Drake University Student: ‘So, I Was Once Evacuated from Egypt During a Revolution’

Fourteen days ago, Drake University student Ian Weller sat on the balcony of an 11th-floor apartment, looking out over the calm that was Cairo, Egypt.  At the start of his study abroad experience in the historic city, Weller wrote about his group’s “‘ready to take on the world’ mentality” and his personal contentment.

As he shared on his blog, “A Bulldog Abroad,” “Steam comes off my freshly made cup of tea . . . as the sun starts to warm up the city.  It will get up [to] 70 today, and I couldn’t be happier.

The tea went cold a few moments later.  Cairo’s calm splintered into protests days after that– and spread nationwide.  Through the chaos (and Internet restrictions), he shot photos and blogged.  Currently, he is in Prague “considering alternate plans for the semester” and reflecting on the start to a story he will one day tell his children: “So, I was once evacuated from Egypt during a revolution…”

As Drake Blue, the university’s alumni magazine, noted in an online report about Weller’s new media work, “In addition to his first-person account of the events unfolding and his experiences with the people of Egypt, Weller shares photos of crowds of people on the streets, Egyptians proudly waving their country’s flag and streets blocked by burning vehicles. . . . At one point during his stay Weller put his language skills [a fluency in Arabic] and friendly nature to work and received permission from an Egyptian family to photograph the crowds on the street from the family’s personal balcony.”

A screenshot of two images taken by Weller and posted on his blog.

A portion of an entry he posted on Saturday:

“I woke up to not a cloud in the sky nor a cop on the street.  I turned on the TV to see Mubarak had not stepped down but had sacked his ministers.  That won’t be effective at all– the people want him out. . . . I had a dream I could send one text to my folks to tell them I am safe.  We loaded the bus to head to the grocery store.  People were directing traffic, taking the job the police were supposed to do.  That was really inspiring.  The notion of “we took down the police, so now we will fill in the spots” was really cool to see. We drove by one of the burned-out police stations and saw men who were looting being forced back by the citizens.  One man had to return a rug by force of the people. . . . The street people all say ‘revolution,’ while the news stations all say ‘protestors’ or ‘demonstrators.’ While walking around today, before the 4 p.m. army-instituted curfew we saw 20 military vehicles including a few tanks lined up on the main road in Alex [Alexandria].  A few hours ago I heard gunshots outside our apartment.  The neighbors between a few apartments have barricaded the street and have armed themselves with pistols, shotguns, 2 x 4s, golf clubs, and metal rods.  Black smoke started to fill the sky again as the sun set over Alex. We are definitely in a state of emergency.”

One Response to “Drake University Student: ‘So, I Was Once Evacuated from Egypt During a Revolution’”
  1. Brianne says:

    Our student newspaper, The Times-Delphic, also covered Ian: http://timesdelphic.com/2011/02/02/out-of-egypt-students-find-themselves-in-the-middle-of-revolution

    The story was linked on the Huffington Post College News page.