Citation
Interview with Iman Ezzeddine

Material Information

Title:
Interview with Iman Ezzeddine
Series Title:
Middle East Women's Activism
Alternate Title:
مقابلة مع إيمان عز الدين
Creator:
Ezzeddine, Iman ( Interviewee )
عز الدين ، إيمان ( contributor )
Pratt, Nicola Christine ( contributor )
Place of Publication:
Cairo, Egypt
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Egyptian Social Democratic Party ( UW-MEWA )
الحزب المصرى الديمقراطى الاجتماعى ( UW-MEWA )
University of Cairo ( UW-MEWA )
Jāmiʻat al-Qāhirah ( LCSH )
جامعة القاهرة ( UW-MEWA )
Protests (Egypt : 2013 June 30) ( UW-MEWA )
Protests (Egypt : 2011-2013) ( LCSH )
Jamʻīyat al-Ikhwān al-Muslimīn (Egypt) ( LCSH )
Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt) ( UW-MEWA )
جمعيات الإخوان المسلمين (مصر) ( UW-MEWA )
Islamic fundamentalism ( LCSH )
Social justice ( LCSH )
Arab Spring (2010-) ( LCSH )
الربيع العربي (2010-) ( UW-MEWA )
March 9th movement for the independence of universities ( UW-MEWA )
حركة 9 مارس لاستقلال الجامعات ( UW-MEWA )
January 25 2011 Revolution (Egypt) ( UW-MEWA )
Thawrat 25 Yanāyir 2011 (Egypt) ( UW-MEWA )
ثورة 25 ياناير 2011 (مصر) ( UW-MEWA )
December 2012 protests at Al-Ittihadiya (Presidential Palace) ( UW-MEWA )
Women's activism ( UW-MEWA )
Ayn Shams University ( UW-MEWA )
Jāmiʿat ʿAyn Shams ( LCSH )
جامعة عان شمس ( UW-MEWA )
Theater ( LCSH )
Egyptian National Archives ( UW-MEWA )
Dār al-Wathāʼiq al-Qawmīyah (Egypt) ( LCSH )
دار الوثائق القومية (مصر) ( EGAXA )
January 25 2011 Revolution (Egypt) ( UW-MEWA )
Thawrat 25 Yanāyir 2011 (Egypt) ( UW-MEWA )
ثورة 25 ياناير 2011 (مصر) ( UW-MEWA )
Day of Rage (Egypt : 2011 January 28) ( UW-MEWA )
Friday of Anger (Egypt : 2011 January 28) ( UW-MEWA )
جمعة الغضب (مصر: 2011 يناير 28) ( UW-MEWA )
Battle of the Camel (Egypt : 2011) ( UW-MEWA )
موقعة الجمل (مصر: 2011) ( UW-MEWA )
Arab Spring (2010-) ( LCSH )
الربيع العربي (2010-) ( UW-MEWA )
Spatial Coverage:
Asia -- Egypt -- Cairo Governate -- Cairo
Coordinates:
30.033333 x 31.233333

Notes

Abstract:
Iman Ezzedine was born in Cairo in 1956, in the Saraya Al-Qobbah neighbourhood. Her mother was a housewife and her father was a legal accountant. She studied theatre at Ayn Shams University. After graduating in 1978, Iman travelled to Europe. She married in 1980 and went to Saudi Arabia where her husband was working. There she taught English at a prestigious secondary school and her daughter was born in 1984. After her divorce in 1988, she returned to Egypt to do her MA and then travelled to Italy for her PhD, both in Greek theatre. In the 1990s, she returned to Egypt and taught theatre in the Classics Department of Ayn Shams University as well as teaching at the Academy of Arts and Cinema Institute. In 2006 she founded the Department of Drama and Theatre at her university. Iman was active in the March 9th Movement for the Independence of Egyptian Universities and participated in the 25 January 2011 uprising. Afterwards she joined the Egyptian Social Democratic Party because of her desire to advocate for social justice. In June 2013, she was fired from her post at the National Archives by the Muslim Brotherhood government but reinstated after Mohammed Morsi was deposed in July 2013 She participated in the 30 June demonstrations against Morsi. At the time of the interview Iman was continuing her work in the National Archives and as a university professor. ( en )
General Note:
Funding : Women's Activism in the Arab World (2013-2016). This project, funded by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship, examines the significance of middle-class women's activism to the geo/politics of Arab countries, from national independence until the Arab uprisings. It was based on over 100 personal narratives of women activists of different generations from Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.
General Note:
Interview conducted on: 01 January 14
General Note:
Duration: 1 hour, 54 minutes and 49 seconds
General Note:
Language of interview: English
General Note:
Audio transcription and translation by Captivate Arabia, Amman, Jordan, info@captivatearabia.com
General Note:
آسيا -- مصر -- القاهرة -- القاهرة
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Pratt, Nicola Christine : URI http://viaf.org/viaf/49147457

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Warwick
Rights Management:
© 2014 the Interviewer and Interviewee. All rights reserved. Used here with permission.

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Full Text
Interview with Iman Ezzeddine
(2014)
TAPE 1
Nicola Pratt: can I ask where and when were you born?
Iman Ezzeddine: Yeah, born in 1956 in Cairo, I was born in a neighborhood called Saraya Al-
Qobbah, which was a nice neighborhood but we left to??? (tape 1 at minute 00:23) when I was
3 years old, which means I didn't know anything about the neighborhood except that my aunts
were living there so they we used to go and visit them. So I am a person from ???? (tape 1 at
minute 00:41). You know, till the secondary school... I went to a semi-private school you know,
it's what they call national schools, it's not a foreign school or an international school, it was
sort of a private school where we learn English but not as the other schools that you take the
math and science in English, so it was only English language plus the ordinary curriculum for the
government schools. I think it's good for the parents, they think of it as part of protection, you
will not go to governmental school because this is where everybody, so it was very good and
much better as education, I mean in teaching. But it was fun, you know, in preparatory, in
secondary school, it's only for girls so we used to the boys school to play sports etc, because we
didn't have playgrounds at the girls school, we used to go every Monday and Thursday, and the
boys you know were waiting for us there. I used to be a basketball player and then I was in
the... the team of... first of ???? (tape 1 at minute 3:08) and then I was upgraded to the
country's one, but I left the team the high school, and then, at that time I was playing ping
pong, tennis table, and after I went to university I started to play as well, it was just by chance
but I played fencing as well, so this is my sport life, it ended of course after the marriage
because I was married in 1981 and I left Egypt to Saudi Arabia where my husband or my ex, he
used to work there, and I got my daughter, my one and only one in 1984, she went to
engineering, you know the college of engineering, and she worked as an engineer for 2 years
and she left engineering after that, she works in a bank now. I was appointed as junior assistant
at the university... originally I graduated from classical department ??? (tape 1 at minute 04:54),


I went to the ??? because I wanted to study theater, and I had 2 choices, it's either to go to
academy of arts which my father denied me this because you know of the atmosphere and the
environment and the people and everything, so the thing it was that I go to the faculty of arts
and then join the English department, I did for a month and then I said no, if I want to study
theatre I would go from the very beginning, so I joined the classical department to study
theatre, my Masters and my PhD was about Greek theater, part of my PhD was in Rome, La
Sapienz, I stayed there for two years and before going to Italy as a PhD student I went here to
the Dante Alighieri institution, which is the Italian, not the Italian cultural center which was
???? (tape 1 at minute 6:17), no this was an Italian institute for language, by the name of Dante
Alighieri the famous poet, and I studied the ???? (tape 1 at minute 6:36) it was a diploma of 3
academic years. I studied there and I had scholarships from the institute, I went to Italy while I
was at the university, and I got a grant form university as well, and I went on an exchange visit
to Denmark, a youth exchange visit to Denmark, it was in 1977, this was before my graduation, I
graduated in 1978 and so in 1977 I went to Denmark with other boys and girls from different
faculties in the university of Egypt and in 1978 I went to Perugia for the first time in Italy, and...
in 1977 after my visit to Denmark I went to England for the first time as well but this was a
family visit, my sister used to live there, in Scotland actually not England, and so this was my
first time to Scotland ever... after that you know as in 1978 I was graduated and in 1980 I was
engaged, married, ??? (tape 1 at minute 8:17) I went to Saudi Arabia with my ex-husband, we
were divorced in 1988,1988? 1988. MY daughter was born in 1984 and I stayed in Saudi Arabia
for a year and then another year coming and going out, I couldn't bear it, I couldn't take it.
During my stay the first year I used to work as an English teacher for a secondary school for a
year, you know it was an experience to know the Saudi society but it was a high elite school for
girls, most of them either from the Royal family or from the top officials or the well of people,
the other Arab people, you know, it's either from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, you
know, so it was not the real Saudi society but it was part of it. So, you know, being in Saudi
Arabia, coming back, the divorce, etc., so you know I was a bit late with my Masters but I
finished the Masters in 1988 and then in 1990 I went to Italy for the PhD so I stayed there for 2
years and I stayed there for another 2 years and then I got my PhD. Then, you know I traveled a


lot in conferences etc., then I stayed in the department of classics, while in the department I
used to teach at the academy of arts, the cinema institute to teach drama in the cinema
institute and to teach mythology in the ?? (tape 1 at minute 11:07) institute. And I was
responsible for the art activity, I was supervisor for these students and the art activities, you
know music, theater, dancing, folkloric dancing which was prohibited by the Islamists I don't
know why, and, what then? In 2002, in the academic year 2006-2007 I founded the department
of drama and theater which sits at the same faculty of art which I was at, since that time I am at
that department. In 2004, no, 2005, because they started in 2004, I joined the group March 9
which is the group which seeks the autonomy or economic independence for universities, so it
was a mix between defending the economy and independence of universities, as it was a bit a
political... it's not a political group because you know it was joined by different types of people
even Islamists, and I say even Islamists because I am anti-lslamist, this my point of view, I am
anti-lslamists, so it was even Islamists, leftists, from all over the rainbow, and the most
important thing it was the independence or autonomy of university. And honestly through this
group I met a lot of people, it was very ??? (tape 1 at minute 13:34) this is all over. We went to
demonstrations and you know conferences etc., it was good actually; it was great actually not
only good. And... in 20111 joined the revolution, I did not go the 25th, I had, I have a back
problem since 2000, so you know I was not sure whether my back is good and so I was hesitant
to go on the 25th, but I went on the 28th, and this is another story... so you asked me about
when and where I was born and now, so, maybe you want to ask me something else.
N.P: Yeah, can I just ask you some more details about this first period before the revolution.
What did your parents do when you were growing up?
I.E: My mother was a house wife and my father was, it's complicated, he was a legal
accountant, you know he had an office... he used to be famous and rich before the 1952
revolution, actually not before the 1952 revolution till what they call socialist laws in 1962, after
1962 I think he was devastated, and this is why I didn't go to language school as my sisters, my
elder sister they went to the American college which has art during the 1970's and 1960's ???
(tape 1 at minute 16:07). So in 1962 this... and I think before, but you know I can't remember,


