World keeps a close eye on tense political showdown - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

World keeps a close eye on tense political showdown

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SAN DIEGO (CBS8) - The unrest in Egypt is perhaps the most widely publicized event in modern time. With the use of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook people around the world and on the ground in Cairo are in the loop with every detail.

Thursday's announcement from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, that he didn't plan on leaving his post, sent students at San Diego State University to get more of an understanding of the situation.

"To really highlight it for people who have no idea what's going on and are kind of feeling it's too deep to kind of turn on the news and really need a background information on it," said  UCSD student Amal Dalmar who helped organize, 'The Tunisian and Egyptian Uprisings and the Struggle for Democracy in the Arab World' forum.

While those here in the United States follow tweets and status updates, for those on the ground in Cairo, things turned from celebration to outrage with one short speech from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

"It is required to delegate the powers and authority to the vice president," said Mubarak.

Hosni Mubarak delegated power to Vice President Omar Suleiman. In a speech to the Egyptian Suleiman people he urged them to go home and get back to work.  Many Egyptians believe it's nothing more than a shell game and they want to see Mubarak completely out of office, but he says he will serve out his term which ends in September.

In the end it is a switch of power, but not an evacuation from the office as president.  It's something that enraged many who marched on the Presidential Palace.

The developing situation had many other Egyptians concerned about the next step in the history being written.

"As an Egyptian I am really worried about the next period of time," said one man.

It's an unclear future with clear indications the military now plays a key role with any transition.

"I think we are looking for September in the short term basis," said UCSD Associate Professor Babak Rahimi. "But long term I think the Egyptian society, at least the majority of them, are looking for the restructuring of the complete reconstruction of the political system."

Thursday night students concerned about the unrest overseas joined together inside Price Center Ballroom A to listen and learn more than any text book could ever teach them.

"It's a way they can encounter and meet people who have actually been there, have more knowledge," said Rahimi.

"Facebook and Twitter started this revolution," said Yusuf Bagato, an Art Student featured in a video shot for The New York Times.

The video showcases a number of Egyptians and the work they're doing to get information out through social media. It was played at Thursday's forum to show the push among Egyptians to get their story out to the world.

"It creates transparency and immediacy aspect the fact you can immediately get in touch with someone in Cairo from here, give that level of transparency that we didn't have 30 to 40 years ago," said Rahimi.

For students these events are a chance to discuss and study a living breathing part of history, to be a part of a global social network and even talk directly to those involved and share it.

"We feel like it's a burden of knowledge on us to then get that knowledge then back to the people on Facebook," said Amal Dalmar.

Since Mubarak's speech, Facebook and Twitter are working overtime as larger protests are readied for Friday.

"People who are literally saying we are running out of food, but we're still fighting," adds Dalmar, referring to posts from acquaintances on the ground in Cairo.

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