02/04/2011 06:17 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

This Week's HuffPost Family Dinner Download: Egypt, Leadership & Freedom

In her new book, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie to launch a new feature we're calling HuffPost Family Dinner Downloads. Every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

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A popular uprising in Egypt over the past week has shown that its citizens wish for their president of over three decades, Hosni Mubarak, to step down, and for a new democratic government to form in his place. Long deprived of a number of freedoms we often take for granted, including freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and free and fair elections, and after decades of police brutality and vast economic suffering, millions of Egyptians are now taking to the streets in mostly peaceful -- yet forceful -- protest.

Because Egypt serves as a critical ally of the United State in the Middle East, a very volatile region, the U.S. sends Egypt an unusually large amount of aid -- around $2 billion per year since 1979. This financial support, the majority of which went to the military, bolstered Egypt's strength on the international stage and provided some internal stability. But at the same time, the basic needs of a great majority of Egyptians were in large part unmet. Each day brings new developments from the protests, but with Mubarak still clinging to power, Egypt's immediate future remains uncertain.

What would it feel like to live in a country without the freedoms you enjoy here? What is the importance of free and fair elections in maintaining a free country? What are some events from American history that have similarities to the Egyptian protests? What does it mean to be a leader -- does a leader step down when he or she has lost the confidence of the people? What do you think the Egyptian president should do?

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To see last week's Family Dinner Download, click here.

For more tips and recipes, check out The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt (

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