but I remember for example that they had a car with a driver and after that we didn't have this
car, we sold it I think. I remember that my father hated the revolution and the military people
and anyone related to military etc., you know, it was for him that this is someone who is less
qualified than other people, and I remember when I was a child and one of my sisters she's, all
of them are older than me because you now I came a bit late, so she was about to be engaged
and she was in love with a man from the Navy, so it was a disaster, that how come his daughter
wants to be married to one from a military background, this I remember. While he was very
happy with the other bridegroom who was an engineer from university not from a military
background. This is about my father and mother. You know they are, we are middle class sort
of, not a very high class that sort of high class, sort of highly educated and... not rich. But I think
you know they had some properties and a house, a land here, etc., this is what supported the
family much more the office itself. I think around the 1970's he not recovered, but he took
some works to the government but it was divided into different projects, offices, so... and he
was working from home. He left, from what I knew, I did not live it by myself but he moved
from an office in the Mobilia building to an office in Martin Liwa which was, can't remember
where in Downtown, to another place in Giza and then to you know, it's ??? (tape 1 at minute
20:25) where our house was, our house was there. So this is father, mother was a housewife,
she was great, she was very intelligent and from a different background but you know, she is...
though her sister was director of a secondary school, a brother engineer and another brother a
doctor, a medical doctor, but you know she got married, she decided not to continue
education. This is what, you know, what else? We are 7 brothers and sisters, 3 brothers and 3
sisters and they are all elder than me, older than me, and you know the difference between
myself and my older brother is 7 years, so 7 and then you add 2 each time which means 9, 11,
and so, the difference between me and my eldest sister is 16 years. Too much. I was brought up
in an atmosphere which is elder than my age, and it was really good, and you know they used
to take me with them as an excuse, "we're going out", "Okay, take your sister with you" so it's...
I think this was very useful for me. I started reading when I was very young. I can't remember
when I really started when I went to school because I really started reading before, you know,
it's in the house with all the sisters and brothers, they used to speak English and French,


because they used to be in foreign schools so I got the language from the house more than
at???? (tape 1 at minute 23:34) I started reading when I was, I think my first play was a one-act
play of ??? (tape 1 at minute 23:48) of course it was translated into Arabic and I was in fifth
grade. Yeah, so... And I used to go with my brother, this brother who introduced me to the
world of theatre etc. because he used to write and direct, he was in the faculty of agriculture, I
have 3, 2 brothers and 1 sister who went to the faculty of agriculture, and their faculty was very
famous with it artistic activities, so I used to go with him and see, I went to the opera house,
the one which was burned, it was burned in 1970 or 1971?
N.P: I think 1972
I.E: When I went to see the opera, introduced by the students of the faculty of agriculture, so
that's it, in 1967 I was a child, I was in elementary school, and I remember the painting on the
glasses, or you know bringing this blue paper to put on the glass of the house, and that we had
a corridor in the house and we used during the 6-Day war, we used to go this corridor as it was
sort of protective and no light inside, and this is what I remember from the 1967. I remember
the fights between my father and my sisters and brothers who were Nasserists and they loved
Nasser and they were defending him, while my father with his hatred to what happened to him,
you know he was against Nasser and his politics etc., he was not very happy as well with Sadat
because you know, regarding his background as an officer as well, so it's not the issue, you
know but, because I can't remember sides so I can't remember what was his point of view, but I
remember the fights between him and my sisters and brothers about Nasser, so it was... and
you know the whole house they were crying when Nasser died and you know with the funeral
etc., and he was mocking them... so this I remember very well. So, it's... I don't know what their
point of view now is, but they loved him, they loved him, they defended him very much. I hated
him, I didn't love Nasser because I wasn't grown up to love him but I hated him, I really hated
him, because he ruined, from my point of view, he ruined the society, with this openness you
know, this policy of people sitting in cafes and making business and making deals, so you this
rich people from very... uneducated, I don't care if they are from the rich part of society but I
care about education because to put money in the hands of uneducated people, from my point


of view this is a disaster, this is what happened to the Egyptian society since then, that the
people who were not educated they got the money and the people who are educated and they
needed a better life they left to the Gulf, and this is another investment, what they call
petrodollars, this petrodollars became worth a different mentality and if and if, and this is I
experienced myself, people change you know when they experience this richness, easy money.
And this is what happened with my first, ex-husband, the father of my daughter, he was a
pharmacist and when he was young he was leaning to be a leftist and when we stayed in Saudi
Arabia for a while he was changed. So, this is what I mean by petrodollars and this
consumerism, people boast they are doing nothing but buy things, even things they don't need.
??? (tape 1 at minute 30:47), we have nothing, no theater, no movies, o art whatsoever, it's
either a visit between friends and if you have a family there
TAPE 2
Iman Ezzeddine: and not all the people have families there, so people go to eat and buy things,
etc. even at that time, the early 1980's, no television whatsoever, so it was 2 channels one of
them most of the time it's the Qura and the other one which is in the English language cartoons
for children, and very few programs and nothing, you know it's nothing, so you know it was
really a disaster, I couldn't bear it. You know? I have, you know, I can't bring up my daughter in
this environment, so... so this is the family, father, mother and brothers and sisters. What else?
You tell me.
Nicola Pratt: You mentioned that you hated Sadat. Did you participate in a student movement
in the university in demonstrations against...
I.E: Yes, once, once. I participated in a demonstration, I should go back a bit, in the
demonstrations of the... when my two elder brothers, they were in Cairo university at the time
of Sadat and they got arrested when at that time they went inside Cairo university where the
tanks or whatever, they got arrested, one of them got out just after a day or something, the
other stayed there for about 3 or 4 days, at that time I was in the first year of my secondary
school, and it was the same year my elder brother immigrated to Australia, so this was tough,
so 3 years after I went to the university and I participated in a demonstration, but at that time


because of Sadat you know, he gave power to the Islamists, so it was not the you know it was
not the police, it was not the security, it was the Islamists, and they used to hit the other
students with hoses and metal chains etc, at the day I got a neighbor who was the friend of my
brother and he dragged me out of the demonstration and he told me he won't be able to
confront these people so this was my only participation as a student in the demonstrations
against Sadat, and after that as I told you I got married and I left the country and I came back,
and... so it was once actually.
N.P: Is this why you're against the Islamists? Because you remember student days?
I.E: No, no. I am against anyone who speaks on behalf of God or in behalf of religion, even if
he's a Christian or whatever, I am against mixing religion in politics or anything you know, you
are religious, okay, so this your business, you go to church, you go to the mosque, you pray, you
do whatever you like, but get away from my way of life, you know, don't... don't impose your
thoughts on me, don't tell me that you have to be veiled, and don't tell me that this is the right
and this is the wrong because I'm a person, I have a brain, I can judge, I can choose, so... and if
you go back, this is the problem you know since the time of Sadat and after that, it was the veil
that dominated the way of dressing, people now, they are now ugly, really ugly, you know the
way they are, you know, the girl she wants to be chick and she wants to be veiled, she doesn't
want but you know the society and her family and whatever, you know they are forcing her to
be that so maybe she is wearing a blue tight, blue jeans with a blouse, a tight one, and then she
is putting a veil or she is wearing this tent and you cannot see who is this, so I think they, it's...
they rules the elegant stylish way of life, and how to be, how to act, how to sit and eat, how to
behave, and how to speak, how to be a woman, at the same time a respected person, so this is
why you know I really hate them. So it's not only the demonstration, this is part of my hatred to
Sadat, is because he was the one who empowered them, who was the first one to empower the
students, especially the students at the universities, you know the Islamist students in the
university. He gave them this power just to fight the, between brackets, the communists. We
don't have, you know the maximum we have some elftist but not communists by definition of
communists, and you know, he played with fire and this fire got him shot.


N.P: When you came back from Saudi Arabia, did you find Egypt was different?
I.E: At the very beginning it was not that different. You know because I came back... I settled
down in 1987, you know, settled down back in 1987, yes it was, but you know, relatively, it was
not as bad as after that. So, it was changed, but you know at that time yes it was changed but it
was not that bad. I discovered it's really bad in the 1990's, when I came back from Italy. You
know in Italy when I met people from different backgrounds, etc., I discovered that Egypt has
changed a lot and people have changed a lot, so you know, it took me some time, I don't know,
maybe I was busy, maybe the situation was bad from the very beginning but I was busy you
know with my daughter, with my masters and then my PhD, you know my problems, divorcing
and etc., so maybe you know I was a bit busy, but I discovered this when I came back from Italy,
it was really bad. But I think you know nothing comes out of the blue like this, it's accumulation.
So, it's because of Sadat yes. This is the first brick that you put in the wall of giving power to the
Islamists, and this is why Egypt??? (tape 2 at minute 10:30) and because at the time of Mubarak
that deals between them, he got the power and then he manipulated them and he played with
them a very dangerous game, so this is how they went into power and how they got this power
during these years because they became, you know, with the first idea ??? (tape 2 at minute
11:04), oh yes, how they were misunderstood and poor then they were in prisons you know,
etc., while people you know they did not recognize that it was a game, you know we will give
you piece of the cake but you stay within this, if you look to the money of these Muslim
Brotherhood giants like Khairat Al-Shater, like Malik, when did they make their money? In the
time of Mubarak. So, this is the, you know, they created this you know genie or whatever to
frighten us, either me or them, so it's you, okay, we agree. So, I think this is the thing, yeah.
Anyone speaks in the name of religion I don't really trust him, and all my experiences during my
life it was with people who are speaking in the name of religion, he is a religious person, e
knows God, I know God, it's... get out of my way (12:58) you know, but he knows God he is
religious he goes to the mosque five times a week, and then you find him a thief, a liar and
everything, so I don't trust them. I don't, all my experience is proving that they are bad, they
are really bad. And then, you know when they sacked me away from my job, it was not even, I
don't care about it because this is not my real job, I'm a university professor, this is my real job,


but you know, it's when you are doing your job in a place you're made even with this one from
the Brotherhood whom they appointed him and you know he speaks with you in a friendly way
less than a week and then on a Saturday night you receive a phone call from his secretary
saying that sorry doctor, you're not anymore in this profession. So, you know, he didn't even
bother you know... it was not only me we were four at that time in this situation but you know
this guy who is a religious guy and he knows God you know between brackets by the definition
of people, you know, he didn't bother to call for a meeting and tell us sorry we do have
different policies etc., so it will not suit you or suit us to collaborate together and cooperate
etc., so this is the nice decent way to tell people that you are not wanted anymore in this place,
but not with a phone call on a Saturday night to tell people that you're not... and then, not only
that, that we are not wanted because we are corrupt, and you know... so these are the
Islamists, this is my experience with them all time long, so it's proven.
N.P: Going back to the 9th of March, when you joined them
I.E: Oh yeah
N.P: So why did you join the 9th of March, how did you hear about them and why did you join?
I.E: Yeah. I will tell you. You know, I heard about them in their first reunion, but again at that
time I had this back problem and ii had a car accident at that time, my car was broken, and my
back was semi-broken, so I couldn't go to this big meeting of March 9th, which was the first
one. After that, almost a year after or less than a year, a friend of mine and a colleague of mine
at the English department whose name was Saad Al-Anani he was attacked by a police officer
inside the university. He was attacked and it was a big fight and he tore apart his shirt, it was a
scandal. So, it was the rule of March 9 that this is for the independence or autonomy of the
universities and no university has to have a police officer inside. So I went to their meeting
when we had this problem and since that time I joined and it's a monthly meeting, it was on the
first Wednesday of the month at the club of teaching staff members in the University of Cairo
which is in Al-Manial that club of the Cairo university staff members, and since that time you
know I participated in all the demonstrations, you know, standings or whatever, we went to
Alexandria, we went to... we went to Alexandria many times, one of them was in the... because


