Some years ago, within the rein of outgoing Egyptian president, Hossni Mubarak, I saw a photo essay in an American glossy magazine. It featured Egyptian female boxers. They wore colorful boxing silks and standard headgear, and they looked tough and determined in the ring. I thought, Hmmm, so this is going on in the Arab world? You learn something new every day.

I have been following the Egyptian ferment since the weekend, watching several hours of live feed from Cairo on Al Jazeera via the Internet. The seething masses in Liberation Square seemed little more than computer generated images until the camera focused down on a dead protester being carried on a board over the heads of the crowd.

These demonstrations, spreading like wildfire across the Arab from Yemen, on the Gulf of Aden, to Egypt, on the Mediterranean, are unprecedented, on the one hand, and it is the old story of rebellion in the streets. How does it end? All to often, in the new regime that is even more violent and repressive than the ancient regime.

The first question is: When do the demonstrations end and governance begin? When the mob breaks into the offices of power and sees that the president and his old guard are gone? Who takes the lead? Is there voting in the street? Or, in the case of the Iranian revolution, when the charismatic figure, the scowling, sinister-looking Ayatollah Khomeini, returned from years of exile in Paris—thanks to Jimmy Carter—to begin the new regime of repression that troubles the world today?

In the case of Egypt, the repressive force is the ultra-conservative Muslim Brotherhood, which preaches the gospel of Sharia Law for Egypt and the world. On its website, the Muslim Brotherhood, claims that it will respect Eqypt’s international treaties, which must include its treaty with Israel. The Brotherhood says it will not seek a leadership position in the post-Mubarak government. And it states its opposition to al Qaeda.

But, and I say again, but: It has stated it’s opposition to the Jews from its inception in 1928, to the present. The Muslim Brotherhood is the inspiration for Hamas, which was founded as an offshoot of the Brotherhood in 1987, in Gaza, and which has openly demonstrated its brutality by murdering its opponents in the street, chiefly Fatah, which it defeated in a parlimentary election in 2006, and throwing them live from rooftops. Though a social organization as well as a military force, it has shown contempt for the lives and happiness of its people in its struggle with Israel. Today it holds Gaza in its iron grip.

With good reason, the Islamacists see all this turmoil as a further opening for them, even if it is not a revolution by and for them. They know how to seize power by hook or by crook, and hold on to it.

Which do you believe, the ancient call for jihad against the unbeliever, or the new face of calm and reason? How many revolutions that begin with mobs in the street end well? This one is different, you say. Maybe, I mutter. Time will tell.

Female boxing is scheduled to make its Olympic debut in 2012. Will the female boxers of Egypt bravely make their entrance into the international ring, wearing head scarves, perhaps? Or will they be chased back to the cookfires at home under the watchful eyes of their relatives? Will we witness a freer Muslim world in the Middle East? Or a new alliance of nations, including Egypt, Syria, and Iran, ready to sacrifice all else so as to roll the apocalyptic dice in the final battle against Israel?

Or somewhere inbetween?

By Hudson Owen. All Rights Reserved.

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