The trite dichotomy that Egypt has “democrats who are not liberals” (the Brotherhood) and “liberals who are not democrats” (the huge crowds in the street), propounded most recently in the New York Times may sound smart at Manhattan cocktail parties, but it doesn’t take us very far into the minds of the Egyptian masses.

The root, the trunk and the branch of the uprisings that began in early 2011, in fact, is the fight for honor and dignity in the face of governments – whether Mubarak’s or Morsi’s — that have demanded submission, delivered few or no benefits, and left the Egyptian people feeling humiliated both at home and abroad.

Egyptians like to think of their ancient country as Umm al-Dunya, the mother of the world, not a struggling also-ran in a global economy dependent on demeaning loans from the International Monetary Fund or cynical charity from the Gulf Arabs who, when they come to Egypt, often treat the men as servants and the women as whores.

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