NORMAL — Egyptian native Sohair Wastawy fears the protests will turn violent after Hosni Mubarak refused to step down Thursday as president of her native country.
Wastawy, dean of libraries at Illinois State University, was disappointed by the news that Mubarak was handing his powers to his vice president and not leaving office.
“Our anticipation and wishful thinking got in the way,” Wastawy said of hopes that he would announce his resignation in a speech Thursday. “I fail to see the logic for him to stay, but he is a very stubborn, proud man.”
Earlier Thursday, Wastawy got a small taste of the celebrations in Cairo after word spread that Mubarak likely would step down. Wastawy spoke with her sister, who called her from Tahrir Square, the rallying point for protesters for the past 17 days.
“I could hardly hear her, there was so much shouting and excitement,” Wastawy said.
With that much excitement turning to disappointment, Wastawy said she worries about what will happen next. Mubarak’s speech was met with chants of “Leave! Leave! Leave!” from protesters.
Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman told protesters to go home minutes after Mubarak addressed the country.
“I don’t think people will leave Tahrir Square,” Wastawy said. “I think things will continue as they have for the last 17 days.”
Before coming to ISU in June, Wastawy was chief librarian at the Bibliotheca Alexandria/The New Library of Alexandria in Egypt for six years.
Wastawy said that during her tenure, it was frustrating to watch political corruption weaken the country. Mubarak has been in power for 30 years.
“I have seen Egypt before and after Mubarak took office,” she said. “The difference is so disappointing for such a beautiful country.”