There's the story of Wael Ghonim, until this week an anonymous young man who has been catapulted to the front ranks of the revolution, if a revolution it is. History can do that sometimes to people: they get their 15 minutes of fame and are never heard of again, or they get their 15 minutes and stay at center stage for the rest of their lives and beyond. It's hard to know. Should Mr. Ghonim turn out to be representative of the revolution, the world may well end up a better place - or at least it would be plausible to hope. (The funny thing is that I am separated from this fellow by only 2, or at most 3, degrees of separation.)
On the other hand, John Rosenthal has been looking at pictures from A-Tahrir square, including pictures culled from mainstream Western media outlets, and is troubled by the antisemitic imagery which seems quite common there. (There's more here). We outsiders have no real way of knowing how representative this is, and how significant. What we can know is that the Western media is displaying some of these images with no comment, and seems to be editing out the more blatant ones, also without reporting that they're there. It's troubling.
Judith Miller is reporting from the Herzliya conference, day by day. It's quite interesting, and depressing: apparently the Israeli establishment really is worried by the potential for mischief in Egypt. On the other hand, as Jonathan Spyer pointed out so convincingly (see my review here), the type of Israelis who convene at such conferences are not particularly representative.
Finally, just to tie together the troubling news from Egypt with the troubling news from Europe (and America), here's Tariq Ramadan pontificating on the Muslim Brotherhood at the New York Times. Of course Ramadan is a scion of the Brotherhood, so to speak, but he's also a wildly popular European intellectual; the top of polite society, you might say.
The Muslim Brothers began in the 1930s as a legalist, anti-colonialist and nonviolent movement that claimed legitimacy for armed resistance in Palestine against Zionist expansionism during the period before World War II. The writings from between 1930 and 1945 of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Brotherhood, show that he opposed colonialism and strongly criticized the fascist governments in Germany and Italy. He rejected use of violence in Egypt, even though he considered it legitimate in Palestine, in resistance to the Zionist Stern and Irgun terror gangs. He believed that the British parliamentary model represented the kind closest to Islamic principles.Pretty grim, isn't it. The Zionist expansionism he so glibly castigates as being a worthy target of violence were, at the time, the small numbers of European Jews who were managing to escape, many of them destitute, as the Nazi boot ground their necks ever harder, and antisemites throughout the continent cheered them on and tried to emulate them, except in places like Poland where the local anti-Jewish policies were worse at that moment than in Germany. This was obvious at the time, and should be quite common knowledge since then, if there was ever any meaning to the refrain "never again". Yet Ramadan puts it on the pages of the New York times, and the editors encourage him to do so, as if history never happened.