The backward steps the Egyptian regime has taken are emblematic of the archaic dictatorship in Cairo, which will spare no measure to preserve itself. Hosni Mubarak’s orders to march on his people, to shut down communication for over 80 million citizens, and to direct tanks at Egyptians with Soviet-style sadism are among the desperate last acts of a disgusting old wretch. The opposition is calling for Mubarak to step down, but he will fall down soon enough, ailing as he is. And his legacy will not be that of a quiet dictator, which is the best he could have hoped for, but that of a blood-soaked ruler who gave nary a damn for anything other than his own power and bloated pockets.

Justin D. Martin is a journalism professor at Northwestern University in Qatar. Follow him on Twitter: @Justin_D_Martin