A day after President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, Egyptians in Chicago traded their earlier protests outside the Egyptian consulate for chants of joy.
Ayahel-Beshbeeshy draped herself in the Egyptian flag before coming downtown from the West Loop neighborhood to join several dozen Egyptians and supporters of the country's democracy movement to sing songs outside the consulate on North Michigan Avenue Saturday afternoon and share their relief that Mubarak acceded to protesters' demands.
"We want to show everyone in Tahrir Square and all over Egypt that we stand by them and really admire them for what they've done," said Ayahel-Beshbeeshy, 19, who was born in Wisconsin but has many family members still living in Egypt.
With a crowd dancing in a circle on the sidewalk behind her, Ayahel-Beshbeeshy said it's important for members of the Egyptian diaspora to keep attention focused on the country while its political future remains uncertain.
"We hope they can organize elections efficiently and smoothly so they can have an open government that really reflects the will of the Egyptian people," she said over the sound of singing in Arabic.