I mostly stayed out of a lot of detail regarding modern Egyptian politics. What I did know always made me wonder from time to time if I should be there at all. Not because I feared for my own safety, but more out of a sense of concern that I was somehow tacitly supporting a fairly nasty dictatorial regime.
The flip side of that, though, was the knowledge that a revolution could wind up making things worse if crazy fundies wound up in charge.
I really, really hope things get better. I can't begin to imagine how to revamp Egyptian government to be better after decades of entrenched dictatorship and police-state habits, but I hope and pray that it can be done. It's time to stop throwing people in jail just for saying unpopular things, time to stop rampant corruption and greed, time to stop brutality and torture in jails and prisons.
I didn't get to spend as much time in Egypt as I'd have liked and did not get to spend as much time with Egyptians as I'd have liked either, but the men and boys I worked with were nice, good-humored, ordinary people. The people I met on the streets were too. Even at a time when US foreign policy had made the US unpopular in a lot of the world, no one treated us like crap for being Americans.
I guess the point I'm trying to make none too elegantly is that Egyptians are people just like the rest of us, they just want to be able to make a living and be safe and happy. Unfortunately, unlike most of us in America, that isn't very easy in Egypt any more.
I've seen reports that some of the protesters have been helping the police and military to protect the Cairo Museum. I have no problem believing that to be true. Many Egyptians are incredibly proud of their heritage. They are also well aware that a lot of the economy is based around tourism.
I hope very much that this situation resolves as peacefully and successfully as possible. And my thoughts are not only with friends there now, but with everyone there now, especially the people putting themselves in harms way for what they believe in and what they hope to see in the future.