The skeptics are coming out of the woodwork as the world waits to see what a council of generals in Egypt understands of democracy.
Did last week's spectacular events on Cairo's streets achieve a mere personnel change or true system upheaval? There's still an emergency law, the right to assembly is shaky and the role of dissidents in the transition undefined and unstructured.
All will reveal itself in good - or bad - time. But watching the adrenalin-pumped protesters nightly on Al Jazeera passing out food, creating communal habitations and linking arms to protect one another, it was easy to imagine there will be zero tolerance for continued repression in Egypt's future.
Still, counter-revolutions happen, some of them spurred by the same pacifist resistance that brought Mubarak down, like the pots-and-pans protest that signalled the start of the murderous coup that killed Salvador Allende in 1973. (Non-violence theorists never said pacifism would be the domain solely of the morally righteous.)
That aside, Egypt's elegant insurrection, unfinished though it be, stirs utopian imaginings and suggests a historical reckoning that could make guerrilla armies and suicide bombers from Nepal, Sri Lanka and Colombia to Lebanon, Gaza and Nigeria, not to mention governmental armed interventions, as obsolete as field battles fought in regimental rows.
Already, movement analysts are exploring the extent to which Egypt's 18-day epic was sheerly spontaneous or deliberately plotted. Any balance sheet, though, has to draw a line from Tahrir Square to two rooms on a residential street in East Boston, the headquarters of the Albert Einstein Institution.
The centre was founded in 1983 by Gene Sharp, who slowly came to realize that his Oxford PhD thesis, The Politics Of Nonviolent Action, published in 1973, had actually become a handbook for anti-authoritarian activists from Burma to Slovenia, South Africa, Serbia - and now Egypt.
"It's all in their hands. I'm offering no advice to anybody. I'm just pleased people find my writings helpful," says the octogenarian, ever careful to divest himself of all earthly responsibility for grand occurrences.
So how did we get from here to Tahrir? Sharp's From Dictatorship To Democracy has been available in Arabic since 2005, and in 34 other languages. It was even posted on the Muslim Brotherhood site. "I think this is very significant," he says. "Some of the stereotypes may not be true."
Beyond that, we know two Facebook groups were the organizational core, if we can use that phrase, of the uprising: the April 6 Movement set up in 2008 to support striking workers in El-Mahalla El-Kubra, and We Are All Khaled Saeed, named for a man killed by police in June 2010.
The two orgs had a close relationship and borrowed tactics from other struggles and right out of the Sharp playbook, like wearing black, handing roses to police, carrying out disciplined vigils in groups of no more than five, painting targets on their backs in front of police lines, etc.
April 6 had ties to a group of Egyptian exiles in Qatar called the Academy of Change, students of Sharp's work, and one April 6er travelled to Serbia to consult with a leader from Otpor, the Sharp-inspired group that overthrew Milosevic. Before the uprising, the group studied an Otpor instructional video.
You can see why Sharp would be keen to refuse the connection. Besides a concern for simple proportionality, he's been fending off charges by the Iranian and Burmese regimes and even paranoid lefties that his centre is a CIA tool.
He's always maintained that he's written a blueprint, and what follows is up to others. Non-violent resistance, he likes to say, is a pragmatic choice, not a spiritual practice. "It's been waged by people who, given the chance, would otherwise have used violence quite freely," he told me years ago. "The question is, how will the great struggles be fought? The dynamics of non-violent struggle are far more complex than military struggle and guerrilla war."
More complex, and yet stirringly simple, as Sharp's 198 ways to overthrow despotism show, including mock elections, earth writing, pray-ins, false identities and collective disappearance. Reading the list always blows me away.
In revolution, everything is both improvised and already foretold, a lot of it codified in the 15 or so volumes of the Einstein Institution, many of them free for download.
Did Sharp want to be in Tahrir, as he was in Tiananmen in 1989? "People were doing well on their own," he says. And besides, if anything goes wrong, he reminds me, there's another how-to: The Anti-Coup. May the heroes of Tahrir never need that one.