Minn. man keeping close eye on Egypt

5:13 PM, Jul 5, 2013   |    comments
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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Folks in Minnesota with ties to Egypt are reacting to the recent developments there. We first met Tarek Nasr in 2011 just as his country was in the midst of a democratic revolution.

"This is what every Egyptian wishes around the world," Nasr said in 2011.

Then. for the first time ever, Tarek voted in his native Egypt. He brought his daughter with him to witness history.

"I voted for Morsi...Because I felt my voice will be heard," says Nasr.

Today, Tarek is once again watching the turmoil in Cairo from his new home in Bloomington. He's the former president of the Egyptian American Society of Minnesota and has lived in the U.S. since 1997.

"He wasn't the president we were looking for after this great revolution."

Tarek says Mohamed Morsi was Egypt's first democratically elected president, but could not lead a country in transition. Even local experts, like University of Minnesota anthropology professor William Beeman say Morsi made tactical political errors leading to his ouster.

"One of the important lessons we have to learn about democracy is that you don't always get the candidate you want to have," says Beeman.

Tarek hopes Egypt will unite and sees the events unfolding today not as a military coup, but as a second revolution where young people are expressing themselves in a way they never could before.

"We need to come to common ground and hold to one principle at a time and surround this principle and start to practice it," says Nasr.

Tarek is one of about 5,000 Egyptian nationals who now call Minnesota home.

He says that in the 2011 election in Egypt, voters really only had a choice between two poor candidates, but saw more hope in Morsi who was not aligned with former president Mubarek.

Tarek hopes now another election will be called and he'll vote again, knowing that the most important lesson here is that democracy takes time and patience.

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