Khaled Hegazzi of Alexandria, Egypt, proprietor of Pharaoh's Cave retail shop in New Orleans' French Quarter, has cause for celebration as crowds in Egypt are celebrating their freedom from the Hosni Mubarak regime. "I feel so happy, I feel so proud -- it's hard to describe the feeling of seeing the entire nation jumping up and down in the street and just being so beautiful. It's a big moment," he told me today as customers streamed in and out of the shop.
"We lost faith yesterday, but God helped us this morning and he stood with us. We had faith in the army but we didn't have faith in him (Mubarak). "Yesterday his speech was awful. He basically made 80 million people so disappointed, but today is a beautiful day."
Hegazzi has been following the protesters' activities, organized on a Facebook page created by Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim, since day one and could often be found at the shop's front counter watching streaming video from Egypt until the country's internet was temporarily shut down. "I can't believe these 17 year old kids did it," he says of the regime change accomplished in 18 days from the first protest on January 25.
"I'm so proud of them. I knew the finish would be freedom."