the administration refused to appoint an assistant because she has a leftist background, so we
went there and demonstrated and we met with the director of the university at that time, we
went many times after that for the children's hospital, I don't know if you know in Alexandria
now there is the Bibliotica Alexandrina, and just beside the Bibliotica Alexandrina there is a
children's hospital, the ??? (tape 2 at minute 19:59) children hospital. And this is the only
hospital that, you know, gives this service for not only the children of Alexandria but for 3 or 4
governorates around Alex, and we heard that Suzan Mubarak wanted to demolish this hospital
and to take this piece of land because it was just beside bibliotica Alexandrina her baby library,
and so to extend the bibliotica. So we went many times and demonstrated and we aborted this.
So it was one of the things that I'm really proud of, and I think that Ismael Sirag Eddine will
never forget this for me, because as a classicist I told him in a meeting that the bibliotica was
burned twice before, one what they call it in the Roman period and one what they call it when
the Arabs came to Egypt and nobody knows exactly but it was burned, and I'm afraid that if you
do this project it will be burned again, so, be careful about that, no one would allow the
biblitica to take the hospital, it was only me we were many from the March 9 movement, but...
and we went to Menia, we demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Higher Education in Qasr
Al-Ainy stret, can't remember why but we did it, and many, many times in Cairo university and
once or twice it was just before the revolution, and this is a very funny story. Before the
revolution, November 2010, you know, we got the court order that the Ministry of Interior, the
police, should go out of it, and then the group said that we will come to Ain Shams university
where I work to distribute the court order to the students to the staff members, etc. and it was
Thursday, it was the 3rd or the 4th of November, but it was Thursday, and you know I told them
sorry I have a lecture at the American university in Tahrir to the casa??? (tape 2 at minute
23:34) program you know, teaching Arabic as a foreign language, you know, they asked me to
give the students a lecture in art, it was about cinema, Egyptian cinema in the 1960's, anyway,
what happeed is that there was a fight and the police they brought thugs inside the university
and they attacked the professors from Ain-Shams and from Cairo university who came to this
court order. After a week or 10 days I found a paper from the faculty of law that I am and two
other colleague professors, Radwa Ashour if you know the name and Huda Abaza, she is a


colleague of mine from the French department, that we are now under investigation from the
university and the faculty of law because the dawn of the faculty of law is responsible to
investigate, if there is an investigation he is the one who's responsible to investigate with the
staff member. Why? If it is because of what happened on Thursday I was not there. Okay... so
they discovered this, that they put my name as a March 9 member without actually seeing me,
without participating you know. Ad it was really funny because you now they sent me people
trying to convince me okay, you write a memorandum telling them that you were not there and
they will exclude you from this investigation. I told them so what? You do the wrong thing and I
come to correct it for you? I will not. I will not give you this paper because as long as I was not
physically there so all the investigation is wrong, so we stayed in this almost just before the
revolution, Radwa went to the States because she had an operation there and I stayed with
Huda and then you know, the investigation director he started to call us, come and very, very
funny thing about it you know, otherwise you know he was very arrogant and he speaks to
people like this, and when the dean at that time told me please go to the director he wants to
speak with you etc., at that time my daughter got the... what they call it? The pigs flu
N.P: Swine flu
I.E: She got swine flu, then so I called the dean and I told him, now, my daughter got swine flu,
would you like me to go and meet the director? I can go now, do you like me to... against all
odds, I find you know, a telephone call and then, Dr. Iman Ezzeddine yes, so this is the office of
director ad he will speak to you. Hello, how are you? How is our daughter? Our daughter! So
how did you discover it, and blab la bla yes I did the, this the blood analysis ??? (tape 2 at
minute 28:25) and so where did you do? We have a very good lab at the university, no no no! I
go to private doctors and private labs and etc. so, you know, I'm telling you this because
otherwise we are thousands, we are thousands of staff members and I don't think that he calls
even you know, even if the professor himself is sick, so can you imagine to call me, my humble
person to ask about my daughter? So because the situation was very bad. Anyway, so this
passed away and then the revolution, so this was December, January, and then the 25th of


January came and everything was different after that. To the good to the worse I don't know,
but it has been changed a lot.
N.P: Just one more question about the period before the revolution. Apart from the incident
where you were accused of being... where you entered an investigation for being in a
demonstration where you weren't??? (tape 2 at minute 30:08), did you have any other
experiences of administrative or security interference in your work in the university?
I.E: Not very much, I remember only once I have a cinema club at the... of the department, but I
allow any student from any other department to attend, and I remember when the police was
still there that someone came in and told me that some of these security people come and ask
about the movies, what is this movie? Etc., who is inside
TAPE 3
Iman Ezzeddine: outside, so I brought the two offices into my office and I told them I am
treating you as a brother, as a younger brother, but if you think about interfering in my activity
and you will find a totally different face. You know, don't you ever think that you will ever
interfere in this, to think that that these offices, they wanted to interfere in who to bring and
who not to bring, they had a list, a black list, you cannot invite you know this journalist or this,
this or that, so it was really bad, they really interfered in that, but sometimes you know if they
know you and they know that you will face them, they get you know a step back, so this was
the only thing that happened with me, I heard about that Dr. Edward Srour ??? (tape 3 at
minute 01:36) wanted to invite the head donor ??? (tape 3 at minute 1:38) for a lecture for the
post graduate and they refused. You know, I invited Ibrahim Aslan and I invited Khaled Al-
Khamisi, I invited many people but you know, didn't care about them to tell you the truth, I
didn't care about them and I didn't ask for their permission.so you know, this is what happened.
I know if they got the chance interfere, yes. For example we failed to make one of the annual
meetings of March 9 in Ain Shams University, it was always in Cairo University, Ain Shams
university was you know... it's a very good place for the ministry of interior and their officers,
specially the secret agents, and people... I'm speaking of something that because Ain Shams
university is or was at that time year near to Nasser's house, so it was under the eye of Sami


Sharaf, his private secretary, so since that time the secret service is very powerful in Ain Shams
university, though it's from Nasser to Sadat and from Sadat to Mubarak but you know, it was...
this is what I heard that it started this way because you know, the distance between the
university and Nasser's house is 5 kilometers or something, and it's less than 3 kilometers from
the ministry of defense now, so we had problems because of this, you know, attacks to the
ministry of defense sometimes, you know this term I couldn't go twice to the university because
of the demonstrations and when they closed the Abbasiyya square and from the either side the
ministry of defense, the gas, you know, the students would be like: Oh, don't come, I can't
breathe and... it's very bad, etc., so I think Cairo university has another... Cairo university is
away from anywhere else, while Ain Shams it's near to the Heliopolis (tape 3 at minute 4:59)
area, to Nasser's house and the ministry of defense, it's near to the cathedral, it's near to the...
central...
Nicola Pratt: Spot
I.E: Yeah
N.P: Can I ask you about the 25th of January? So did you... you said you didn't go down on the
25th of January, but you had heard that there would be a demonstration?
I.E: Yes
N.P: What did you think?
I.E: I wanted to go, but you know I was afraid that I would not be fit, and my daughter she
discouraged me, no, it could be risky and you're not very fit, so we stayed on the internet until...
and we have a friend, a relative and a friend at the same time, he was posting all the posts of a
friend of his who was in Tahrir square, etc., so it was very exciting, so this is what makes us
prepare ourselves for the 28th, and... people went on the 26th and 27th, I did not because I had
exams at the university, the 25th was a day off but 26th and 27th it was exams, so I said no, I
will save myself to the Friday one, and it was amazing, it was an amazing experience. I went
with my daughter and we met, I think another friend who lives with us in Muqattam, she is as
well a staff of Cairo university, French department as well, and we went together in a taxi, we


didn't take our cars, and because the meeting point was in Mustafa Mahmoud square in front
of the mosque, so we went together 3 of us and then we met there Madiha and all the other
friends, Reem, Malak, you know, everybody, all the gang, and Huda ??? (tape 3 at minute 7:45)
I can't remember if Hala Kamal was with us or not, I can't remember now but at least after that
we were together, and the negotiations it was whether to go to the same mosque where El-
Baradie and Dr. Abu Nuwwar (tape 3 at minute 8:05) were there in Al-lstiqama mosque in Giza,
or to go to Mustafa Mahmoud and we decided to go to Mustafa Mahmoud. We walked from
Muhandeseen, we met all the soldiers of the ministry of interior, you know, we shouted
"Peaceful, peaceful" and until we arrived to... just before Al-Gala'a bridge and then it was a
fight, a big fight, with gas and even they fired tear gas on a flat, just beside a gas station, and
the flat was flamed, it was risky. And then we saw the first rows, they could, you know, took a
police car, and then we walked through the bridge and walked and then we stopped in the
middle of Qasr Al-Nile bridge, and it was to pray on it, it was the afternoon prayer, and we were
in the middle of the bridge and the people who prayed started to pray and all of a sudden we
found a huge attack from the police, so we ran away backwards and they threw tear gas, a lot
of tear gas, and at that time we had onion, pepsi and vinegar in our bag, and this was the advice
of the Tunisian people, so we were prepared by the advice of the Tunisian people that it's you
know, onion, vinegar and pepsi, and masks. And so we got attacked by the police and by the
tear gas and I remember I was choking because one of them just fell beside me and exploded,
and you can ask Madiha and ask my daughter about it, I was... they were afraid, you know, and I
started to shout and you know, and call names, and then we stayed near the Al-Ahli club. We
sat on the pavement and we saw people who are really wounded, and I saw a friend of mine,
he is a director and he is at the same time he's a staff member of the faculty of physical
education, and I saw him, they were carrying him, people were carrying him and he was all
blood and his eye was about, he was about to lose his eye but thank God we sent him to a
doctor and it was... they took a lot of wounded people, from you know, the bullets, whether
this what they call Khartoush, the khartoush bullets or the rubber bullets or whatever, so we
stayed there till it was about sunset and we left to Madiha's house, she lives in Zamalik, so we
left to her house and we stayed there and she was looking for her daughter, she couldn't find


