According to the UK-based The Telegraph's Richard Spencer, the acquittal of Hosni Mubarak brings the wheel full circle. Whatever the terms of the verdict, it will be seen by both sides of Egypt's fractured politics as setting a judicial seal on a reversal of the Tahrir Square revolution.
The "Day of Rage," January 28 2011, was one of the most remarkable, dramatic, and certainly telegenic moments of modern history. The feared Mubarak police, so long the tormentors of ordinary Egyptians, were driven from the streets of central Cairo and the bridges over the River Nile by massed ranks of protesters, who stood shoulder to shoulder against tear gas and water cannon.
The battle for the Square was captured live by television cameras filming from the balconies of central Cairo's tourist hotels, and seemed to mark the beginning of the end for the Arab dictatorships.
But away from the cameras, another story was playing out. In the suburbs of Cairo, Alexandria and other cities, mobs were burning down police stations. The police were trying to disperse the crowds in the only way they seemed to know: firing live rounds directly into them.
They went on to shoot wildly into other gatherings, eventually laying waste to demonstrations near Tahrir Square itself.
In total, on that and succeeding days, 846 people were killed. Thanks to the joyous festivities on the liberated Tahrir Square, these killings passed almost unnoticed--except in the rapidly filling hospital morgues nearby.
Were the shootings the result of direct orders from the top? In Egypt's hierarchical politics, it seems impossible to think otherwise. Nevertheless, Saturday morning's judgement tells us they were not a direct command.
It was, of course, already politically impossible for Mr Mubarak and his interior minister, Habib al-Adly, to pay any real judicial price for what happened on those days. The horror that unfolded during the afternoon and night of January 28 has been matched or outdone by events since, in Egypt and elsewhere.
Most importantly, Egypt's new strongman, President Abdulfattah al-Sisi, owes his own position to the tough line he took with protests subsequent to the military coup that brought him to power. A thousand more protesters died in August last year, and the line of command for those shootings is on record.
Mr Sisi's cabinet was warned that to clear the streets of demonstrations then might cost even more lives – two or three thousand. The possibility, and fear, of subsequent prosecution was among the issues discussed.
Defenders of the military will say that there were other unseen forces at work on January 28, whose consequences are also being played through today.
The decision of the Muslim Brotherhood to join the protests, originally organised by trade unions and other secular groups, was recorded but not properly understood: the Islamists were a much stronger part of the subsequent revolutionary movement than journalists realised, and more determined to create the new Egyptian society in their image.
There is some truth to that. It turned out that while overwhelming numbers of Egyptians, including many in the military and the police, were happy to see the end of Mubarak's decrepit rule, visceral hostility to Islamism, particularly in the police, was a much sterner challenge.
It is also true to say that liberal, secular politicians and their followers proved so disorganised and feckless that it became easier to sell the idea that Egypt faced a straight choice between military rule and hard-line Islamism.
Some of those liberals now back Mr Sisi and his new authoritarianism: the new rulers are far more brutal and capricious than Mr Mubarak's regime.
They say a "stable government" now can allow them to plant the seeds of a democratic landscape to come. There are precedents for that – in Pinochet's Chile, and former Asian dictatorships like South Korea's or Taiwan's.
The regime still claims to be "revolutionary."
But then the regime has claimed to be revolutionary ever since Mubarak's military predecessors came to power six decades ago.
Real democracy may take decades more. In the meantime, those who kill for the state will remain unpunished.