News / Africa

A Week After Mubarak's Ouster, Most Egyptians Are Jubilant

Crowds turn out to celebrate in Cairo's Tahrir Square, marking the success of a popular uprising and honoring the protesters who were killed, February 18, 2011
Crowds turn out to celebrate in Cairo's Tahrir Square, marking the success of a popular uprising and honoring the protesters who were killed, February 18, 2011

A leading Sunni sheikh addressed a crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square Friday, on a day honoring the martyrs of Egypt's revolution.

Egyptians packed Tahrir Square yet again Friday to listen to popular cleric Yusuf Qaradawi, one week to the day after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned.

There was certainly joy at what many Egyptians consider to be a political victory, but people quickly reflected on those who died during the protests that began January 25.

Sheikh Qaradawi led Friday prayers, honoring those who died or went missing during the 18 days of protests and praying for the future of the country.  He praised the military, which has promised to safeguard a peaceful transition, and called for the prompt release all political detainees.

The popular cleric, who had been banned from public speaking in Egypt for decades, called on all Egyptians to support the revolution by devoting themselves to work - a request apparently aimed at the series of strikes that began when Mr. Mubarak stepped down.

Qaradawi praised Egypt's young people for their role in the revolution, and he called on all Egyptians to demonstrate patience during these transitional times.

Physician Ahmad Shamseldin, at Tahrir Square wants to see all members of the old government replaced, February 18, 2011
Physician Ahmad Shamseldin, at Tahrir Square wants to see all members of the old government replaced, February 18, 2011

Ahmad Shamseldin, a 30-year-old physician in Cairo, was in the crowd listening to the sheikh's message.

"He expressed what we all Egyptians needed to hear today," said Shamseldin. "We are thinking that the army is doing enough, but it is too slow."

Shamseldin wants to see a new Cabinet in place, because he detests the old regime.

"They represent to us the stealing of the money of the Egyptian people, the taxes, the selling of the Egyptian people's industry and putting the money into their bank accounts," he said.

Sherifa Saleh, in her mid 30s, says she thinks things are progressing well in Egypt.

"I think things have been going smooth so far, and people trust the military," said Saleh. "They trust them, and I'm sure it's going to be a smooth process, not just during the coming few days but the coming months."

Salwa, a mother of four, celebrates on Tahrir Square one week after a popular uprising ushers in a new era in Egyptian politics, February 18, 2011
Salwa, a mother of four, celebrates on Tahrir Square one week after a popular uprising ushers in a new era in Egyptian politics, February 18, 2011

Saleh says her main purpose for going to Tahrir Square is to honor the martyrs - the people, as she says, "who gave their lives for this revolution to succeed."  Even with her eyes shielded behind her dark sunglasses, Saleh's emotion is evident.

"They will never be forgotten. That's all I can say," she said.

Some in Tahrir Square wore laminated tags with the colors of the flag on one side and photos of those who died on the other.

But the gathering also included the celebratory fanfare of a sporting event-  Some had their faces painted in red, white and black.  Vuvuzelas blared.  Flags in all sizes were held aloft.  Young women wearing scarves over their hair hawked "I heart Egypt" t-shirts.

A mother named Salwa took in the joyful atmosphere with her her children.  Wearing a dark peacoat and a flowing denim skirt down to her toes, a white scarf covering her hair, she smiled as she surveyed the massive crowd.

"Just to celebrate with everyone, because the kids didn't have a chance to come during those hard days, so I wanted them to celebrate and enjoy," said Salwa.

Salwa's young daughter wore a headband across her forehead in the colors of the Egyptian flag and turned her face so that the flag painted on her cheek was plainly visible.

Salwa said her children, who range in age from 5 to 17, were plugged into the revolution.

"Minute by minute, they didn't miss anything, watching TV and on Facebook and whatever newspapers on the internet," she said. "They were sharing everything, like, minute by minute."

Amid the celebration, Salwa says she is sorry that those who died are unable to celebrate the one-week anniversary of Mr. Mubarak's resignation.

"But we are so proud of them, and we know they are watching us from above and they are celebrating there, with each other, so that is enough for me," said Salwa.

There were a few solemn marches on the outskirts of the crowd, each consisting of a dozen or so people carrying posters of men who died.

While the emotions displayed in the square ranged from jubilation to sorrow, Shamseldin, the physician, says the common theme is unity.

"The Egyptian people have been united in this square like they have never been united before," he said. "The Egyptian people here in this state, in this place, in this square...  We have seen different types and different religions and different ages and different ideologies who are united right here in this square.  Nobody thinks that he has something to do over the others.  No one thinks he is better than the others.  It is just all the people united expressing their opinions."

A review committee has been appointed to redraft constitutional articles in a bid to pave the way for transparent elections.


NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs