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Conyers man monitors family in Cairo

While the world's attention is turned to the events in Egypt for geopolitical reasons, one Conyers man has a more personal connection.

Ibrahim (who asked that the News not use his real name to protect his family's safety), a U.S. Citizen born in Egypt, has been anxiously monitoring events in Cairo where his siblings, mother and extended family live.

Now that communication via the internet and phone has been restored, he knows they're alright, but the first few days after protests broke out where filled with anxiety.

"Thank God, everybody's OK," he said. "I was very worried. I called 10-15 times every day. When they said there was no more police...Who's going to protect the people from the people who like to steal?"

His family members, all well educated members of the middle class, have been "staying put," protecting their homes. Although there are not many guns in everyday Egyptian society, people do have knives, he said.

Cairo residents are keeping their movements at a minimum, he said. During the day before the curfew, they go to the markets to get supplies or visit and check up on one another. Travel over long distances has stopped because the train system has been suspended. People are also not able to go to work. He said he heard banks would be opening soon so that people could draw their monthly salaries.

Many are closely monitoring their TV sets, said Ibrahim.

He pointed out that many are turning away from the state-run stations, which were completely ignoring the protests for the first few days, and turning to stations like al Arabiya and al Jazrera, which don't hesitate to broadcast inflammatory messages, he said.

"The protesters, they were in peace. They didn't break anything, they didn't damage anything. Everything was going fine, and they get what they want," which was to limit the president's terms. "It's very sad, everything was doing very good, everything was fine until yesterday," he said on Thursday.

Ibrahim has lived in the states for more than 20 years. He's made his home in Rockdale County with his wife of 10 years, a U.S. native, and his children, who attend Rockdale County schools.

"You would never imagine something like this would happen," he said, of events in Egypt.

"I believe right now, it's very much going in the right direction," he said. "The country has been split almost 50-50. I think everybody feels better now that he has that new vice president." He speculated that after Friday, a day when many people in the country go to pray, watchers would be able to tell if the situation would be more stable.