Says the Egyptian star: “We are very disappointed with America. You have to follow the people.”
Egyptian actor Khaled Nabawy is one of the Arab world’s leading movie and television stars, and has been in American films from "Fair Game" to "Kingdom of Heaven."
Nabawy was among the protesters in the street on Friday, marching and chanting for change of the Egyptian regime. He spoke exclusively on Saturday to TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman about the protests and the “terrifying” state of insecurity in Egypt at the moment.
You were among the protesters?
Yes of course. The big day was yesterday and I was there with the people. I feel what they feel. They are a generation that surprised everybody in the country . We thought that the Egyptian people would not join in building their destiny. But they proved the opposite.
They went to the streets and were very civilized, very much in peace. Saying what they want – which is, they want change. Which is ok after 50 years.
Where were you yesterday?
I was downtown. We walked a long way from Mohandeseen to Dokki Square, Tahrir Street – huge streets. I was walking with the people.
Who are they?
The Egyptian people, the young generation. They are definitely not the Muslim Brotherhood. Some of them participated, but a very minor percentage. This is the real Egyptian people. You can see girls, mothers, old men, young men, students.
Why is this happening now?
Accumulation. They are fed up. The Egyptian people are very patient. They beat their sadness down with a great sense of humor. But sometimes they say, No, I will take action. The authorities have to understand their patience.
Why are you not afraid to participate?
I believe in this. I follow my heart. I am coming from the people, and I am for them. I believe that my country deserves better.
What is it that you want?
I want my country to be protected. I am asking the people, the army, to protect Egypt.
To see Mubarak step down?
People want change. It’s their right.
A democratic vote?
It’s not enough. We are very disappointed with America. They are not giving the right speech. They are calculating too much. They have to follow the people.
Obama made comments –
It’s not enough. I heard him. He’s not up to it until now. I know he has a great heart, he’s a good man. I don’t tell him what to say – he knows more than me. He’s a good man. The Egyptians see the U.S. usually take the people’s side, the human rights side. And till now it’s blahblahblah.
What is the atmosphere in Egypt right now?
The mood is terrifying. People are terrified. They want to feel safe. They don’t feel safe now. There is violence in the streets.
How are people communicating?
Through the net. They closed the net, they cut it off, cut the mobiles. After Tuesday they didn’t need anything to communicate.
Do you think the protests will continue?