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Understanding revolutionary Egypt

Nathan J. Brown: Not Even a Genie Could Have Seen This Coming

For so long, Egypt seemed impervious to change. In the last week, the country has changed by the hour. 

A member of the Islamist opposition once told me the following joke: A man was walking along the beach in Alexandria when he saw a lantern. He picked it up, rubbed it, and out popped a genie. "You have one wish!" the genie exclaimed. The man thought and replied "I love New York! Build me a bridge from my front door to the middle of New York City so I can go back and forth at my pleasure." 

The genie scowled: "Please give me a real wish that I can make come true."  The man was disappointed for only a brief moment before he said, "Before I die, I want to see a different president of Egypt." The genie thought for a minute and replied, "All right. Should I make the bridge one lane or two?"

Continue reading the discussion:

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MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images

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