As looting began last week amid major political protests in several Egyptian cities, and the police disappeared from the streets, Ahmed Alfi started to look for a way out of the country. The 54-year-old venture capitalist, who lived in La Cañada Flintridge for 36 years before moving to Cairo five years ago, chartered a plane scheduled to depart Friday.
He never made it to the airport.
“The tear gas was so bad you couldn’t even drive through it,” Alfi said.
He tried again Saturday, leaving his home at dawn, beating the crowds and eventually securing a seat on a flight to London. Now, Alfi, like thousands of Egyptian expatriates and their children, is carefully following the protests from abroad. And like many, he is proud of what he sees.
“What is happening today is something unique in the last few decades in Egypt,” Alfi said. “All Egyptians have always loved Egypt, but they haven’t always felt that Egypt belonged to them. People are feeling empowered now; they have demonstrated together for their rights and have stood guard together over their homes and families, and they are responsible for Egypt now. It is theirs.”