Local families waiting on word from relatives in Egypt




Posted on January 28, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 28 at 6:20 PM

SEATTLE -- As the protests in Egypt continue, people in the Seattle area are desperately trying to communicate with loved ones overseas.

The Internet has been disabled by the government and cell phones are not working. That's making it very difficult for families to find out if their relatives are safe.

As Jackie Smith greeted us, her eyes were already filled with tears. Her daughter Jessie, who lives in Tacoma, is in Cairo for work.  Her hotel is on lockdown and she is unable to leave the country.

"She's a good girl, she's just got to be okay."

While Jessie watched the building across the street burn to the ground, her mother was intently watching live coverage online. Desperate for the phone to ring,  Jackie doesn't leave her apartment.
"I just have to keep the faith," she said.

Jackie has tried calling her daughter's hotel, but the number doesn't work. She last spoke to Jessie Friday morning, when said she was safe and that police were guarding her hotel.

Egyptian native Marwa Maziad can empathize. Her mother and father are in Cairo. Maziad is a graduate student at the Unviersity of Washington. She says she frequently skypes family and friends back home.

Now that the Egyptian government has disabled the Internet, she's finding it just as difficult to get in touch with loved ones. After repeated attempts of calling her parents, she was feeling defeated. 

Just as we were about to leave the interview, Maziad got through, yelling her father's name in excitement as he picked up. 

"My parents are safe, they are staying inside and away from the streets," she said.

Smiling, she told us her day could now proceed and she could focus on the bigger picture of what's going on in Egypt.  

She calls the turmoil Egypt's civil rights movement. Although it's tense, she says it's necessary.