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Pride, tears, joy: Egyptian-Americans celebrate Egypt's new beginning

In offices, online, and by phone, Egyptians across the US cheered events Friday in Egypt, as President Mubarak stepped aside. 'The tears kept gushing,' says one overjoyed Egyptian-American.

By Husna HaqCorrespondent / February 11, 2011

A woman has her face painted with the Egyptian flag as celebrations commence in Tahrir Square Friday following the announcement that Hosni Mubarak will step down as president.

Ann Hermes / The Christian Science Monitor

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Rochester, N.Y.

As Cairo exploded in jubilation upon hearing news of President Hosni Mubarak’s exit, Egyptians across the United States cheered alongside, through instant messaging, Facebook, and emotional phone calls to friends and family in Egypt.

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As the news hit the airwaves, Egyptian-Americans report that they felt a range of emotions: disbelief, pride, but also concern over Egypt’s future.

“I will never forget this day,” says Noura Fadel, an Egyptian-born dentistry student in Rochester, N.Y. “For so long we didn’t have hope. Now we have hope.”

Ms. Fadel, who grew up blocks from the Presidential Palace in Cairo, said she had heard rumors Mr. Mubarak might step down, so she spent the morning refreshing her Facebook page “every 30 seconds,” waiting to hear the news.

When she finally did, she says, “I called my mom [in Egypt], that’s the first thing I did, congratulated her…. I was in [the dentistry] clinic, I was crying, and they told me to go home … but I don’t feel like going home, I want to celebrate,” she says, continuing to send and receive text and Facebook messages as she spoke. She says her friends and fellow Egyptians across the world – Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Qatar – were celebrating and dancing in the streets.

“The first thing I’m doing, I’m going to the chapel to pray and meet my people, all the Egyptians…. We’ll get together and celebrate,” she says, adding that she will make kuneifa, an Arabic pastry, and distribute it to friends in congratulations.

In a mid-morning communiqué, Mubarak said he turned over all power to the military, and left the Egyptian capital for his resort home in Sharm el-Sheik. The announcement, delivered by Vice President Omar Suleiman on state television during evening prayers in Cairo, set off ecstatic celebrations in Cairo – and elsewhere around the world.

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