A society which has no history of Freedom, which has gone from Pharaohs, to Caliphates, to Foreign Occupation, to Presidents-for-Life, all of it overshadowed by the threat of force, is a land totally devoid of even the simplest idea of what freedom is. At the moment, all the talk about "Freedom" in Egypt is little more than people using this month's new buzzword.
So, for those of you who are beginning to buy the "democratic movement arises in Egypt" theme the American Press so fervently hopes to spin you with, it has no actual facts to back that assertion up There are no democratic institutions, for a start, and they could not be magically created overnight (see Iraq). Sure, Egyptians could vote, but that's not the same thing. Purple fingers do not a democracy make. In fact, if given the chance to vote in fair, democratic elections, Egyptians are likely to do what the Palestinians and Lebanese have done and vote for the Terrorists and Islamonazis among them. When the smoke clears, and Mubarak and the other despots in the region who are also under threat from this nascent "freedom movement" are gone, we're likely to see even worse forms of government arise.
What has happened in Egypt up to this moment was, to a point, entirely predictable. This is why our government, press, intelligence and diplomatic services all seem to have been taken by surprise. Even the dumbest people on this planet, given time, will eventually get fed up with some situation and then decide to do something about it, even if they're not quite certain as to what they're pissed about, or what to do about it. I'm not going to pontificate on whether or not Mubarak is a prince amongst Men, or the worst sort of douche bag, because I have no first-hand experience, and because I know that at least 80% of what passes for information on the nightly newscast is someone's opinion, rather than facts. But my guess is when the American punditocracy (a.k.a The Flapping Rectums) asks the question in another decade, "Who Lost Egypt?", the first people they'll look to blame will be the American political class, but the real culprits will have been the Egyptians themselves.
Edited for content by Diogenes