Chicagoans to Egypt: 'Long live the revolution'

February 12, 2011 3:51:44 PM PST
A rally in Chicago Saturday celebrated the resignation of 30-year Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

"Yes we did. Yes we did. Long live the revolution. Long live the revolution," the revelers shouted.

Joyous demonstrators rallied outside Egypt's Consulate in Chicago. They called Saturday the first day of a dictator-free Egypt.

They waved signs urging freedom, and stressed their fight isn't over. One listed their goals.

"Free and fair elections, full separation of powers, no martial laws whatsoever, freedom of expression," Maggy Shanekh said. "We don't want a military government to take over, or an intelligence-based government. We want a civil government."

"We finally got our victory, and now we can actually do anything. Democracy that we've been dreaming of for a long time is finally at our door," said Sara Anwar, who was born in Egypt.

The crowd cheered calls for similar uprisings against autocratic governments in Syria, Libya, Algeria and Yemen.

But celebrations over the fall Mubarak started Friday night. Dozens of Chicago-based Egyptians danced in the street and sang their national anthem, proud for once of what was happening back home.

"Every beautiful part in our life just came in those few moments today," said Sherif Zaki.

"I just felt an immense sense of happiness and gratitude," Amira Shaker said.

"I'm glad that Obama said that Egyptians changed the world. Egyptians changed the world. This is big. This is huge," Sherif Zaki said.

That is especially huge for those who are simply to young to remember an Egyptian president other than Hosni Mubarak. They were the ones who led the revolution.

"The Egyptian youth have shown how to conduct a peaceful revolution without shedding a lot of blood, an example for the world," said Tamer Abouzeid.

Earlier Friday in Cairo, Chicago-based photojournalist Matt Cassel captured history on his camera.

"Cars are honking. People are setting off fireworks. People are congratulating each other, kissing each other. It's a very joyous celebration," he said over the telephone.

One activist from Chicago is in Egypt. Ahmed Rehab has watched this revolution unfold first-hand. He also spoke with ABC7 on the phone about the importance of the events.

"Let me put this into perspective. This is an ancient country, the first time in 7,000 years, first time chance at democracy. It's an absolutely overwhelming feeling," Rehab said.