Local Professor Lived 4 Years in Cairo
MATTHEWS, N.C. - Dr. Dennis Harlow is an Assistant Professor of Business at Wingate University. Between 2004 and 2008, he lived in Cairo, teaching college business courses there. Harlow says, "One of the reasons I left was I just couldn't take it anymore, I said that's it."
What he couldn't take was seeing the very rich in Cairo get even richer and the very poor get even poorer - the economic imbalance he says is the crux of the conflict. Harlow remembers garment workers striking in 2008. They wanted a raise from 300 pounds to 350 a month.
"That's from $50 a month to $55 a month for six days a week work. So for American's references, try to raise a family on $50 a month. It's absolutely impossible,” says Harlow.
Harlow heard from friends in Egypt Wednesday morning. They are afraid and that is difficult for Harlow. He says, "I see a country...,” emotion leaving him unable to finish his thought.
In Cairo, Americans are trying to leave. One woman says, "I have been here at the airport the whole time, I am tired, but anxious to go home."
Violence in the streets continues, as President Hosni Mubarek's supporters and opponents clash. One opponent tells reporters, "All his (Mubarek's) promises and declarations came too late, any kind of seasoned politician will tell you this man has no political sense. He is politically stupid."
A Mubarek supporter says, "He could go, but he is worried about the country. He wants to deliver the country after six months in a good shape."
Mubarek has agreed to not seek re-election. President Obama has asked him to step down.
Harlow says it won't be long before Americans feel the effects of Egypt's unrest. He says, "I would fully expect to see $4.50 gasoline if this continues in Egypt."
Members of Charlotte's Egyptian community are planning another peace rally on Friday. They'll march from Marshall Park to the Square at Trade and Tryon in Uptown.