After 18 days of protests and 30 years of authoritarian
rule, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has finally ceded to popular demands and
resigned. WW has been following local response to the ongoing tumult in Egypt.
And this morning, Diaa Nassar, an Egyptian living in Portland, said the day's events mark one of the most jubilant moments he can remember.
“It’s one of the most cheerful moments in my
whole life,” said Nassar, a software engineer at Intel. “I’m 39 years old, and
I don’t remember being as happy and cheerful in my whole life as this morning."
Nassar said he immediately called his parents in Cairo after catching the news about Mubarak on Al Jazeera’s online stream. The streets at home in Cairo have erupted in celebration, they told him. Nassar said his parents never thought this would happen in their lifetime.
Nassar’s wife, Doaa Elhaggan, said her parents are also in
disbelief. Several days ago her parents visited Tahrir Square, which has
been the center of demonstrations in Cairo. Elhaggan said her parents were overwhelmed by the sense
of unity and support. They saw upper-class women picking up litter, Elhaggen
said, and told her protesters left possessions in their tents without fear of
theft. Elhaggen said former societal divisions of class, religion and gender
“People are more united now for one cause, a better Egypt, justice, democracy, economic development,” she said.
Though concerns about a democratic transition linger for
both Nassar and Elhaggen, they feel mostly optimistic about Egypt’s future.
Mubarak has ceded control to the military, which shortly before Mubarak’s
announcement released a communiqué promising constitutional reforms.
“So far statements coming out of the military are comforting,” Nassar said. “It’s going to take time, but I have high hopes. I don’t think people will again let an authoritarian regime form. It’s not going to take another 50 years for people to stand up to injustice.”
In celebration of Mubarak’s resignation and to honor those who died in the protests, members of the Egyptian community and supporters will gather at Pioneer Courthouse Square this Saturday, Feb. 12, beginning at 2 pm. More information is available on Facebook.