How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

As many Egyptian Angelenos rally for reforms, others are hesitant

Photo by Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

Ezabelle Attallah, a member of the mostly Egyptian-immigrant Holy Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox Church in northeast Los Angeles.

For a second weekend in a row, Egyptian Americans in Los Angeles joined protesters in other U.S. cities to rally in solidarity with protesters in Egypt demanding that president Hosni Mubarak step down.

USC's Neon Tommy posted a slide show of photos from Saturday's rally outside the federal building in West Los Angeles, which drew hundreds. Another crowd gathered Sunday outside the Egyptian Consulate (video of the rally, above, via

Those attending the local rallies are calling for democratic reforms in Egypt and the end of three decades of rule by Mubarak, a close ally of the United States who in his country is considered a tyrant by many. But one group of Egyptian Coptic Christians in Los Angeles is saying not so fast, fearful that a sudden overturning of Mubarak's government might bring about changes that could put the country's Christian minority at risk.


American snapshot: West L.A., January 29

Photo by Asim Bharwani/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A woman holds an Egyptian flag as the car she's in passes a protest in front of the federal building in West Los Angeles last Saturday, January 29, 2011

I came across photographer Asim Bharwani's terrific Flickr photostream this week while searching for photos of Saturday's Egyptian solidarity rally in front of the federal building in West Los Angeles, organized by Egyptian Americans from Southern California.

While I chose a different color-drenched photo of the local protesters for my posts, I loved this pair's quintesentially Angeleno approach to the rally. Bharwani titled it "Egyptian drive-by."

Bharwani also posts occasionally on his blog.


For some Egyptian Americans, the revolution will be Facebooked

Photo by Asim Bharwani/Flickr (Creative Commons)

An Egypt solidarity rally, partly organized on Facebook, outside the federal building in West Los Angeles Saturday, January 29, 2011

Social media has played a remarkable role not only in how Egyptians used it to coordinate the anti-government protests that are now in their ninth day, but in how the world has witnessed, relayed information, and organized around the crisis.

Stories have ranged from the ways in which Egyptians finagled ways around a government shutdown of Internet and cellular access to continue using Twitter and Facebook to how a UCLA graduate student, employing a network of acquaintances in Egypt and old-fashioned telephone land lines, relayed eyewitness updates via Twitter @Jan25Voices.

Among Egyptian Americans, Facebook has played a big role in communicating, commiserating and organizing around the protests, as many have done in recent days to stage solidarity rallies in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities. Many of the Facebook pages dedicated to the Egypt crisis are administered out of the United States (where they tend to be pro-demonstrator).