Egypt Gets "Best Option We Could Hope For:" Bay Area Expert

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    Getty Images
    CAIRO, EGYPT - FEBRUARY 11: Anti-government demonstrators celebrate upon hearing the news of the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. After 18 days of widespread protests, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has now left Cairo for his home in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheik, announced that he would step down. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

    The resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was considered a favorable action by several Bay Area professors and residents  who have been affected by recent events in the Middle East.
      

      "It's the best option we could have hoped for," said Robert  Sproul, the assistant dean of development at University of California at Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, on Thursday when Mubarak was expected to  step down.
      

      Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Cairo over the past  several days on rumors that Mubarak would step down, but the president surprised protesters Thursday by saying he would not resign, and instead delegate more power to Vice President Omar Suleiman.
      

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      But Mubarak resigned his post today, Suleiman announced, which brought a wave of celebration in Egypt, according to media reports.
       

    "It's a moment of transformation that's taking place because the people of Egypt are calling for change," President Obama said in a speech at  Northern Michigan University on Thursday.
       

    "It's young people who have been at the forefront," Obama said. "A new generation, your generation, who want their voices to be heard."
       

    Saba Mahmood, a professor of anthropology at UC Berkeley, said the protests and resignation of Mubarak is the biggest event in the Middle East in the past 60 years.
       

    "This uprising is going to be felt in every single country in the region," Mahmood said. "There is a huge concern whether there will be a transition to a true democratic process."
       

    Hisham Ahmed, a politics professor at Saint Mary's College of  California, said the movement in Egypt and in surrounding Arab countries is irreversible and signifies the beginning of a revolutionary change.
       

    Ahmed said that the Obama administration must be vocal in its support for the Egyptian people.
       

    "It's a delicate situation for the Obama administration, but these are historic times. These are serious times," Ahmed said. "I hope the  administration won't be making the mistake of sending a message to the Egyptians that their friendship with a dictator is more important than the  welfare of the people."
     

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