The amazing scenes that were beamed from Cairo's Tahrir Square in January and February 2011 conveyed an important revelation about the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the human spirit. In particular, they highlighted the miraculous power of joint public action not only to carve out spaces for freedom, but to forge a new shared identity which is indispensable for the establishment of a durable democratic order. No less significant, however, is that revolutionary action by pro-democracy insurgents has provided concrete answers to many puzzles that had exercised democracy theorists and Middle East experts for decades. By showing how such action can overcome the divisions and obstacles theorists have seen as an impediment to democratisation, the preoccupation with ‘prerequisites’ for democracy has been revealed as a diversion. From the American Revolution to Tahrir Square, pro-democracy revolutionary action has the power not just to overthrow tyranny, but also to refashion the nation, starting with the revolutionaries themselves. It can also ‘overthrow’ theory.