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Old 2011-02-23, 06:01   Link #21
don_Durandal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roriconfan View Post
It is too early to say if the revolution was a good or a bad thing. The most famous revolution of all times (the French one) led to tens of thousands being sent to the guilotine by a bunch of crazy rebels and journalists.

Mara was a man who had skin disease and to throw his anger at the world condemned thousands of not-really-worthy-of-death fellow countrymen. He was assassinated by a peasant girl who found out the truth but as a result HE became a martyr and SHE was executed as a vile criminal.

By the way, the revolution ended by sending all its leaders to the very guilotine they initiated and placing Napoleon as the new monarch. And we know what liberal person he was...

That example is what makes me be very skeptical of any rebelion. But I don't condemn them either. I am just taking a neutral stance at this event.
Except that in this particular example the revolution brought a big step forward for France, despite the horrors of Robespierre's "Reign of Terror". It brought the end of the (arguably moribund) Ancien Regime, and with it the power of the Aristocracy and Church, and allowed the rise of the middle class as the main political power. The republican ideas and spirit that still last to this day in French politics are also a product of those days, surviving even the Empire and Restoration periods.
Likewise, Napoleon brought his civil code (which still has a lasting effect in many European countries), religious emancipation and the metric system. He was a tyrant and did cause the death of millions of Europeans through warfare (although the blame should really be on the coalitions' anti-revolutionary zeal) but still brought more beneficial reforms than the old monarchy would have.

Change takes time and doesn't always use the smoothest road. It's still better than stagnation
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Old 2011-02-23, 06:11   Link #22
Irenicus
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On the contrary to the skeptics here, I embrace these events.

How could I not? It's Freedom, or a hope for it!

The youth of the Arab world has risen on their own, take their own destiny, and show to the world that even under the iron curtains of oppression and heinous propaganda they, on their own adapt the secular desires of liberty and fraternity and rise up against mighty dictators who have had the backing of great, great powers, including those whose ideologies closely conform to the liberal ideals. They take to the streets in spontaneity, die on the streets as martyrs -- the way I myself probably wouldn't hope to dare -- rally their efforts with modern technological assistance. They cry out faithful declarations to Muhammad and Allah, yet the cries to Their names sound so different to my ears to the cries heard among the terrorists and the hopelessly desperate. They sound like music, like a celebration of heritage, of culture, of a pride broken and a hope forgotten, of salvation to come.

The Third Way, long dismissed by the West as hopeless with most of us content in cynical interests that, at least, the former Nasserist leaders were secular, were "negotiable," were "stable," were not Islamists ideologically at war with everything we have believed in -- has come. It may yet fail. It might fall down in flames. The Spring of Nations in Europe more than a century ago was a similar period of euphoria, temporary triumphs -- and disaster. But, like that past moment of liberalism, it has risen.

People look back to revolutions and tell cynical tales of failures. They forget that even failed revolutions are remembered, their legends are told and heard, and they sustain hope. Whatever the bloodshed of French Revolution it was the first time in history that the cries of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity was first heard amongst the world and it was never to be forgotten. The Revolution corrupted itself in horrors; the Emperor rises; the ancien régime retakes its throne. But it was never to be the same. Decades it was to take, a century even to many, but the seeds were sown and the harvest came. As long as there is hope there is something worth fighting for. In modern mighty police states armed with sophisticated oppressive tactics refined over the decades of experience and countless examples to follow they showed that the People can still fight. How can I not be impressed?

The path forward will be hard. The Dream might yet collapse. Another corruption like Iran may as well happen. Unity, born of a common oppression, will end. The euphoria will die down, and the markets of Tunis, as of now a whirlwind of political enthusiasm, of endless awakenings, will fall back to sounds of harsh economic life and poverty for years to come. And then the skeptics will tell me, we told you so, see how bad this is? And even if it happens, for the worse for all humanity might I add, I will still say back, but you forget, these people lived, they struggled, they could have won. They will rise again. And one day their descendants will be free to be cynical, free to be complacent, free to be entitled and disinterested. And that will be the greatest accomplishment they could have hoped for.
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Old 2011-02-23, 06:14   Link #23
synaesthetic
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Have they really taken up their own, or are there powerful, rich, influential movers and shakers hiding in the shadows?

I will not sit here, put on a tinfoil hat or two and claim that the whole thing is a conspiracy. But I would not be surprised if the protests and subsequent push for reform was itself corrupted by opportunistic power-brokers waiting for their political enemies to fall.

Give me two people--a hired killer and a freedom-fighter. I'd trust the hired killer over the revolutionary any day of the week. People who kill for money are a lot more predictable and easier to deal with than idealists who kill for their beliefs.

Look at the Islamic extremists and tell me they're stable people, eh?
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Old 2011-02-23, 06:24   Link #24
Irenicus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
I will not sit here, put on a tinfoil hat or two and claim that the whole thing is a conspiracy. But I would not be surprised if the protests and subsequent push for reform was itself corrupted by opportunistic power-brokers waiting for their political enemies to fall?
Is that not why the youth of Egypt are still out, still in contact, urging the progress forward, fearing just the thing you fear? They are not stupid. They know as we do what people in power do. Probably more than us. Awareness of the dirty world can easily be reconciled with idealistic hope. "Even so, we must."