her, it was a mess, because at that time they cut communication so it was landlines only, and so
it was difficult and the curfew it started from that time, we didn't know that a curfew started
but when we went home at her house we knew that the curfew started. So, at that time we
started to go to Tahrir square every day. But we did not sleep, we used to stay the whole day or
half a day or whatever, and most of the time we were in Zamalik because I live in Muqattam
which, you know, it's very easy to be isolated there. In the camel invasion day, I was... I left the
square just before that, I was at Madiha's house but the night before my daughter decided to
go all by herself and I went, I left the Tahrir square around 2 o'clock, so I did not, I didn't see
what happened exactly in the square. That night I was in Muqattam, was asleep, my sister was
in Japan at that time, she sent me a message, a text message telling me that there was a
problem in the CNN, so this text message awakened me up, and I opened the television on the
CNN and I saw that at that time the attacks and you know, the fire, and you know, and the
people who are getting killed, and I started to felt helpless, I can't find anyone, and I'm looking
for the people... and so I think I called Malak, yes, I called Malak, it was 2, it was almost 2
o'clock in the morning, and I started to cry and scream, "they're killing them, they're killing
them" so she told me calm down, calm down... she had Reem and at that time Reem was
asleep, and at that time Reems' husband was going to Tahrir square, and she told me, don't
shout, Reem is asleep and Nassif is going to the square, so what can we do? Shall we call
anyone? Do anything? Where is Madiha? And I discovered that Madiha at that time was stuck
in the square and then she went up to... you know, he was a friend of friends but he was not
himself a close friend, one of the famous figures of the revolution because of his geographic
existence, Pierre Syoufi, I don't know if you heard of Pierre Syoufi, Pierre Syoufi he is the owner
of a building just on the square, and he lives in the fifth or 7th floor, and his apartment was
open for everybody, if you want to go to the toilet, if you want to have a nap, if you want to eat
something, the revolutionary people you know... they went there. So Madiha spent the night
there, and at that time they couldn't even look from the balcony or something you know, they
closed everything because it was very dangerous, she will tell you about this experience
because it was really bad. And I remember, I don't know if that day or a day before, I think it
was the 31st of January, helicopters were scaring people, they started to get nearer and nearer


to the square, and then with the F-something they started to go over the square and then we
thought, are they going to shoot us like in China? Would it be like that? And I remember
Thursday it was after Mubarak's speech that he started to tell people that he's not any more
willing for the power and he will leave in 6 months and people started really to think, okay, for
God's sake give him this, 6 months... but that day, you know, that changed the people's idea. So
we started to go every day until the 11th of February, when he announced that... and we
started to go every Friday for whatever occasion it is, and we went against the Islamist, we
went against, you know, till the 3rd of July, I went the 30th, the 3rd, but I did not go on the
26th, which was the "tafweed" (authorization), what you call "tafweed"? it's...
N.P: I think you're talking about when Sisi asked people to mandate him to fight terrorism
I.E: Yeah, yeah. I did not, for two reasons, and this is you know what I wrote even on Facebook
that, glory for those who have backache... I really had a very bad... and at that time I was really
hesitant, I'm not for military people at all, but I'm not for the Islamists at the same time, so it
was a dilemma... so I think God gave me this excuse not to go. But you know, I worked a lot
from January 28th during these 3 years, you know, against Mubarak and against the Islamists,
against the Muslim Brotherhood and against Mursi, you know, but since the 3rd of July I did not
join any demonstration, because the situation is really bad... I'm not for military solutions but at
the same time I'm against the MB and the Islamists...all together. But I shouted against the
military after Maspiro, Maspiro this was a disaster, do you know Maspiro? At that time I was in
Dahab, because at that time it was a vacation, the 6th of October, because the Friday, the 6th
of October and then a weekend, so my daughter and I decided to take a break and we went to
Dahab. So, what happened, Maspiro it was the 9th of October, and we came back on the 10th
of October and saw what a disaster, what really was a disaster, it happened on October 9th, it
was really a massacre, and all the demonstrations after that I shouted against the military, it
was unacceptable, it was really unacceptable, and in Muhammad Mahmoud, the cabinet
building, yes I am, I can't forgive them and I can't forget what happened, but now, I don't know
if they learned the lesson, to be beside people and not against them, but I don't think that they
learned, it's their mentality, it's different. And now I really, since Maspiro, I remember my


father, and now I usually say this, I was brought up in a house with a father that hates military
people... but after the 3rd of July the situation is as you see, the things are really bad, the MB
and the support from the outside and the money and everything, it's not easy to confront it,
just with the orderly way. At the same time I don't want to go back to the 1952 thing. 60 years
of military governance, not again I Please, at the same time I don't want an Islamic rule, so this
is the dilemma, it's really a dilemma what to do, to resign from the country? Try to find another
place, it's really bad, it's really bad, and I... unfortunately it's well... I had a conference in
Singapore; I left Cairo on the 16th of August, 2 days after the dispersing of the sit-in, the Rabe'a
thing and I was attacked there, not... I mean that the none-lslamists of... who killed people etc,,
who., seculars, whatever, so you have to explain to people from the very beginning, and it was
really difficult, and in November, last November I had a conference in Prague, Czech, it was
about theater and revolution, and there I was asked again that you killed the people in... it's...
you know, this is a coup d'etat, and before in September I was in another conference, I was in
Cambridge, and because it was this problem as well, the coup d'etat ad the Islamist, so it is and
it was difficult to explain things and not to defend the military and to explain to them that the
country could have been in a disaster if we let the MB and Muris and the Islamists to rule for
the 4 years and then to wait and then, you know, as you can see now, you know, Sinai and what
is going on, yesterday I have a relative who was killed in... in the mukhabarat, the military, he
was a secret agent for the military in Sinai, it was a car accident, but it's not an ordinary car
accident, it's not his first car accident but he died yesterday. He is, the cousin... my niece's
cousin. So it's tough, it's really tough. I don't know what happened, but I know it is tough.
N.P: Could you say something about your work in the university since the revolution? You said
that things have changed.
I.E: Yes. To tell you the truth we got benefits from the revolutions. It's that deans, you know the
dean of the faculty and the director of the university they used to be appointed, and here to be
appointed this is...
TAPE 4


Iman Ezzedine: something, you know, those people who are appointed it's whether they have
connections, it's you know, and the secret security etc., involved in appointing those, so after
the revolution we insisted that those people have to be elected. So elections started at the
faculty of art, it was the first place to start elections, so we started elections in the faculty of
art, it was April ??? (tape 4 at minute 00:42), and then we put a system on how to elect the
director of the university from you know, you elect for example 3 professors from each faculty
and then this makes a committee that elects the... so this to some extent it's good, because
there's election and not appointment. Another thing that we got a raise, a very good one,
because you know our salaries it was really... it was really bad, it was not changed since the
seventies, only some incentives and some bonuses etc., so we got a good raise. What else? You
know now... everybody is... you have all the cards, now it's open, there were some people who
were Islamists but in the hide, and some others we didn't know about them, now you know
everybody, you know all masks are down, you know people and you know who is in the, you
know... it's not the ideology but I mean how people think and how they, who are really with the
revolution and who are really against the revolution, who are with the Muslim Brotherhood and
who are really salafis, now you know, before you didn't, so this is good, this, you know, whether
you are with or against or whatever but at least you know. And I think this is good. Now these
days it's a bit scary because in some, in the faculty of engineering for example people, students
they can't go to the exams because the students from the Brotherhood would prevent them
from going to the exams, even if they want. So the administration is afraid, they are afraid of
them and I don't know what will happen. In the faculty of arts we have less Brotherhood, we
have some but it's, for example, ??? (tape 4 at minute 4:12) from 5 to 7 percent, so they are
not... and they are, you know, for example, the department, Arabic department, history
department, it's, you know, but at the drama department for example we don't have, so it's a
bit scary but hopefully we will manage to go through this. You know the situation at Ain Shams
University is less scary than Cairo University. This is because of the geographical distribution,
because you know here you go the university which is nearer to your house, so I went to Ain
Shams university because I live in Heliopolis or I used to live thin Hilopolis, so this is why. In
Cairo university it's the same, so most of the students they are from the places which are a bit


poor or sort of countryside areas, and these are full of Brotherhood, and they have Dar Al-
Oloum which is something like Al-Azhar so it's full of Brotherhood, they have this problem in
the faculty of engineering and maybe the medicine, and the thing that most of the Brotherhood
they are in what we call the science or pure science faculties, they don't have this way of
imagination, artistic way, no, it's either medicine, engineering, science you know, otherwise...
so this is why... you know they don't have Dar Al-Oloum for example in Ain Shams, plus the
social level from where we are coming, we are coming from Heliopolis, Nasr City, Shobra,
which is full of Christians, Daher, Christians as well, so we have a big part of the Christians and a
bit higher social status. Nasr City has a lot of MB because Nasr City people most of them came
to Nasr City from other places after going to the Gulf area, after going to Saudi Arabia, you
know and the Gulf area, and those people are if they're not MB by themselves they are people
who love the MB or compassionate with them, while you cannot a Brotherhood in Heliopolis
for example, because people in Heliopolis they are, you know, it's since along time it has its
society so we don't have a lot of intruders, between brackets... so you know, this is the situation
now, and honestly I don't know what will happen. Let's hope for the best and cross our fingers.
Nicola Pratt: can I ask about the Social Democratic Party, before we started recording, so after
the revolution you joined the Social Democratic Party.
I.E: Yeah.
N.P: Can you tell me why you chose the Social Democratic Party and not another party, and also
what role you played within the party?
I.E: I chose this Social Democratic Party because you know I believe in social justice. I'm not a
socialist by the meaning of a leftist person, but I'm a socialist by the meaning I believe in free
education, in free medical health, you know, that this is for reaching the poor, for everybody, so
this is number one, and number two because the president of the Social Democratic Party Dr.
Abu Nuwwar is a person whom I trust very much, he's really a ??? (tape 4 at minute 10:03)
person, and he is the founder of the March 9 as well, so I think these reason are enough to join
the party plus, you know, I couldn't join any other party because this was not... can I join the Al-
Masriyyeen Al-Ahrar for example which is a very right wing you know party or I don't know


