This commentary was published in The Daily Star on 04/06/2011
Egyptians refer to their “revolution” in describing the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak last February, and they revel in its continuing afterglow, appreciating how significant and satisfying was their deed.
The historic change that Tunisia and Egypt have triggered is simply that Arab citizens are now players in this process, having been mostly idle bystanders in the past four generations when Arab statehood proliferated without any real citizen sovereignty taking root in parallel. This struggle to define the new Arab world will go on for some years. The important thing is that it has finally started in earnest, and its outcome will be determined largely by the interaction among indigenous actors that now include the once-vanished but now reinvigorated protagonist in the saga of statehood: the Arab citizen.