For two long centuries, the Arab Middle East has struggled to meet the challenge of modernity, a task exacerbated by the lingering, and increasing, dissonance between the glorious past and the shameful present.
Democracy will not come to the Middle East through foreign intervention, sanctimonious statements, voluntary reforms by autocrats, or armed struggle by a self-selected vanguard. It will only come through the power of people.
Into the void of ex-dictator Hosni Mubarak comes a challenge for the United States to become an honest broker for peace between Israel and Palestine, to abandon preemptive wars, and to forsake its role as arms merchant to torturers.
In raising concerns about the long-term meaning and results of Egypt's revolution, we must return to the very definition of revolution: a rapid, fundamental, and violent domestic change in the dominant values and myths of a society.