Both countries are now weakened by violence. Another path is possible. Taking it requires the willingness of politicians, especially those who are governing, to open the dialogue and create a broad consensus. This is the only choice; the other leads to the abyss.
Tunisia's jihadists have made their stance perfectly clear regarding their refusal to compromise with any push toward liberal democracy. The ball is now solely in the court of the moderate Islamists currently holding Tunisia's seat of power.
Today in Tunisia and Egypt, most of the people who staff the police and intelligence services are holdovers from the deposed regime -- while some of the very Islamists whom they were trained to undermine hold the reins of power.
Over the last two days in Tunis I have met with leaders of the business community, government agencies, development agencies and young people, and they all believe that there is hope and the biggest challenge is to restore dignity.
Imagine if anyone with the Internet had been able to follow the massacre of the civilians in the Warsaw Ghetto. Imagine if the world had seen all that 69 years ago: the scenes we've been witnessing every day from Homs.
About a month ago, my husband Paul and I were en route to Tunisia, which was largely calm and peaceful, to see what the revolution was like on the ground. In my experience, there is media, and then there is reality.
Berlin reporter Jabeen Bhatti and I created a project on the crowd-sourcing platform
Kickstarter to help fund a trip to Tunisia to go to ground, talking to people and figuring out what is really going on, then telling those stories.
The newly found bravery of Arab youths has spread from one country to another. The right to free expression and assembly, long restricted in Arab countries, has now been extracted as a result of the sacrifices in the streets.
Let's hope that Al Jazeera's penchant for regional anarchy is tempered by cooler heads within Arab democratic dissident ranks who have far more to lose than audience share if they prematurely swallow Al Jazeera's bait.
Good ol' Saudi Arabia. If you're a corrupt and fleeing Sunni despot, you'll always have a home in Saudi. Just ask their latest refugee, the very recently former President of Tunisia, Mr. Zine El Abedine Ben Ali.