The gym owner: Epthag Leladwy
The Egyptian people are like water, says Epthag Leladwy. They are very patient.
“But if you keep boiling the water, there is a time when the steam must escape.”
For the 55-year-old owner of a gym, now is that time.
“There is no respect in Egypt,” she says. The police show no respect, and neither do government officials, even if you pay them off.
Leladwy dreams of a country where religion plays no part in how people are treated.
For example, religion is listed on national identity cards.
“I want the government to respect me as an Egyptian, not after asking me if I’m Muslim or Christian. I don’t want anybody to ask me that question.”
She is neither. Her beliefs are her own. And only through better education will people understand this kind of tolerance, she says.
Leladwy is not surprised by the thousands who have taken to the streets, demanding a democratic government and the toppling of the regime. They are the steam.
“I know the Egyptian mentality and spirit,” she says in broken English. “I knew this day would come.”