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Quote of the Day: Making a Date with Destiny

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, January 31 2011

Clearly, the scent of Tunisia’s 'jasmine revolution' has quickly reached Egypt. Following the successful expulsion in Tunis of the dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, the call arose on Facebook for an Egyptian revolution, to begin on Jan. 25. Yet the public here mocked those young people who had taken to Twitter and Facebook to post calls for protest: Since when was the spark of revolution ignited on a pre-planned date? Had revolution become like a romantic rendezvous?

-- Novelist Mansoura Ez-Eldin writes in the New York Times about her experience in getting willfully caught up in the swirl of events that became Cairo's "day of passion" on Friday. Many Egyptians, it seems, thought that the calls for change heard online were little more than young Egyptians exercising their fingers, until it became something far more, something nearly impossible to ignore.

(Though, it should probably be said, Ez-Eldin's framing makes a nice narrative about the power of Facebook and Twitter here, but it's not as if protest movements of all shapes and stripes throughout history haven't been planned in advance, with a date picked out on a calendar in some fashion. Perhaps the difference here is that the date became far more important than who picked it and how.)