these parties which, the old ones like Al-Wafd or you know, for example, I can't do it, it's... you
know, I did not join the Coalition Party for example because they are too left for me, it's, you
know, I like many people from this party and maybe you know they are nearer to my point of
view than the Social Democratic but it's difficult you know for a party like the Coalition for
example to succeed in politics you know, we need sometimes more time to build a left-oriented
party, so this is why I joined... not to join any other party. You know I participated in the
beginning in the party in the committee of high education, I was very much involved and then I
noticed that this is not my way of thinking, they are not more to the right than I think... so I
withdrew but I did not leave the party but I withdrew from the activities of the party, I didn't
participate in the committees etc. in the party because I noticed that it is not up to my vision of
my social... a social party, unfortunately though I still love and respect and adore Dr. Abu
Nuwwar, and many other people like Ziyad Bahaa Eddine for example, Huda Sadda ??? (tape 4
at minute 13:13), Madiha ??? (tape 4 at minute 13:15), you know many other people, I respect
them very much but you know it's a bit difficult for me to find people for example in the
committee speaking about free education should stop, for example, to whatever second school
or whatever, and then if people want they have to pay and, you know, I remember in one of the
meetings I told them, people can wear whatever they want, they can eat whatever they want
or they can pay for food, clothes, whatever, but for education this I cannot accept. So when I
found people that are on a different hue I decided to withdraw.
N.P: Do you think that.... Do you have any plans in the coming period to get involved in any
initiatives, any activities beyond your work?
I.E: You know, I would like to find a suitable place to participate within cultural work, you know,
because when I noticed, before the 30th of June after the liberals or sectarians were sacked
away from the ministry of culture and if you remember that the shows that were in front of the
sit-in in the ministry of culture, this was art and culture for everybody, art and culture on the
street, so this I believe very much in it, and if I can... if I find or if I can you know participate in a
group like that, this would be my goal, it's... this it the thing because I think culture... education
culture will be against racism against this way of thinking and depending on religion, people has


to find other solutions than religion if they find a nice movie, a nice you know, theater, play to
watch, a nice piece of poetry, piece of art to see, I think this is the thing, I mean, this is what I
would like to try, and I have one experience, a small experience where I have an experience
with the society of Ahmad Bahaa Eddine which is in Upper Egypt in Asyout, in a very poor
country, in a very poor village in the countryside of Asyout, a small piece of land which the
family of Ahmad Bahaa Eddine had, where he was born in this village, so and they built sort of a
cultural center, and there I met children who go there and people who learn music, acting, and
you know, drawing and everything. It's difficult to go there all the time but at least I go there
once a year and I was there in last November, I remember, I took the plane, it was to
participate in an even there, I took the plane at 5 o'clock, at 6 o'clock we arrived to Asyout, it
was... it was Mursi with his constitutional order, if you remember, it was like the 27th of
November, which aroused all the demonstrations in Al-Ittihadiyya, things that took place you
know in Ittihadiyya it was after this constitutional...
N.P: declaration
I.E: Yeah. So this is my last time in Upper Egypt, but I hosted them, I hosted you know the youth
who will, you know, team or participate with children in Bab Al-Khalq, where I work, I hosted a
conference for them, lectures for 3 days in Bab Al-Khalq, so you know, I love working with such
poor organizations or whatever.
N.P: Is there anything else that you'd like ot say that I didn't ask you about that you think is
important?
I.E: I think no, I spoke about everything... you know, I spoke since I was a kid till you know, the
day before yesterday. So it's... no, it's... I think really supporting the cultural activities is very
important, and to put the right person in the ministry of culture, this is one of the most
important things that Egypt needs. Yes, I know that there are poor people and people who
want to eat and you know live and have houses, etc., yes I know that these are essentials, but
culture is essential as well, so this is education and culture, the right education not any
education, the right education and the... you know, how to see art and literature, this is very
important. That's it.


N.P: Thank you so much
I.E: You're welcome


Full Text
Interview with Iman Ezzeddine
(2014)

