Friday, January 31, 2014

Are Revolutions Meant to be Betrayed?

Revolutions are usually portrayed as the most heroic acts that can be done by a generation. Some say that they are simply shortcuts for evolution which bring immediate changes by shaking the status quo that, otherwise, might take long to; others say they are only good in clearing the way for real changes.: Only a few say revolutions are means in which you throw away the evils you know to put in the evils you don't know.

During revolutions, things happen so fast that one can't actually have control nor even clear understanding of what is going on. Post revolutionary eras are mostly unpredictable. Pre-revolution is the best course of any revolutionary progress; it engages wide range of  popular participation and is determined to a goal of laying tyranny down. That's not the same for post revolution era.

Revolutionaries don't usually talk to each other what kind of change they've to bring. Even if they do, they care less for the differences existed between them. They just work together to topple whom they call an obstacle for their esteemed change.

This working together towards different goal brings a problem when they succeed. It's true that predators agree until they will have to split their prey. After a revolution, come other successive revolutions. This is either because each revolutionary wants to take the key position to bring about their change or because the thrown ones want to come back in different colors.

Revolutions are participatory. Like the man behind the Jan 25/2011 Egypt revolution, Wael Ghonim, said it, they help in realizing “the power of the people is greater than the people in power". However, no one can surely tell not only whether the revolutionary people owns the fruit of the revolution or not; but also whether the change is for good or not. Now - 3 years after the revolution, in Egypt, Wael Ghonim's  name is labeled as “foreign agent" and he is living in Dubai. If he goes back to Egypt, he will join his friends in jail. Friends of Mubarek are now back in power.

In Ethiopia's 1974 revolution, most of the youth who risen up to throw the feudal monarchy were killed. The feudal system was broken for good (one goal achieved) but the revolutionaries were considered the enemies of the revolution for the years after. The people who toppled a monarchy were silenced by a militia rule.

In Kenya, too, not a few citizens believe the Mau Mau uprising was betrayed by Jomo Kenyatta who was “not actually a freedom fighter but an ordinary man who accidentally joined the fighters in prison". Now, 50 years after Kenya earned its independence, political power and the economy is dominated by two giants (Kenyatta and Odinga) who accumulated all snatching from their people. This eventually created a huge gap of social equity. In fact,  the fight has got Kenya independence but Kenyans are two: the rich and the poor. The former indirectly ruling the latter. I don't think Mau Mau fought for that.

On the other hand, many a social scientists argue that it is hardly possible to measure the effect of a revolution within a short period unless for centuries. This argument, however, doesn't answer how revolutions effect change that gradual evolutions can't in this long period of time. Revolutions are meant to answer popular questions shortly.

In Ethiopian contemporary politics, the deliberately weakened oppositions are not less dictators than EPRDF wherever and whenever they can. I always bother about the destiny of Ethiopia thinking ‘what if the people who are giving up with the authoritarian behavior of the regime revolt?
Is it worth the risk to revolt against EPRDF? Is there any other way to bring plurality of administration toppling this one-party rule?

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