Beyond the euphoria and uncertainties of the moment, the revolt in Egypt has sparked a debate about how much technology and information matter in a revolutionary context. Some commentators, particularly in TV coverage, have claimed that Twitter, Facebook, and blogs largely drove events in Egypt.
Life can be surreal at times. Earlier this year, I spent nearly three hours in a tent in Tripoli, sitting by a fire and drinking tea. The first surreal thing about this experience was the setting: a tent located in a grassy park where horses, camels, and goats grazed, walled off by a series of gates from the city that surrounded them. The second was the backdrop: the ruins of a building U.S. warplanes had bombed in 1986.