Local Egyptians celebrate revolution
Updated, 8:23 p.m.
If they couldn't be in Tahrir Square tonight, they did the next best thing. About 5,800 miles from where their countrymen had, in just 18 days, felled a regime, Egyptians in Washington gathered in front of the Egyptian embassy Friday night to dance, chant, and sing in celebration.
"Today is one of the best days of my life," said Nadia Khaled, 66, of the District, who had come with her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter.
The announcement of Mubarak's resignation was "a lovely surprise," she said. Pointing at the hulking embassy building, she said, "I'm looking forward to being able to vote in the Egyptian embassy. That's my right. The revolution will bring us our rights."
Listen to Khaled:
As the crowd of 150 waved Egyptian flags and sang the Egyptian national anthem, people walked up to Sherif Mansour, 31, to say "mabrook" - congratulations. Mansour, a human rights activist living in the District, fled Egypt five years ago and got political asylum in the United States.
Now, he thanked the well-wishers.
"I always believed this was going to happen," he said. "It's only a matter of time before freedom wins. There's a saying -- so goes Egypt, the rest of the region follows."
Listen to Mansour:
As people chanted, "Egypt lives!" Amgad Maguib looked on with a grin.
"I'm ecstatic," he said. "It's incomparable to anything I have ever felt before." Pointing at the crowd, he said his year-old son Ayden was among them.
"This means he can have a duality of identities," he said. "He's not going to live under one country free and one under a dictatorship.
Maguib had come with an Iranian friend and a Tunisian friend.
"This is all thanks to our bretheren in Tunisia," he said, pointing at Maher Ben Mansour, 26, who smiled modestly.
Sam Mirzaei, the Iranian, said he was hopeful the revolution would spread throughout the region, including to Iran, whose protests two years ago ended in a violent crackdown.
"Definitely it's going to happen for us too," said Mirzaei, a lawyer. "It's practicing how to make the oppressive regimes in the Middle East understand that this world isn't how it used to be."
As Egypt erupted in celebration Friday over the announcement that President Hosni Mubarak would resign, Egyptians and others in the Washington area plan to hold their own celebration in front of the Egyptian embassy.
Applauding "the success of the people’s revolution," speakers will include local Egyptian-American activists and students who have been in close touch with friends and family in Egypt as their countrymen staged 18 days of protest against Mubarak's rule.
A second celebration at the embassy is planned Saturday at 1 pm.
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