On Saturday, January 29, I watched from the balcony of my Cairo apartment as a mob of young men with crude weapons smashed and looted the Radio Shack next door. This was when I realized things were deadly serious in Egypt.
The majority of the 80 million people of Egypt live in abject poverty. They go to kiosks to make calls. A substantial number have never used the internet. They are not twittering -- they are out on the streets giving vent to three decades of anger.
While it is still too early to call the protests in Egypt a revolution, Cairo has been under siege for 48 hours. The three-decade long rule of a despot -- and the country's role as an American ally -- is being challenged.