TAMPA — Egyptian expatriates living in Tampa rejoiced Friday hearing that President Hosni Mubarak had resigned.
"We got our freedom back," said Gamal Kassem, 53, a pharmacist in Brandon who has slept little in past weeks as he watched the uprising unfold on his TV.
Kassem left Alexandria in 1979 for the same reasons young people — like his nephews — have been protesting. At 22, Kassem saw few opportunities. Leaving his family was hard, he said, but things only got worse there. It was a democracy on paper but not in practice.
"Nobody is going to break those people now," he said. "Finally, Egypt really begins over, thank God."
Albert Guirguis, a Tampa veterinarian, says he has faith in Egypt's military council, which has taken control.
"I was so relieved," said Guirguis, a Coptic Christian who had worried for his family in Cairo that the government would fall into hands of extremist Muslims.
Dr. Mohamed Ghabour, a Brandon pediatrician with family in Alexandria, said he was seeing patients in his office Friday when he received a three-word text from his brother: "Mubarak stepped down."
He said he was doubly happy when he learned that Vice President Omar Suleiman also stepped down. "He's the second head of the dragon." Ghabour said he is now placing his trust in the military.
"I see another Turkey emerging," he said, "not an Iran."
Elisabeth Parker can be reached at email@example.com.