A few days ago we asked the question. Now we know that the answer is unreservedly, “Yes!”. The largely secular, nonviolent, youth-led democracy movement unseated Mubarek’s 60-year regime and, according to The New York Times, “the Arab world’s original secular dictatorship”.
There is little doubt about the role of social media in organizing the Egyptian movement and the social contagion that followed. But we must not forget that deposing the ruler is an ancient rite.
Mayans, Germanic tribes, and others around the world have performed ritual replacement of their leaders by openly sacrificing them–often dismembering them and eating their parts, wrenching away the distinction between human and divine. It is presumed this ritual cannibalism was a way of passing the leader’s courage and wisdom through the tribe.
Although Egypt has a history of deifying leaders claiming to be the son of Ra, the crowd has gotten what it wanted: independence from a reign of corruption, cronyism, and terror.
With the demographics of young, poor, downtrodden populations in other Arab countries (in Iran, 60% of the population is under 30), as well as in Africa, Asia, and Europe, the question is how many other nations will follow Egypt’s example?
The world will be watching to see who’s next on the menu.