the Muslim Brotherhood, who wanted to profit from the situation.
Interviewee: Of course, definitely, for their own interest. But I'm happy that the
government left after discovering that they were all thieves, like there are a lot of
people who stole, without mentioning names because everybody knows of them,
including the President. But at the very end, in France now, Jacques Chirac uh is
being judged of whether or not he stole money from his own country. It's not the end
of the world, but what we're in now is unacceptable.
Interviewer: Definitely, definitely the uh Egyptian uh government even though
they've promised a lot to their people, people are still unhappy and they're still
protesting, which is uh a major problem for us these days.
Interviewee: Again, I would say we have a lot of ignorant people, we have, they don't
know anything, they don't understand what a revolution is, they don't uh know that we
might have uh nothing to eat after two or three months. The factories are all not
working. Everyone who's having problems now is stuck in the streets and they don’t
really understand that these are two completely different things.
Interviewer: It's going to be a hard and long journey for Egypt to recover and let's
hope for the best. Thank you very much for this interview and we'll hopefully be
discussing more soon.
Interviewee: Thank you.