American democracy enthusiasts have never grasped the class issues in the Egyptian Revolution. The pro-democracy activists and twitterati who led the street protests looked to us like admirable freedom loving liberals.
To many ordinary Egyptians they look like yuppie scum: westernized, privileged preppies whose fathers made enough money by collaborating with the old regime to send them to fancy schools and buy them the smartphones and tablets that hook them up to the web.
That seething hostility came out yesterday as mobs of ordinary Egyptians turned on Tahrir liberals as police drove the demonstrators out of the downtown traffic hub that has served as revolution central for the last six months.
Ever since Americans mistook the Marquis de Lafayette for the face of the French Revolution, we keep making this mistake. The liberals we love are not the wave of Egypt’s future, at least not yet — just as they weren’t the wave of Russia’s future in either 1917 or 1990.