TAPE 1
Nicola Pratt: can I ask where and when were you born?
Iman Ezzeddine: Yeah, born in 1956 in Cairo, I was born in a neighborhood called Saraya Al-Qobbah, which was a nice neighborhood but we left to??? (tape 1 at minute 00:23) when I was 3 years old, which means I didn't know anything about the neighborhood except that my aunts were living there so they we used to go and visit them. So I am a person from ???? (tape 1 at minute 00:41). You know, till the secondary school… I went to a semi-private school you know, it's what they call national schools, it's not a foreign school or an international school, it was sort of a private school where we learn English but not as the other schools that you take the math and science in English, so it was only English language plus the ordinary curriculum for the government schools. I think it's good for the parents, they think of it as part of protection, you will not go to governmental school because this is where everybody, so it was very good and much better as education, I mean in teaching. But it was fun, you know, in preparatory, in secondary school, it's only for girls so we used to the boys school to play sports etc, because we didn't have playgrounds at the girls school, we used to go every Monday and Thursday, and the boys you know were waiting for us there. I used to be a basketball player and then I was in the… the team of… first of ???? (tape 1 at minute 3:08) and then I was upgraded to the country's one, but I left the team the high school, and then, at that time I was playing ping pong, tennis table, and after I went to university I started to play as well, it was just by chance but I played fencing as well, so this is my sport life, it ended of course after the marriage because I was married in 1981 and I left Egypt to Saudi Arabia where my husband or my ex, he used to work there, and I got my daughter, my one and only one in 1984, she went to engineering, you know the college of engineering, and she worked as an engineer for 2 years and she left engineering after that, she works in a bank now. I was appointed as junior assistant at the university… originally I graduated from classical department ??? (tape 1 at minute 04:54), I went to the ??? because I wanted to study theater, and I had 2 choices, it's either to go to academy of arts which my father denied me this because you know of the atmosphere and the environment and the people and everything, so the thing it was that I go to the faculty of arts and then join the English department, I did for a month and then I said no, if I want to study theatre I would go from the very beginning, so I joined the classical department to study theatre, my Masters and my PhD was about Greek theater, part of my PhD was in Rome, La Sapienz, I stayed there for two years and before going to Italy as a PhD student I went here to the Dante Alighieri institution, which is the Italian, not the Italian cultural center which was ???? (tape 1 at minute 6:17), no this was an Italian institute for language, by the name of Dante Alighieri the famous poet, and I studied the ???? (tape 1 at minute 6:36) it was a diploma of 3 academic years. I studied there and I had scholarships from the institute, I went to Italy while I was at the university, and I got a grant form university as well, and I went on an exchange visit to Denmark, a youth exchange visit to Denmark, it was in 1977, this was before my graduation, I graduated in 1978 and so in 1977 I went to Denmark with other boys and girls from different faculties in the university of Egypt and in 1978 I went to Perugia for the first time in Italy, and… in 1977 after my visit to Denmark I went to England for the first time as well but this was a family visit, my sister used to live there, in Scotland actually not England, and so this was my first time to Scotland ever… after that you know as in 1978 I was graduated and in 1980 I was engaged, married, ??? (tape 1 at minute 8:17) I went to Saudi Arabia with my ex-husband, we were divorced in 1988, 1988? 1988. MY daughter was born in 1984 and I stayed in Saudi Arabia for a year and then another year coming and going out, I couldn't bear it, I couldn't take it. During my stay the first year I used to work as an English teacher for a secondary school for a year, you know it was an experience to know the Saudi society but it was a high elite school for girls, most of them either from the Royal family or from the top officials or the well of people, the other Arab people, you know, it's either from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, you know, so it was not the real Saudi society but it was part of it. So, you know, being in Saudi Arabia, coming back, the divorce, etc., so you know I was a bit late with my Masters but I finished the Masters in 1988 and then in 1990 I went to Italy for the PhD so I stayed there for 2 years and I stayed there for another 2 years and then I got my PhD. Then, you know I traveled a lot in conferences etc., then I stayed in the department of classics, while in the department I used to teach at the academy of arts, the cinema institute to teach drama in the cinema institute and to teach mythology in the ?? (tape 1 at minute 11:07) institute. And I was responsible for the art activity, I was supervisor for these students and the art activities, you know music, theater, dancing, folkloric dancing which was prohibited by the Islamists I don't know why, and, what then? In 2002, in the academic year 2006-2007 I founded the department of drama and theater which sits at the same faculty of art which I was at, since that time I am at that department. In 2004, no, 2005, because they started in 2004, I joined the group March 9 which is the group which seeks the autonomy or economic independence for universities, so it was a mix between defending the economy and independence of universities, as it was a bit a political… it's not a political group because you know it was joined by different types of people even Islamists, and I say even Islamists because I am anti-Islamist, this my point of view, I am anti-Islamists, so it was even Islamists, leftists, from all over the rainbow, and the most important thing it was the independence or autonomy of university. And honestly through this group I met a lot of people, it was very ??? (tape 1 at minute 13:34) this is all over. We went to demonstrations and you know conferences etc., it was good actually; it was great actually not only good. And… in 2011 I joined the revolution, I did not go the 25th, I had, I have a back problem since 2000, so you know I was not sure whether my back is good and so I was hesitant to go on the 25th, but I went on the 28th, and this is another story… so you asked me about when and where I was born and now, so, maybe you want to ask me something else.
N.P: Yeah, can I just ask you some more details about this first period before the revolution. What did your parents do when you were growing up?
I.E: My mother was a house wife and my father was, it's complicated, he was a legal accountant, you know he had an office… he used to be famous and rich before the 1952 revolution, actually not before the 1952 revolution till what they call socialist laws in 1962, after 1962 I think he was devastated, and this is why I didn't go to language school as my sisters, my elder sister they went to the American college which has art during the 1970's and 1960's ??? (tape 1 at minute 16:07). So in 1962 this… and I think before, but you know I can't remember, but I remember for example that they had a car with a driver and after that we didn't have this car, we sold it I think. I remember that my father hated the revolution and the military people and anyone related to military etc., you know, it was for him that this is someone who is less qualified than other people, and I remember when I was a child and one of my sisters she's, all of them are older than me because you now I came a bit late, so she was about to be engaged and she was in love with a man from the Navy, so it was a disaster, that how come his daughter wants to be married to one from a military background, this I remember. While he was very happy with the other bridegroom who was an engineer from university not from a military background. This is about my father and mother. You know they are, we are middle class sort of, not a very high class that sort of high class, sort of highly educated and… not rich. But I think you know they had some properties and a house, a land here, etc., this is what supported the family much more the office itself. I think around the 1970's he not recovered, but he took some works to the government but it was divided into different projects, offices, so… and he was working from home. He left, from what I knew, I did not live it by myself but he moved from an office in the Mobilia building to an office in Martin Liwa which was, can't remember where in Downtown, to another place in Giza and then to you know, it's ??? (tape 1 at minute 20:25) where our house was, our house was there. So this is father, mother was a housewife, she was great, she was very intelligent and from a different background but you know, she is… though her sister was director of a secondary school, a brother engineer and another brother a doctor, a medical doctor, but you know she got married, she decided not to continue education. This is what, you know, what else? We are 7 brothers and sisters, 3 brothers and 3 sisters and they are all elder than me, older than me, and you know the difference between myself and my older brother is 7 years, so 7 and then you add 2 each time which means 9, 11, and so, the difference between me and my eldest sister is 16 years. Too much. I was brought up in an atmosphere which is elder than my age, and it was really good, and you know they used to take me with them as an excuse, "we're going out", "Okay, take your sister with you" so it's… I think this was very useful for me. I started reading when I was very young. I can't remember when I really started when I went to school because I really started reading before, you know, it's in the house with all the sisters and brothers, they used to speak English and French, because they used to be in foreign schools so I got the language from the house more than at???? (tape 1 at minute 23:34) I started reading when I was, I think my first play was a one-act play of ??? (tape 1 at minute 23:48) of course it was translated into Arabic and I was in fifth grade. Yeah, so… And I used to go with my brother, this brother who introduced me to the world of theatre etc. because he used to write and direct, he was in the faculty of agriculture, I have 3, 2 brothers and 1 sister who went to the faculty of agriculture, and their faculty was very famous with it artistic activities, so I used to go with him and see, I went to the opera house, the one which was burned, it was burned in 1970 or 1971?
N.P: I think 1972
I.E: When I went to see the opera, introduced by the students of the faculty of agriculture, so that's it, in 1967 I was a child, I was in elementary school, and I remember the painting on the glasses, or you know bringing this blue paper to put on the glass of the house, and that we had a corridor in the house and we used during the 6-Day war, we used to go this corridor as it was sort of protective and no light inside, and this is what I remember from the 1967. I remember the fights between my father and my sisters and brothers who were Nasserists and they loved Nasser and they were defending him, while my father with his hatred to what happened to him, you know he was against Nasser and his politics etc., he was not very happy as well with Sadat because you know, regarding his background as an officer as well, so it's not the issue, you know but, because I can't remember sides so I can't remember what was his point of view, but I remember the fights between him and my sisters and brothers about Nasser, so it was… and you know the whole house they were crying when Nasser died and you know with the funeral etc., and he was mocking them… so this I remember very well. So, it's… I don't know what their point of view now is, but they loved him, they loved him, they defended him very much. I hated him, I didn't love Nasser because I wasn't grown up to love him but I hated him, I really hated him, because he ruined, from my point of view, he ruined the society, with this openness you know, this policy of people sitting in cafes and making business and making deals, so you this rich people from very… uneducated, I don't care if they are from the rich part of society but I care about education because to put money in the hands of uneducated people, from my point of view this is a disaster, this is what happened to the Egyptian society since then, that the people who were not educated they got the money and the people who are educated and they needed a better life they left to the Gulf, and this is another investment, what they call petrodollars, this petrodollars became worth a different mentality and if and if, and this is I experienced myself, people change you know when they experience this richness, easy money. And this is what happened with my first, ex-husband, the father of my daughter, he was a pharmacist and when he was young he was leaning to be a leftist and when we stayed in Saudi Arabia for a while he was changed. So, this is what I mean by petrodollars and this consumerism, people boast they are doing nothing but buy things, even things they don't need. ??? (tape 1 at minute 30:47), we have nothing, no theater, no movies, o art whatsoever, it's either a visit between friends and if you have a family there
TAPE 2
Iman Ezzeddine: and not all the people have families there, so people go to eat and buy things, etc. even at that time, the early 1980's, no television whatsoever, so it was 2 channels one of them most of the time it's the Qura and the other one which is in the English language cartoons for children, and very few programs and nothing, you know it's nothing, so you know it was really a disaster, I couldn't bear it. You know? I have, you know, I can't bring up my daughter in this environment, so… so this is the family, father, mother and brothers and sisters. What else? You tell me.
Nicola Pratt: You mentioned that you hated Sadat. Did you participate in a student movement in the university in demonstrations against…
I.E: Yes, once, once. I participated in a demonstration, I should go back a bit, in the demonstrations of the… when my two elder brothers, they were in Cairo university at the time of Sadat and they got arrested when at that time they went inside Cairo university where the tanks or whatever, they got arrested, one of them got out just after a day or something, the other stayed there for about 3 or 4 days, at that time I was in the first year of my secondary school, and it was the same year my elder brother immigrated to Australia, so this was tough, so 3 years after I went to the university and I participated in a demonstration, but at that time because of Sadat you know, he gave power to the Islamists, so it was not the you know it was not the police, it was not the security, it was the Islamists, and they used to hit the other students with hoses and metal chains etc, at the day I got a neighbor who was the friend of my brother and he dragged me out of the demonstration and he told me he won't be able to confront these people so this was my only participation as a student in the demonstrations against Sadat, and after that as I told you I got married and I left the country and I came back, and… so it was once actually.
N.P: Is this why you're against the Islamists? Because you remember student days?
I.E: No, no. I am against anyone who speaks on behalf of God or in behalf of religion, even if he's a Christian or whatever, I am against mixing religion in politics or anything you know, you are religious, okay, so this your business, you go to church, you go to the mosque, you pray, you do whatever you like, but get away from my way of life, you know, don't… don't impose your thoughts on me, don't tell me that you have to be veiled, and don't tell me that this is the right and this is the wrong because I'm a person, I have a brain, I can judge, I can choose, so… and if you go back, this is the problem you know since the time of Sadat and after that, it was the veil that dominated the way of dressing, people now, they are now ugly, really ugly, you know the way they are, you know, the girl she wants to be chick and she wants to be veiled, she doesn't want but you know the society and her family and whatever, you know they are forcing her to be that so maybe she is wearing a blue tight, blue jeans with a blouse, a tight one, and then she is putting a veil or she is wearing this tent and you cannot see who is this, so I think they, it's… they rules the elegant stylish way of life, and how to be, how to act, how to sit and eat, how to behave, and how to speak, how to be a woman, at the same time a respected person, so this is why you know I really hate them. So it's not only the demonstration, this is part of my hatred to Sadat, is because he was the one who empowered them, who was the first one to empower the students, especially the students at the universities, you know the Islamist students in the university. He gave them this power just to fight the, between brackets, the communists. We don't have, you know the maximum we have some elftist but not communists by definition of communists, and you know, he played with fire and this fire got him shot.
