Seeing Syria's children as passive victims of a tyrannical regime, however, underestimates their role in the revolt. If they've been victims, they've also been protagonists. Think back to how all this began. In March 2011, 10 Syrians between the ages of 9 and 15, inspired by the rebellions in Egypt and Tunisia, daubed The people want to topple the regime! on the walls of a school building in the neglected provincial city of Dara'a. The vicious reaction of the secret police, or mukhabarat -- they arrested and, by some accounts, tortured the children -- led to popular demonstrations; from these spiraled everything else. This isn't been a samizdat revolution, sparked by epistles from dissident intellectuals. It was started by the spray cans of schoolchildren, and by other young people who then turned to Facebook and YouTube to get the message out.