As A Revolution Matures


by Patrick Appel

David Bell compares Egypt's uprising to famous revolutions throughout history. He argues that "the crucial point to keep in mind, as events in Egypt unfold, is that ... the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 may still just be getting started":

 Egypt probably does not face the prospect of an Islamic Revolution in the next few months. But if Mubarak falls and is replaced by a weak, unstable series of governments that cannot restore order or deliver serious social and economic reforms -- and thus quickly lose credibility and legitimacy among the population -- then a different, far more radical revolutionary movement may yet develop. And despite the current lack of a charismatic leader for such a movement, one could quickly emerge out of the torrent of events. In July 1789, Maximilien Robespierre and Georges Danton were unknown lawyers; Jean-Paul Marat an unknown doctor, known to most of his acquaintances as something of a crackpot. Within four years, they had emerged as leaders of the most radical revolution yet seen in history.

(Photo: Egyptian anti-government protesters hold a huge national flag as they gather at Cairo's Tahrir square on February 8, 2011 on the 15th day of demonstrators against the regime President Hosni Mubarak. By Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images)