As rhetoric from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has heated up, specifically regarding red lines on Iran, critics have mentioned the demise of the special relationship and its burden on American interests.
In recent years, the world has seen a rise in civil disorder. Many Middle Eastern countries have experienced nation-shaking protests, and Greece, perpetually in debt with a shrinking economy, has seen violent demonstrations of its own.
While Middle Eastern nations look to move past last year’s widespread political unrest, schools across the United States, including Washington University, are struggling to evaluate the prospect of reinstating their study abroad programs in the still unsettled countries.
If you have been reading the news for the past, say, 100 days, you know that the world is going to hell at any moment. Students have been caught in crises in Egypt and Japan, and while the U.S. government has been pretty good about getting people out, that doesn’t limit the amount of danger they were in at any one time.
Last week, the rule of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt was toppled. In 2003, Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship that had lasted since 1979 ended. But there’s a distinct difference between these two changes of power. One was done with weapons and soldiers, the other with tweets and posts.
On Wednesday night, more than 60 students gathered in the DUC to hear 20-year-old Amin Abu-Hashen, a citizen of Egypt, participate in a panel about Egypt’s current political climate.
As of today, protestors continue to flood the streets of Egypt demanding the removal of thirty year “President” Hosni Mubarak. The 82 year-old ruler’s response has been dissolving the government (except himself), releasing his thugs upon the protestors, and stating that he won’t run again in September. Mubarak further enflamed Egyptians by stating last week that if he stepped down as leader, the country would sink into chaos.
Junior Parsa Bastani was sitting in Whispers on Thursday afternoon with just a duffel bag, a laptop and a pay-as-you-go phone. The rest of Bastani’s belongings are still in Egypt, where his semester abroad was cut short due to political unrest.
The two Washington University students spending the spring semester abroad in Egypt have safely been evacuated from the country following political unrest. Junior Parsa Bastani, who was studying in Alexandria at the School in the Middle East at Alexandria University, is now on his way back to St.Louis from Prague and is contemplating various options for finishing out the semester. Junior Allegra Skurka, studying at Cairo University, flew to Athens this week and plans to finish the semester in Jordan.
Jennifer Smith, associate professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University, recently found a sample of alum in the Dakhleh Oasis in the Eastern Sahara. After working with the material, she was able to link it to blue paint that was found in Egyptian pottery during the New Kingdom.
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