N.P: When you came back from Saudi Arabia, did you find Egypt was different?
I.E: At the very beginning it was not that different. You know because I came back… I settled down in 1987, you know, settled down back in 1987, yes it was, but you know, relatively, it was not as bad as after that. So, it was changed, but you know at that time yes it was changed but it was not that bad. I discovered it's really bad in the 1990's, when I came back from Italy. You know in Italy when I met people from different backgrounds, etc., I discovered that Egypt has changed a lot and people have changed a lot, so you know, it took me some time, I don't know, maybe I was busy, maybe the situation was bad from the very beginning but I was busy you know with my daughter, with my masters and then my PhD, you know my problems, divorcing and etc., so maybe you know I was a bit busy, but I discovered this when I came back from Italy, it was really bad. But I think you know nothing comes out of the blue like this, it's accumulation. So, it's because of Sadat yes. This is the first brick that you put in the wall of giving power to the Islamists, and this is why Egypt??? (tape 2 at minute 10:30) and because at the time of Mubarak that deals between them, he got the power and then he manipulated them and he played with them a very dangerous game, so this is how they went into power and how they got this power during these years because they became, you know, with the first idea ??? (tape 2 at minute 11:04), oh yes, how they were misunderstood and poor then they were in prisons you know, etc., while people you know they did not recognize that it was a game, you know we will give you piece of the cake but you stay within this, if you look to the money of these Muslim Brotherhood giants like Khairat Al-Shater, like Malik, when did they make their money? In the time of Mubarak. So, this is the, you know, they created this you know genie or whatever to frighten us, either me or them, so it's you, okay, we agree. So, I think this is the thing, yeah. Anyone speaks in the name of religion I don't really trust him, and all my experiences during my life it was with people who are speaking in the name of religion, he is a religious person, e knows God, I know God, it's… get out of my way (12:58) you know, but he knows God he is religious he goes to the mosque five times a week, and then you find him a thief, a liar and everything, so I don't trust them. I don't, all my experience is proving that they are bad, they are really bad. And then, you know when they sacked me away from my job, it was not even, I don't care about it because this is not my real job, I'm a university professor, this is my real job, but you know, it's when you are doing your job in a place you're made even with this one from the Brotherhood whom they appointed him and you know he speaks with you in a friendly way less than a week and then on a Saturday night you receive a phone call from his secretary saying that sorry doctor, you're not anymore in this profession. So, you know, he didn't even bother you know… it was not only me we were four at that time in this situation but you know this guy who is a religious guy and he knows God you know between brackets by the definition of people, you know, he didn't bother to call for a meeting and tell us sorry we do have different policies etc., so it will not suit you or suit us to collaborate together and cooperate etc., so this is the nice decent way to tell people that you are not wanted anymore in this place, but not with a phone call on a Saturday night to tell people that you're not… and then, not only that, that we are not wanted because we are corrupt, and you know… so these are the Islamists, this is my experience with them all time long, so it's proven.
N.P: Going back to the 9th of March, when you joined them
I.E: Oh yeah
N.P: So why did you join the 9th of March, how did you hear about them and why did you join?
I.E: Yeah. I will tell you. You know, I heard about them in their first reunion, but again at that time I had this back problem and ii had a car accident at that time, my car was broken, and my back was semi-broken, so I couldn't go to this big meeting of March 9th, which was the first one. After that, almost a year after or less than a year, a friend of mine and a colleague of mine at the English department whose name was Saad Al-Anani he was attacked by a police officer inside the university. He was attacked and it was a big fight and he tore apart his shirt, it was a scandal. So, it was the rule of March 9 that this is for the independence or autonomy of the universities and no university has to have a police officer inside. So I went to their meeting when we had this problem and since that time I joined and it's a monthly meeting, it was on the first Wednesday of the month at the club of teaching staff members in the University of Cairo which is in Al-Manial that club of the Cairo university staff members, and since that time you know I participated in all the demonstrations, you know, standings or whatever, we went to Alexandria, we went to… we went to Alexandria many times, one of them was in the… because the administration refused to appoint an assistant because she has a leftist background, so we went there and demonstrated and we met with the director of the university at that time, we went many times after that for the children's hospital, I don't know if you know in Alexandria now there is the Bibliotica Alexandrina, and just beside the Bibliotica Alexandrina there is a children's hospital, the ??? (tape 2 at minute 19:59) children hospital. And this is the only hospital that, you know, gives this service for not only the children of Alexandria but for 3 or 4 governorates around Alex, and we heard that Suzan Mubarak wanted to demolish this hospital and to take this piece of land because it was just beside bibliotica Alexandrina her baby library, and so to extend the bibliotica. So we went many times and demonstrated and we aborted this. So it was one of the things that I'm really proud of, and I think that Ismael Sirag Eddine will never forget this for me, because as a classicist I told him in a meeting that the bibliotica was burned twice before, one what they call it in the Roman period and one what they call it when the Arabs came to Egypt and nobody knows exactly but it was burned, and I'm afraid that if you do this project it will be burned again, so, be careful about that, no one would allow the biblitica to take the hospital. it was only me we were many from the March 9 movement, but… and we went to Menia, we demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Higher Education in Qasr Al-Ainy stret, can't remember why but we did it, and many, many times in Cairo university and once or twice it was just before the revolution, and this is a very funny story. Before the revolution, November 2010, you know, we got the court order that the Ministry of Interior, the police, should go out of it, and then the group said that we will come to Ain Shams university where I work to distribute the court order to the students to the staff members, etc. and it was Thursday, it was the 3rd or the 4th of November, but it was Thursday, and you know I told them sorry I have a lecture at the American university in Tahrir to the casa??? (tape 2 at minute 23:34) program you know, teaching Arabic as a foreign language, you know, they asked me to give the students a lecture in art, it was about cinema, Egyptian cinema in the 1960's, anyway, what happeed is that there was a fight and the police they brought thugs inside the university and they attacked the professors from Ain-Shams and from Cairo university who came to this court order. After a week or 10 days I found a paper from the faculty of law that I am and two other colleague professors, Radwa Ashour if you know the name and Huda Abaza, she is a colleague of mine from the French department, that we are now under investigation from the university and the faculty of law because the dawn of the faculty of law is responsible to investigate, if there is an investigation he is the one who's responsible to investigate with the staff member. Why? If it is because of what happened on Thursday I was not there. Okay… so they discovered this, that they put my name as a March 9 member without actually seeing me, without participating you know. Ad it was really funny because you now they sent me people trying to convince me okay, you write a memorandum telling them that you were not there and they will exclude you from this investigation. I told them so what? You do the wrong thing and I come to correct it for you? I will not. I will not give you this paper because as long as I was not physically there so all the investigation is wrong, so we stayed in this almost just before the revolution, Radwa went to the States because she had an operation there and I stayed with Huda and then you know, the investigation director he started to call us, come and very, very funny thing about it you know, otherwise you know he was very arrogant and he speaks to people like this, and when the dean at that time told me please go to the director he wants to speak with you etc., at that time my daughter got the… what they call it? The pigs flu
N.P: Swine flu
I.E: She got swine flu, then so I called the dean and I told him, now, my daughter got swine flu, would you like me to go and meet the director? I can go now, do you like me to… against all odds, I find you know, a telephone call and then, Dr. Iman Ezzeddine yes, so this is the office of director ad he will speak to you. Hello, how are you? How is our daughter? Our daughter! So how did you discover it, and blab la bla yes I did the, this the blood analysis ??? (tape 2 at minute 28:25) and so where did you do? We have a very good lab at the university, no no no! I go to private doctors and private labs and etc. so, you know, I'm telling you this because otherwise we are thousands, we are thousands of staff members and I don't think that he calls even you know, even if the professor himself is sick, so can you imagine to call me, my humble person to ask about my daughter? So because the situation was very bad. Anyway, so this passed away and then the revolution, so this was December, January, and then the 25th of January came and everything was different after that. To the good to the worse I don't know, but it has been changed a lot.
N.P: Just one more question about the period before the revolution. Apart from the incident where you were accused of being… where you entered an investigation for being in a demonstration where you weren't??? (tape 2 at minute 30:08), did you have any other experiences of administrative or security interference in your work in the university?
I.E: Not very much, I remember only once I have a cinema club at the… of the department, but I allow any student from any other department to attend, and I remember when the police was still there that someone came in and told me that some of these security people come and ask about the movies, what is this movie? Etc., who is inside
TAPE 3
Iman Ezzeddine: outside, so I brought the two offices into my office and I told them I am treating you as a brother, as a younger brother, but if you think about interfering in my activity and you will find a totally different face. You know, don't you ever think that you will ever interfere in this, to think that that these offices, they wanted to interfere in who to bring and who not to bring, they had a list, a black list, you cannot invite you know this journalist or this, this or that, so it was really bad, they really interfered in that, but sometimes you know if they know you and they know that you will face them, they get you know a step back, so this was the only thing that happened with me, I heard about that Dr. Edward Srour ??? (tape 3 at minute 01:36) wanted to invite the head donor ??? (tape 3 at minute 1:38) for a lecture for the post graduate and they refused. You know, I invited Ibrahim Aslan and I invited Khaled Al-Khamisi, I invited many people but you know, didn't care about them to tell you the truth, I didn't care about them and I didn't ask for their permission.so you know, this is what happened. I know if they got the chance interfere, yes. For example we failed to make one of the annual meetings of March 9 in Ain Shams University, it was always in Cairo University, Ain Shams university was you know… it's a very good place for the ministry of interior and their officers, specially the secret agents, and people… I'm speaking of something that because Ain Shams university is or was at that time year near to Nasser's house, so it was under the eye of Sami Sharaf, his private secretary, so since that time the secret service is very powerful in Ain Shams university, though it's from Nasser to Sadat and from Sadat to Mubarak but you know, it was… this is what I heard that it started this way because you know, the distance between the university and Nasser's house is 5 kilometers or something, and it's less than 3 kilometers from the ministry of defense now, so we had problems because of this, you know, attacks to the ministry of defense sometimes, you know this term I couldn't go twice to the university because of the demonstrations and when they closed the Abbasiyya square and from the either side the ministry of defense, the gas, you know, the students would be like: Oh, don't come, I can't breathe and… it's very bad, etc., so I think Cairo university has another… Cairo university is away from anywhere else, while Ain Shams it's near to the Heliopolis (tape 3 at minute 4:59) area, to Nasser's house and the ministry of defense, it's near to the cathedral, it's near to the… central…
Nicola Pratt: Spot
I.E: Yeah
N.P: Can I ask you about the 25th of January? So did you… you said you didn't go down on the 25th of January, but you had heard that there would be a demonstration?
I.E: Yes
N.P: What did you think?
I.E: I wanted to go, but you know I was afraid that I would not be fit, and my daughter she discouraged me, no, it could be risky and you're not very fit, so we stayed on the internet until… and we have a friend, a relative and a friend at the same time, he was posting all the posts of a friend of his who was in Tahrir square, etc., so it was very exciting, so this is what makes us prepare ourselves for the 28th, and… people went on the 26th and 27th, I did not because I had exams at the university, the 25th was a day off but 26th and 27th it was exams, so I said no, I will save myself to the Friday one, and it was amazing, it was an amazing experience. I went with my daughter and we met, I think another friend who lives with us in Muqattam, she is as well a staff of Cairo university, French department as well, and we went together in a taxi, we didn't take our cars, and because the meeting point was in Mustafa Mahmoud square in front of the mosque, so we went together 3 of us and then we met there Madiha and all the other friends, Reem, Malak, you know, everybody, all the gang, and Huda ??? (tape 3 at minute 7:45) I can't remember if Hala Kamal was with us or not, I can't remember now but at least after that we were together, and the negotiations it was whether to go to the same mosque where El-Baradie and Dr. Abu Nuwwar (tape 3 at minute 8:05) were there in Al-Istiqama mosque in Giza, or to go to Mustafa Mahmoud and we decided to go to Mustafa Mahmoud. We walked from Muhandeseen, we met all the soldiers of the ministry of interior, you know, we shouted "Peaceful, peaceful" and until we arrived to… just before Al-Gala'a bridge and then it was a fight, a big fight, with gas and even they fired tear gas on a flat, just beside a gas station, and the flat was flamed, it was risky. And then we saw the first rows, they could, you know, took a police car, and then we walked through the bridge and walked and then we stopped in the middle of Qasr Al-Nile bridge, and it was to pray on it, it was the afternoon prayer, and we were in the middle of the bridge and the people who prayed started to pray and all of a sudden we found a huge attack from the police, so we ran away backwards and they threw tear gas, a lot of tear gas, and at that time we had onion, pepsi and vinegar in our bag, and this was the advice of the Tunisian people, so we were prepared by the advice of the Tunisian people that it's you know, onion, vinegar and pepsi, and masks. And so we got attacked by the police and by the tear gas and I remember I was choking because one of them just fell beside me and exploded, and you can ask Madiha and ask my daughter about it, I was… they were afraid, you know, and I started to shout and you know, and call names, and then we stayed near the Al-Ahli club. We sat on the pavement and we saw people who are really wounded, and I saw a friend of mine, he is a director and he is at the same time he's a staff member of the faculty of physical education, and I saw him, they were carrying him, people were carrying him and he was all blood and his eye was about, he was about to lose his eye but thank God we sent him to a doctor and it was… they took a lot of wounded people, from you know, the bullets, whether this what they call Khartoush, the khartoush bullets or the rubber bullets or whatever, so we stayed there till it was about sunset and we left to Madiha's house, she lives in Zamalik, so we left to her house and we stayed there and she was looking for her daughter, she couldn't find her, it was a mess, because at that time they cut communication so it was landlines