Egyptians and Syrians have little in common – except their recent history. Both have been scarred and ultimately traumatized by dictatorial leaders who crushed their followers for some thirty years. And both have been seized in the last year or two by followers finally fed up – by followers willing in many cases to fight to the death to overthrow the tyrannies to which they had been subjected for so long.
I do not wish or intend to exaggerate the parallels. What has happened in Egypt even in the recent past is in many of the most important ways different from what has happened in Syria. Similarly, there are obvious differences among the key leaders, Hosni Mubarak, Bashar al-Assad, and now Mohammed Morsi.
Still, on this 7th day of December in the year 2012, this can be said. Events in both Syria and Egypt continue to be driven from the bottom up. All the evidence suggests that Assad’s time in office is nearly up, and that Morsi gravely miscalculated when he assumed Egyptians more passive and pliable now than they were just a couple of years ago. In the first case too much blood has been spilled, and in the second too much change has been created, for a reversion to past practice. Unless and until power is shared, in both countries, the past will continue to bedevil the present and the dispossessed will not rest.