Friday, September 9, 2011

Is revolution always good?

   There have been an amazing number of revolutions and uprisings in the world this year. Are they always good events? What makes a revolution a progressive or regressive event? 
    Whether a revolution is “good” or “bad” depends on your perspective. Same with whether it is progressive or regressive. Most importantly, to be a revolution, there must be a radical change in the government which affects society – how people live, work, their rights, privileges and responsibilities.

I think most people here in the West would agree that the nascent revolutions in Egypt, Libya and other Middle Eastern countries are good and hopefully progressive, although it is too early to tell. If they end up being just a change of authority with no real change for the people, then they are not revolutions.
I would consider “progressive” any revolution that expands human rights and the development of a civic society. Iran’s revolution of 1979, for example, for me (and I think many Iranians) was regressive, in that it restricted the right of free speech and especially the rights of women. It will take a long time for the Iranian people to be free of these restrictions. On the other hand, the government that existed prior to that in Iran was worth breaking free from.
Actually, from a broader point of view, revolution can be both helpful and destructive at the same time. I think that people that abuse power should be brought to justice and sometimes it needs to be by any means necessary when you have not been left a choice. Yet, insinuating chaos after you have defeated your target does not make you look any better then the person committing the abuses to begin with.
We will have to take a wait and see attitude toward developments in newly “freed” Middle Eastern countries. I have hope.

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