Egypt-inspired protests against authoritarian regimes are spreading across the Middle East. In Iran, Bahrain, Libya and Yemen, young activists have also broken free of the shackles of fear and are challenging the legitimacy of their governments. Few have already fallen, particularly in Bahrain; more will die in the coming days. But the fight for freedom will continue, even though there will be inevitable setbacks.
In Egypt, after the heady days of Tahrir Square, the more difficult task of moving toward an open society has fractured the united front of young Egyptians. But this is the norm, not the exception. Post-revolutionary success is always followed by missteps and in-fighting. People and parties will stumble and fall but in the end, they will reach their democratic goals in the context of their culture.
Iranian leaders have vowed to crush the protesters, that is, kill them ruthlessly, to retain their stranglehold on power. It is amazing how tyrants across the world and across time remain the same. It is even more amazing the certainty with which they fall, as if they never existed.
A renaissance is coming to the Muslim world and no force can stop it. A flowering of science, astronomy, medicine and literature is long overdue from a people who led the world in these fields from the eighth through the fourteenth centuries. Much blood may flow before it happens but happen it will.