The elation I felt last week as the masses took to the streets in Egypt has slowly turned to dread and apprehension as covert government forces brutally attack and murder people in the streets. Yesterday I watched as undercover police posing as counter-demonstrators charged into crowds on horseback and camelback, armed with clubs and machetes. Journalists were hunted down and beaten. Today, Journalists are being rounded up and arrested. Something is planned, and the security apparatus is trying to make sure we don't witness it. I just watched video of a police van plowing into a crowd of people - it is too disturbing to share.
There was no violence when the people took to the streets. None. The only violence is being perpetrated by the state. Until the violent acts of 'pro-government' thugs, what transpired was what always transpires when the masses reach the tipping point - They mass and become empowered by their numbers. Each one has a cathartic revelation - "I am not alone!" The state has a cathartic revelation as well, when it becomes apparent that the people have realized that they can organize and speak with a common voice.
What has been uncorked in the Middle East can not be contained. Indeed, it has already spread across the region. But these are brutal regimes, more brutal than the former Eastern Bloc, and they will most likely die a very violent death. I hope the forces of democracy will prevail over those of Theocracy and repression.
My fingers are crossed. There is not much else I can do.