On Feb. 11 and 12, actions took place across the United States to salute the people of Egypt. Below are reports from just some of those events.
As soon as the news broke that U.S.-backed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak had resigned from the presidency following 18 days of continuous protests in Cairo and throughout Egypt, organizers began planning to take to the streets of D.C. Previously scheduled protests were transformed into massive celebrations in the streets.
On the evening of Feb. 11 and the afternoon of Feb. 12, hundreds of Egyptians, Tunisians, Palestinians and other supporters took over the street in front of the Egyptian Embassy to sing and dance in celebration of the victory that had taken place. They also took time to recognize the sacrifice of the 300 martyrs who gave their lives over the 18 days of protests, as well as all those who died as a result of the three decades of Mubarak’s rule.
The ANSWER Coalition joined, carrying signs that read “Egypt’s revolution inspires the world” and “Stand with Egypt, Stand with Palestine.”
The elation of those who gathered was clear, but they also recognized that the revolutionary process is still unfolding, and a great deal of work is still to be done. They announced the formation of a new organization of Egyptians and Egyptian Americans in the D.C. area to help to carry the struggle forward.
The ANSWER Coalition and leading activists from the Egyptian-American community held a press conference and rally on Feb. 11 to celebrate the ouster of U.S.-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak and to provide a political analysis for the coming period in the unfolding Egyptian Revolution.
Mohamed Kolkela, a leading organizer of recent solidarity demonstrations at the Westwood Federal Building and a leader in the Egyptian-American community, said: “We know now that fighting between Muslims and Christians in Egypt was orchestrated by the Mubarak regime, with Mubarak unleashing violent attacks on Christians and blaming them on Muslims. Today, the people in Tahrir Square are not Muslim or Christian—they are Egyptian, and we Egyptians will rebuild our country together in unity.”
A youth organizer from the Egyptian-American community, Amr Elshennaway, spoke about the future of Egypt, saying: “We are not afraid of the future. We young Egyptians will rebuild Egypt into a democratic society and a more egalitarian society.”
Mike Prysner, who traveled to Egypt in 2010, spoke on behalf of the ANSWER Coalition, saying: “We don’t know yet where the people of Egypt will go from here but we do know that this was a peoples’ victory in Egypt and a first step toward throwing off the boot of imperialism that has stood on the necks of the Egyptian people for three decades.”
The press conference and rally was covered by more than a dozen local media outlets, including radio, television and print, including Associated Press and CNN Español, and marked a turning point both for the Egyptian peoples’ rebellion and the solidarity movement at home.
of jubilant demonstrators came together on Feb. 12 to celebrate the victorious
Egyptian Revolution at the gates of the University of New Mexico. Egyptians,
people from throughout the Arab world and supporters from throughout the
Albuquerque community shook hands, hugged, held signs and banners, played drums
and chanted together to reinforce the message that the people of Egypt have won
a decisive victory by ousting the U.S.-backed dictator. ANSWER Coalition signs
captured the spirit of the moment: "Egypt's revolution inspires
Cars passing by honked non-stop in solidarity, waving and raising clenched fists. A militant rally at the end featured words from event organizers—Egyptian activist Omar El-Emaway, Danya Mustafa of the UNM Coalition for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, Chris DeBonis of the ANSWER Coalition-Albuquerque and Joel Gallegos of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
That evening the celebration continued with a social gathering at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice that drew over 100 people.
On both Feb. 11 and 12, members of the Egyptian and Arab communities, along with members of the ANSWER Coalition and other progressive organizations, came out into the streets of Chicago to celebrate the triumph of the Egyptian people in the victorious overthrow of the U.S. imperialist-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak. Jubilant demonstrators waved Egyptian flags, chanted “Long Live Egypt!” in both English and Arabic, and sang the Egyptian national anthem in front of the Egyptian conciliate in downtown Chicago.
John Beacham, Midwest Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition, addressed the energized crowd on Saturday, expressing solidarity with the Egyptian youth and working class in their successful-yet-continuing revolution. He addressed the need for progressives and revolutionaries in the United States to not only stand with our brothers and sisters in Egypt and throughout the Arab World against oppression and exploitation, but also to stand against U.S. imperialist aggression and domination of the region:
“The people of Egypt, the people of Tunisia, the people of the Middle East … have a right to self-determination! U.S. out of Egypt! U.S. out of the Middle East!”
While people celebrated the fall of Mubarak in Tahrir Square, people celebrated along with them in San Francisco’s U.N. Plaza. About 200 demonstrators took to the streets in San Francisco on Feb. 11in a celebratory rally after U.S.-backed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak’s long overdue resignation was announced. Chants included “Na na na na, na na na na, Mubarak, goodbye” and “The real road to peace is the U.S. out of the Middle East.”
After a short rally demonstrators sang the Egyptian national anthem. They then danced the debkeh to the beat of the tableh raising the Egyptian flag high while chanting “Freedom for Egypt.” The demonstration lasted about two hours and ended with chanting “Oh Mubarak, can’t you see, time to join Ben Ali.”
On Feb. 12people again came into the streets, this time to San Francisco’s Civic Center for a second day of celebration. The rally opened with the reading of the 300 names of the martyrs who gave their lives in Egypt for the Revolution. This was followed talks on the nine demands of the people in Tahrir Square, and what we need to do here in United States. The rally ended with celebratory chanting.
This has been a great victory not only for the people of Egypt but for the entire Arab World. Celebrating this victory is justified but it must not be forgotten that this is just the beginning—there is still a long road ahead.
Photos and reports by: Bill Hackwell, Doug Kauffman, Leila Allahham, Natasha Persaud, Preston Wood, Sarah Sloan, Sean Pavey