GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.,–The death toll in Egypt continues to rise as security forces clash with the supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsy.
Thursday, President Obama spoke out about the situation in that country, condemning the violence there. But the effects of the deadly protests that have killed more than 500 people and injured thousands more is being felt here in West Michigan by those who have family and friends in the middle of it all.
Ali Metwalli, a professor at Western Michigan University, graduated from Egypt’s Cairo School of Business back in 1964 and came to America soon after. His family, including his brother and cousins, are still in Egypt today, though.
He says it has been extremely stressful to see it all unfold from miles away. Wednesday was the bloodiest day since the 2011 revolution to oust Morsy’s predecessor Hosni Mubarak.
“They’re going to police stations, government buildings and try to burn them down thinking that if we create more destruction people might listen to us. But I don’t think so because people get tired of this kind of behavior,” Metwelli said.
He says he has been in close contact with his family as they try to stay away from it all. “Some part of the family is close to the main square where the Muslim Brotherhood was holding themselves for the last 30 days,” he said.
Metwalli says despite the chaos he still isn’t losing hope.
“I’m hoping that the rational people on both sides will realize that they have to sit down and talk to get everyone involved in the process of moving towards democracy. Both sides to realize that there are Egyptians there that lose their life and get injured, maybe they should look at the benefit for the country instead of their own self-interest,” he said.
Thursday, President Obama has canceled an up-coming joint military exercise with Egypt.