So a look at the "Battle of Cairo" does not lend us much hope for a glorious Egyptian renaissance, at least in the short run:
Pro- and anti-Mubarak protesters fought pitched battles like medieval armies -- with makeshift catapults to launch rocket attacks from behind improvised barricades -- as they struggled for control of central Cairo yesterday in a run-up to a potentially bloodier showdown today.
Gangs of pro-Mubarak thugs beat journalists, foreigners and human-rights workers with fists and clubs...
Wednesday's onslaught, which left at least five people dead and hundreds injured, produced surreal scenes, most notably a horse-and-camel charge by the attackers. The two sides battled for hours with crude weapons - sticks, stones, bottles, cudgels- fighting that escalated after dark into gunfire and firebombs aimed at the square's defenders.
I'm not mocking. I am simply having my doubts that a population can transition from medieval to post-modern overnight. In a sense Mubarak is right; he has to go, but leaving a crew of cudgel-swinging camel-jockeys to fill the power vacuum will not end well, for us or the Egyptian people.
Let's hope we can figure out a way to work out a transition to at least some democratic institutions in Egypt before Mubarak flees the coop. After all, isn't this the very reason we elected a man with a Muslim-sounding name and a supergenius-level intellect to the White House in the first place?