only, and so it was difficult and the curfew it started from that time, we didn't know that a curfew started but when we went home at her house we knew that the curfew started. So, at that time we started to go to Tahrir square every day. But we did not sleep, we used to stay the whole day or half a day or whatever, and most of the time we were in Zamalik because I live in Muqattam which, you know, it's very easy to be isolated there. In the camel invasion day, I was… I left the square just before that, I was at Madiha's house but the night before my daughter decided to go all by herself and I went, I left the Tahrir square around 2 o'clock, so I did not, I didn't see what happened exactly in the square. That night I was in Muqattam, was asleep, my sister was in Japan at that time, she sent me a message, a text message telling me that there was a problem in the CNN, so this text message awakened me up, and I opened the television on the CNN and I saw that at that time the attacks and you know, the fire, and you know, and the people who are getting killed, and I started to felt helpless, I can't find anyone, and I'm looking for the people… and so I think I called Malak, yes, I called Malak, it was 2, it was almost 2 o'clock in the morning, and I started to cry and scream, "they're killing them, they're killing them" so she told me calm down, calm down… she had Reem and at that time Reem was asleep, and at that time Reems' husband was going to Tahrir square, and she told me, don't shout, Reem is asleep and Nassif is going to the square, so what can we do? Shall we call anyone? Do anything? Where is Madiha? And I discovered that Madiha at that time was stuck in the square and then she went up to… you know, he was a friend of friends but he was not himself a close friend, one of the famous figures of the revolution because of his geographic existence, Pierre Syoufi, I don't know if you heard of Pierre Syoufi, Pierre Syoufi he is the owner of a building just on the square, and he lives in the fifth or 7th floor, and his apartment was open for everybody, if you want to go to the toilet, if you want to have a nap, if you want to eat something, the revolutionary people you know… they went there. So Madiha spent the night there, and at that time they couldn't even look from the balcony or something you know, they closed everything because it was very dangerous, she will tell you about this experience because it was really bad. And I remember, I don't know if that day or a day before, I think it was the 31st of January, helicopters were scaring people, they started to get nearer and nearer to the square, and then with the F-something they started to go over the square and then we thought, are they going to shoot us like in China? Would it be like that? And I remember Thursday it was after Mubarak's speech that he started to tell people that he's not any more willing for the power and he will leave in 6 months and people started really to think, okay, for God's sake give him this, 6 months… but that day, you know, that changed the people's idea. So we started to go every day until the 11th of February, when he announced that… and we started to go every Friday for whatever occasion it is, and we went against the Islamist, we went against, you know, till the 3rd of July, I went the 30th, the 3rd, but I did not go on the 26th, which was the "tafweed" (authorization), what you call "tafweed"? it's…
N.P: I think you're talking about when Sisi asked people to mandate him to fight terrorism
I.E: Yeah, yeah. I did not, for two reasons, and this is you know what I wrote even on Facebook that, glory for those who have backache… I really had a very bad… and at that time I was really hesitant, I'm not for military people at all, but I'm not for the Islamists at the same time, so it was a dilemma… so I think God gave me this excuse not to go. But you know, I worked a lot from January 28th during these 3 years, you know, against Mubarak and against the Islamists, against the Muslim Brotherhood and against Mursi, you know, but since the 3rd of July I did not join any demonstration, because the situation is really bad… I'm not for military solutions but at the same time I'm against the MB and the Islamists…all together. But I shouted against the military after Maspiro, Maspiro this was a disaster, do you know Maspiro? At that time I was in Dahab, because at that time it was a vacation, the 6th of October, because the Friday, the 6th of October and then a weekend, so my daughter and I decided to take a break and we went to Dahab. So, what happened, Maspiro it was the 9th of October, and we came back on the 10th of October and saw what a disaster, what really was a disaster, it happened on October 9th, it was really a massacre, and all the demonstrations after that I shouted against the military, it was unacceptable, it was really unacceptable, and in Muhammad Mahmoud, the cabinet building, yes I am, I can't forgive them and I can't forget what happened, but now, I don't know if they learned the lesson, to be beside people and not against them, but I don't think that they learned, it's their mentality, it's different. And now I really, since Maspiro, I remember my father, and now I usually say this, I was brought up in a house with a father that hates military people… but after the 3rd of July the situation is as you see, the things are really bad, the MB and the support from the outside and the money and everything, it's not easy to confront it, just with the orderly way. At the same time I don't want to go back to the 1952 thing. 60 years of military governance, not again! Please, at the same time I don't want an Islamic rule, so this is the dilemma, it's really a dilemma what to do, to resign from the country? Try to find another place, it's really bad, it’s really bad, and I… unfortunately it's well… I had a conference in Singapore; I left Cairo on the 16th of August, 2 days after the dispersing of the sit-in, the Rabe'a thing and I was attacked there, not… I mean that the none-Islamists of… who killed people etc,. who.. seculars, whatever, so you have to explain to people from the very beginning, and it was really difficult, and in November, last November I had a conference in Prague, Czech, it was about theater and revolution, and there I was asked again that you killed the people in… it's… you know, this is a coup d'état, and before in September I was in another conference, I was in Cambridge, and because it was this problem as well, the coup d'état ad the Islamist, so it is and it was difficult to explain things and not to defend the military and to explain to them that the country could have been in a disaster if we let the MB and Muris and the Islamists to rule for the 4 years and then to wait and then, you know, as you can see now, you know, Sinai and what is going on, yesterday I have a relative who was killed in… in the mukhabarat, the military, he was a secret agent for the military in Sinai, it was a car accident, but it's not an ordinary car accident, it's not his first car accident but he died yesterday. He is, the cousin… my niece's cousin. So it's tough, it's really tough. I don't know what happened, but I know it is tough.
N.P: Could you say something about your work in the university since the revolution? You said that things have changed.
I.E: Yes. To tell you the truth we got benefits from the revolutions. It's that deans, you know the dean of the faculty and the director of the university they used to be appointed, and here to be appointed this is…
TAPE 4
Iman Ezzedine: something, you know, those people who are appointed it's whether they have connections, it's you know, and the secret security etc., involved in appointing those, so after the revolution we insisted that those people have to be elected. So elections started at the faculty of art, it was the first place to start elections, so we started elections in the faculty of art, it was April ??? (tape 4 at minute 00:42), and then we put a system on how to elect the director of the university from you know, you elect for example 3 professors from each faculty and then this makes a committee that elects the… so this to some extent it's good, because there's election and not appointment. Another thing that we got a raise, a very good one, because you know our salaries it was really… it was really bad, it was not changed since the seventies, only some incentives and some bonuses etc., so we got a good raise. What else? You know now… everybody is… you have all the cards, now it's open, there were some people who were Islamists but in the hide, and some others we didn't know about them, now you know everybody, you know all masks are down, you know people and you know who is in the, you know… it's not the ideology but I mean how people think and how they, who are really with the revolution and who are really against the revolution, who are with the Muslim Brotherhood and who are really salafis, now you know, before you didn't, so this is good, this, you know, whether you are with or against or whatever but at least you know. And I think this is good. Now these days it's a bit scary because in some, in the faculty of engineering for example people, students they can't go to the exams because the students from the Brotherhood would prevent them from going to the exams, even if they want. So the administration is afraid, they are afraid of them and I don't know what will happen. In the faculty of arts we have less Brotherhood, we have some but it's, for example, ??? (tape 4 at minute 4:12) from 5 to 7 percent, so they are not… and they are, you know, for example, the department, Arabic department, history department, it's, you know, but at the drama department for example we don't have, so it's a bit scary but hopefully we will manage to go through this. You know the situation at Ain Shams University is less scary than Cairo University. This is because of the geographical distribution, because you know here you go the university which is nearer to your house, so I went to Ain Shams university because I live in Heliopolis or I used to live thin Hilopolis, so this is why. In Cairo university it's the same, so most of the students they are from the places which are a bit poor or sort of countryside areas, and these are full of Brotherhood, and they have Dar Al-Oloum which is something like Al-Azhar so it's full of Brotherhood, they have this problem in the faculty of engineering and maybe the medicine, and the thing that most of the Brotherhood they are in what we call the science or pure science faculties, they don't have this way of imagination, artistic way, no, it's either medicine, engineering, science you know, otherwise… so this is why… you know they don't have Dar Al-Oloum for example in Ain Shams, plus the social level from where we are coming, we are coming from Heliopolis, Nasr City, Shobra, which is full of Christians, Daher, Christians as well, so we have a big part of the Christians and a bit higher social status. Nasr City has a lot of MB because Nasr City people most of them came to Nasr City from other places after going to the Gulf area, after going to Saudi Arabia, you know and the Gulf area, and those people are if they're not MB by themselves they are people who love the MB or compassionate with them, while you cannot a Brotherhood in Heliopolis for example, because people in Heliopolis they are, you know, it's since along time it has its society so we don't have a lot of intruders, between brackets… so you know, this is the situation now, and honestly I don't know what will happen. Let's hope for the best and cross our fingers.
Nicola Pratt: can I ask about the Social Democratic Party, before we started recording, so after the revolution you joined the Social Democratic Party.
I.E: Yeah.
N.P: Can you tell me why you chose the Social Democratic Party and not another party, and also what role you played within the party?
I.E: I chose this Social Democratic Party because you know I believe in social justice. I'm not a socialist by the meaning of a leftist person, but I'm a socialist by the meaning I believe in free education, in free medical health, you know, that this is for reaching the poor, for everybody, so this is number one, and number two because the president of the Social Democratic Party Dr. Abu Nuwwar is a person whom I trust very much, he's really a ??? (tape 4 at minute 10:03) person, and he is the founder of the March 9 as well, so I think these reason are enough to join the party plus, you know, I couldn't join any other party because this was not… can I join the Al-Masriyyeen Al-Ahrar for example which is a very right wing you know party or I don't know these parties which, the old ones like Al-Wafd or you know, for example, I can't do it, it's… you know, I did not join the Coalition Party for example because they are too left for me, it's, you know, I like many people from this party and maybe you know they are nearer to my point of view than the Social Democratic but it's difficult you know for a party like the Coalition for example to succeed in politics you know, we need sometimes more time to build a left-oriented party, so this is why I joined… not to join any other party. You know I participated in the beginning in the party in the committee of high education, I was very much involved and then I noticed that this is not my way of thinking, they are not more to the right than I think… so I withdrew but I did not leave the party but I withdrew from the activities of the party, I didn't participate in the committees etc. in the party because I noticed that it is not up to my vision of my social… a social party, unfortunately though I still love and respect and adore Dr. Abu Nuwwar, and many other people like Ziyad Bahaa Eddine for example, Huda Sadda ??? (tape 4 at minute 13:13), Madiha ??? (tape 4 at minute 13:15), you know many other people, I respect them very much but you know it's a bit difficult for me to find people for example in the committee speaking about free education should stop, for example, to whatever second school or whatever, and then if people want they have to pay and, you know, I remember in one of the meetings I told them, people can wear whatever they want, they can eat whatever they want or they can pay for food, clothes, whatever, but for education this I cannot accept. So when I found people that are on a different hue I decided to withdraw.
N.P: Do you think that…. Do you have any plans in the coming period to get involved in any initiatives, any activities beyond your work?
I.E: You know, I would like to find a suitable place to participate within cultural work, you know, because when I noticed, before the 30th of June after the liberals or sectarians were sacked away from the ministry of culture and if you remember that the shows that were in front of the sit-in in the ministry of culture, this was art and culture for everybody, art and culture on the street, so this I believe very much in it, and if I can… if I find or if I can you know participate in a group like that, this would be my goal, it's… this it the thing because I think culture… education culture will be against racism against this way of thinking and depending on religion, people has to find other solutions than religion if they find a nice movie, a nice you know, theater, play to watch, a nice piece of poetry, piece of art to see, I think this is the thing, I mean, this is what I would like to try, and I have one experience, a small experience where I have an experience with the society of Ahmad Bahaa Eddine which is in Upper Egypt in Asyout, in a very poor country, in a very poor village in the countryside of Asyout, a small piece of land which the family of Ahmad Bahaa Eddine had, where he was born in this village, so and they built sort of a cultural center, and there I met children who go there and people who learn music, acting, and you know, drawing and everything. It's difficult to go there all the time but at least I go there once a year and I was there in last November, I remember, I took the plane, it was to participate in an even there, I took the plane at 5 o'clock, at 6 o'clock we arrived to Asyout, it was… it was Mursi with his constitutional order, if you remember, it was like the 27th of November, which aroused all the demonstrations in Al-Ittihadiyya, things that took place you know in Ittihadiyya it was after this constitutional…
N.P: declaration
I.E: Yeah. So this is my last time in Upper Egypt, but I hosted them, I hosted you know the youth who will, you know, team or participate with children in Bab Al-Khalq, where I work, I hosted a conference for them, lectures for 3 days in Bab Al-Khalq, so you know, I love working with such poor organizations or whatever.
N.P: Is there anything else that you'd like ot say that I didn't ask you about that you think is important?
I.E: I think no, I spoke about everything… you know, I spoke since I was a kid till you know, the day before yesterday. So it's… no, it's… I think really supporting the cultural activities is very important, and to put the right person in the ministry of culture, this is one of the most important things that Egypt needs. Yes, I know that there are poor people and people who want to eat and you know live and have houses, etc., yes I know that these are essentials, but culture is essential as well, so this is education and culture, the right education not any education, the right education and the… you know, how to see art and literature, this is very important. That's it.
N.P: Thank you so much
I.E: You're welcome