'The Arab world watched a moment that suggested it would never be the same again — and waited to see whether protest or crackdown would win the day. Words like uprising and revolution only hint at the scale of events in Egypt, which have already reverberated across Yemen, Jordan, Syria and even Saudi Arabia, offering a new template for change in a region that long reeled from its own sense of stagnation.
“Every Egyptian understands now,” said Magdi al-Sayyid, one of the protesters.
The protesters have spoken for themselves to a government that, like many across the Middle East, treated them as a nuisance. For years, pundits have predicted that Islamists would be the force that toppled governments across the Arab world. But so far, they have been submerged in an outpouring of popular dissent that speaks to a unity of message, however fleeting — itself a sea change in the region’s political landscape. In the vast panorama of Tahrir Square on Wednesday, Egyptians manned makeshift barricades, belying pat dismissals of the power of the Arab street.
...Dignity was a word often used Wednesday, and its emphasis underlined the breadth of a movement that is, so far, leaderless. Neither the Brotherhood nor a handful of opposition leaders — men like Mohammed ElBaradei or Ayman Nour — have managed to articulate hopelessness, the humiliations of the police and the outrage at having too little money to get married, echoed in the streets of Palestinian camps in Jordan and in the urban misery of Baghdad’s Sadr City. For many, the Brotherhood itself is a vestige of an older order that has failed to deliver.'