'Egypt Is Free': San Francisco Vigil Now a Party

Categories: Local News
Egypt protest sign 01.jpg
Adios, Hosni...
Attending demonstrations regarding international affairs hastily tossed together for a San Francisco crowd is something locals could do every day of the week and twice on Sunday (oh yes, literally). Attending jubilant celebrations following the liberation of a country from a dictator's 30-year regime -- well, you don't see that every day.

At 5 p.m. tonight in U.N. Plaza, an "emergency protest" regarding the situation in Egypt will now likely be a dance party. "I imagine the mood will be different than originally intended," said co-organizer Mohammad Talat with a laugh. Same goes for tomorrow's "solidarity vigil" at the same location.

"Today is going to be partying everywhere," adds Tarek Elkhoraibi, a local Egyptian engineer with at least one San Francisco liberation party on his dance card tonight. "People just want to cry out loud. People are so happy, it is incredible."

Elkhoraibi said he spent most of this morning "crying." He is far from alone.

Like most local Egyptians, Talat and Elkhoraibi have been in constant contact with family and friends. While both had hoped this day would come, neither thought it would look like this.

"I just came back on January 24, right before this started. And it felt like people were about to explode," says Talat. "I didn't think it would succeed. I didn't think the government would be so pathetic in handling the situation. It is a brutal regime and has repressed many movements before. I am surprised at how utterly they failed to see this coming or respond to it. They were always 24 hours behind the events."

What comes next? Good question. The best possible circumstance would be a far-reaching coalition to form some manner of ruling cabinet leading to democratic elections in future months (Egypt's constitution will have to be updated, as the current version does not allow free elections). The worst? A military junta.

"You have a coup and now, basically, the army is handling the whole thing," says Elkhoraibi. "People are worried, of course. But there is a lot of faith in the Army because of the way they handled the last three weeks.

"For the first time in so many years, I am proud to be Egyptian -- and not because of the pharaohs, for a change."

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