Scott MacLeod: A Proud Moment in Egypt's History

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[Scott MacLeod is a professor at the American University in Cairo and managing editor of the Cairo Review of Global Affairs. He was Time magazine's Middle East correspondent from 1995 to 2010.]

I'd been looking forward to greeting my Egyptian students Sunday, the first day of the spring semester at American University in Cairo. Instead, classes have been canceled and Egypt burns.

I am hunkered down in my apartment with the cat. Outside, gunshots ring out through the night. My local supermarket was looted and burned, and our landlord, Tareq, came by Saturday to say that he and other neighbors have barricaded our street and formed a private militia to protect us from the anarchy.

Yet I have never been more optimistic about Egypt's future.

Whatever happens next — and there is still plenty of time for the government to do something stupid — this youth-led revolt on the Nile will somehow prevail. I believe we are witnessing the Middle East's equivalent of Berlin in 1989. A profound political transformation is underway, and in the end it is likely to result, finally, in a legitimate government of the people for the largest Arab nation and create a model for the region....

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