Egypt Proved Change Is Possible, Sexy and Cool!

Egyptians celebrate the news of the resignation of President Mubarak
Egyptians celebrate the news of the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, who handed control of the country to the military, at night in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt Friday, Feb. 11, 2011.
AP Photo/Ben Curtis

The uprising in Egypt is a game changer in all kinds of ways. Award-winning columnist Mona Eltahawy has our Sunday Morning commentary:

"Hello, I'm an Arab and I toppled two dictators in one month!"

Those were the words of a young Arab celebrating on Friday the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for 30 years. Mubarak stepped down just weeks after an uprising in Tunisia toppled Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali's dictatorship.

But Egypt's peaceful 18-day revolution didn't just bring down a dictator.

It toppled stereotypes about Arabs, who are often seen as violent and as a people who crave an iron-fisted strongman.

And it's helping to topple media portrayals that perpetuate those stereotypes. Those very same strongmen - such as Mubarak - often use those stereotypes to ensure the silence of western allies. They would argue only they could control their violent population.

In Tahrir Square was Alaa, a blogger friend who took me to my first protests in Cairo in 2005. He returned to Egypt from South Africa for the revolution. Also marching were Egyptian-American friends. They all did me proud!

From tech savvy young people, to businessmen, to scientists and farmers - thousands upon thousands joined pro-democracy demonstrations that told Mubarak and the entire world something Americans will still remember from Election 2008: Yes we can, too!

Mubarak tried everything to push them back home but they served him notice - we're not scared of you anymore.

He sent thugs, water cannons, tear gas, and still they came out. More than 300 died and hundreds more were injured, and still they came. And just as importantly their demonstrations were filled with "Selmeyya, Selmeyya" - that's the Arabic word for "peaceful."

By toppling Mubarak they have shown fellow Arabs that it's possible to bring about change through non-violence.

Now it's sexy and cool to be an Arab revolutionary! What an intoxicating message for a part of the world where the majority is younger than 30.

And now the entire region is captivated by our freedom rally. The baton started in Tunisia, which handed it to Egypt, which is now ready to hand it to the next candidate.

Who's next?