Breaking News, Politics

Protests in Egypt

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A little boy sits atop his father's shoulders as they protest in Egypt against Mubarak.
Image: zenashots

By Nancy Miller

A week ago, many people in Egypt’s capital city began to protest against their government. They met in the streets of Cairo and held up protest signs and shouted that they wanted Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s president, to leave the country.

They said the government is not helping the people in Egypt who do not have enough money for food or clothing. The protesters say that the rich are getting richer while they have nothing.

The protesters want democracy in their country and they say they cannot have it if Mubarak stays. Mubarak runs the country autocratically – his decisions are the only ones that count.

President Mubarak has said he will fire all the people in his government who run the programs but he, himself, will not leave. The people say he has to leave because he is a symbol of everything that has gone wrong in the country. He has been in power for almost 30 years.

As the people get angrier, they are starting to wreck and steal things from homes and offices.

Egypt’s demonstrations began when people in Tunisia on the north coast of Africa began protesting and made their President leave the country. Now many Egyptians want the same thing. Egypt is also on the north coast of Africa and about 79 million people live there.

Many powerful leaders around the world agree that democracy and fairness to the people are the right way to go.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has sent two special charter planes to Cairo to pick up Canadian tourists and other Canadians who are there. He wants them out of Egypt and safely back home in Canada.

In the United States, even though they have been friends with Egypt for many years, President Barak Obama has not said anything about the protests. This shows that he agrees with the people, not the government.*

*Many people have different opinions about President Obama’s position on this issue. Make sure to talk to a parent, teacher, or an adult you trust before you make your opinion.

A PNancy Millerrimary (grades 1-3) version of this article is available here.

Nancy Miller is a freelance journalist and educator;
she is writing a childr
en’s book.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Democracy is the belief that the people who live in a country should have the ability to choose their leaders. Sometimes the people who live in a country try to gain democracy peacefully and sometimes they try to gain democracy through violence. If you were trying to change the way your country chose its leader, would you try to do it peacefully or violently? Why do you think your way would be the better option?

Reading Prompt
As you read today’s article, you formed your opinion. You decided whether you agreed with the people of Egypt or whether you sided with Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak. What information in the article helped you make up your mind?

Junior
Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8)

Grammar Feature: Tricky capitals
Do you know why the word president is not capitalized in sentence 1, but it is in sentence 2?

1. They met in the streets of Cairo and held up protest signs and shouted that they wanted Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s president, to leave the country.

2. President Mubarak has said he will fire all the people in his government who run the programs but he, himself, will not leave.

The answer is, in sentence 1, the word “president” isn’t attached to a person’s name. In sentence 2, it is. Circle the examples below that are correct and put an x beside the ones that are not. Fix the names that are written incorrectly.

Felipe Calderón, Mexican President           Raul Castro, Cuba’s president

president Barak Obama                                    Taro Aso, Japanese president

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo          Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s Prime Minister                                           

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan