Revolution

by acfriedman

It has been a long time coming! The word I want to focus on is Revolution. Is this a word with a strong meaning? Absolutely, it is.

Across the globe, revolution is viewed by supporters as necessary and by the opposition as treasonous. Bystanders try to justify their opinions on PRINCIPLES. But there are no principles in total warfare. When every day of your life is a live or die fight, you cannot hold on to high-minded ideals (Except if you are a reader of World War Z, and you think that these times are the perfect opportunities to hold to principle, but I humbly disagree, because not every day is a good day to die).

So the bystanders of revolution should ask themselves important questions:

  1. What would my circumstances be in a region undergoing revolution? Can I place myself in the general population and really understand what is going on?
  2. When would I decide to take part?
  3. When would I decide to oppose revolution?
  4. Can I change my mind?

I think Egypt is the best example of active revolution. Who do we in the West support? Do we support? How do we support? Let’s not be CNN or Fox News now. It is time to start from the beginning. Mubarak: he is the known history. It was against his government that the people of Egypt rebelled, not for freedom, but for bread and work. His fall from power hailed in a military leadership, ultimately incapable of meeting public demand. This leads to the election of a Muslim Brotherhood leader. Then roughly a year after inauguration, millions of Egyptians take to the streets and the military ‘dethrones’ Mr. Morsi.

Here come the choices: If the overthrow of Morsi is seen apart from the overthrow of Mubarak, this revolution looks like a revolution against administrative incompetence from a poorly organized, but LEGAL and moral, government. If you take the long view, and see Mr. Morsi’s rise and fall in terms of the same revolution that overthrew Mubarak, you may take the position that Mr. Morsi was throwing away governmental legitimacy similar to John Adam’s enactment of alien/sedition/espionage/free speech attacks. The United States benefited from a peaceful transition of power. But if it had not? If a gunmen had shot President Jefferson on his way to take the oath of office, would the United States survive? Or what if (Colonel) Alexander Hamilton led an army to arrest Jefferson in the name of saving America from a religious and republican extremist?

It is not a bystander’s part to judge a revolution, but to truly think about when he or she would leave their doorstep and take to the streets. As bystanders, we can judge events and results, but should always remember that our time on this planet is short, and that Revolution may last a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, a few months, a few years, or even forever. Revolution is always alive, as Fidel Castro might say.

Revolution in America. We talk about social revolutions on race, sexuality and preference, religion, and technology, to name a few.  How can this word work for all these different issues? I think race and sexuality have seen a major transformation, and these have at times felt like revolution. These have been fights for freedom and equality. These revolutions have been more peaceful than most societal changes. I think this is due to the loss of control by the older institutions of religions and their political brokers.

The technological revolution? Let me explode at that one: BOOM! Things are different. But let me put an image in your heads: A line outside of an apple store, with people waiting for 15 hours to walk in and by a new iPhone. On the other side of the building are people wearing white body suits, gloves and masks, also standing in line for 15 hours, to assemble those iPhones. Where is their revolution?

Is one revolution more important than another? Is Syria more vital to the Middle East, or Egypt? There are good arguments both ways, actually, which I don’t want to get in to now. Is the cultural revolution taking place in America – which is almost entirely the result of the 30 and younger crowd – more important for humanity than what a revolution could do in North Korea for the quarter of a million people in concentration camps?

I admit to getting very frustrated at the liberal use of this word, when it is not something easy to know anything about. It take long hours of contemplation, sleepless night, and wit sharpening courage to take the plunge in to Revolution where you will most likely meet your end,

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