I am not blind to the dangers and tragedies of human history, which one might even sum up as ten thousand dashed hopes sacrificed to the altar of each success -- hardly, I'm a history student by trade. But I will not give up hope to cynicism when all I could do, at all, is wish them well, be that little part of the noise that will tell the ones who believe in principles I also believe, that yes, we are listening, and yes, we love you for what you are doing. I refuse to take the position of intellectual cynicism; schadenfreude might save me embarrassment at the end of the day, but I'd rather hope.
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Old 2011-02-23, 06:24   Link #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
Have they really taken up their own, or are there powerful, rich, influential movers and shakers hiding in the shadows?

I will not sit here, put on a tinfoil hat or two and claim that the whole thing is a conspiracy. But I would not be surprised if the protests and subsequent push for reform was itself corrupted by opportunistic power-brokers waiting for their political enemies to fall.

Give me two people--a hired killer and a freedom-fighter. I'd trust the hired killer over the revolutionary any day of the week. People who kill for money are a lot more predictable and easier to deal with than idealists who kill for their beliefs.

Look at the Islamic extremists and tell me they're stable people, eh?
I'm not sure if you're actually assuming that the revolution around the middle east is encouraged by powerful people who want to get rid of political enemies. I highly doubt that's the case here because for starters, it's happening in multiple parts of the middle east, each country being relatively independent of each other (OPEC countries to a lesser extent). I doubt very much that people like Yasser were fighting for power. People like him fought to protect their home, their neighbours and their loved ones. There's more reason to believe these revolutionaries took up arms on their own when it's happening nearly everywhere in the middle east. And the islamic extremists you refer too can't be compared to the revolutionaries. The latter haven't gone to the effort of killing anyone. And as Irenicus pointed out, there's a reason protesters are still out there. They know how corrupt people in power are. If they were encouraged by power, they would've stopped protesting the minute Mubarak resigned. They want change, and they won't stop until it happens.
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Old 2011-02-23, 06:27   Link #26
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A switch to democracy may sound well and good, but how many of the governments are pro-Western or neutral while having a populace that is more critical of the West.

Makes me wonder though if we had we had just left Iraq alone would it citizens have toppled saddam for us and saved alot of money, lives and anti-Western sentiment in the Middle-East.
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Old 2011-02-23, 06:31   Link #27
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Originally Posted by ZeroSama View Post
A switch to democracy may sound well and good, but how many of the governments are pro-Western or neutral while having a populace that is more critical of the West.

Makes me wonder though if we had we had just left Iraq alone would it citizens have toppled saddam for us and saved alot of money, lives and anti-Western sentiment in the Middle-East.
Having a democratic government doesn't neccessarily mean emulating or having a liking for the west. It means being tolerant and accepting of their opinion, but the western model of democracy isn't the sole existing model.
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Old 2011-02-23, 06:45   Link #28
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From an economic point of view, my country was at its best shape while it was still ruled by monarchs and dictators (not even half a century ago). Because back then you weren't payed hefty to build something; it was forced labour for the good of the nation. All the money were at the hands of a few who corrupt or not were using them as they saw fit.

After democracy was established in the 70's a huge red tape system was created, which made tracking of funds to be extremely complicating and sometimes impossible to keep track of. Tax evasion became a piece of cake while bureocracy became a thing of nightmares. So many people working at such a complicating system that ended up being full of loopholes and almost zero control. And the result is ... well ... after the crisis kicked in to be a step away from bankruptcy.

I am not saying if we still had a dictator things would be better. Chances are, the economical isolation would have the same effect as it had to Russia. I am just saying things didn't REALLY improve besides being a lot more liberal and such. The regime had strict rules of keeping the country religious, family-oriented and rather xenophobic. Now we have gay parades, the youth doesn't care about religion too much, morality crimes are high. It is not better this way; just different.

Rebelions strive for improvement but most of times just manage to change one problem with another. It is just the need for change after you are fed up with the current status quo. Which is excused and accepted as long as you can be aware that things don't usually go upwards but flunctuate up and down.
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Old 2011-02-23, 09:59   Link #29
MrTerrorist
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I'm curious.
What are the chances that Iran is the next government to be toppled after Libya?
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Old 2011-02-23, 10:07   Link #30
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Originally Posted by MrTerrorist View Post
I'm curious.
What are the chances that Iran is the next government to be toppled after Libya?
I'd say way below 15% or something (highly unlikely).
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Old 2011-02-23, 12:29   Link #31
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Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
On the contrary to the skeptics here, I embrace these events.

How could I not? It's Freedom, or a hope for it!.
or an illusion, or a scam
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Old 2011-02-23, 12:57   Link #32
Irenicus
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Originally Posted by MrTerrorist View Post
I'm curious.
What are the chances that Iran is the next government to be toppled after Libya?
It survived the 2009 Green Revolution and suppressed the protests swifter and more ruthlessly than most, so not very likely. Alas. It is not like the Iranians are not capable of self-assertion; their own uprising predates this one, and the betrayal of its secular dream more than three decades ago is quietly remembered.

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Originally Posted by Nightbat® View Post
or an illusion, or a scam
Or cynical Americans denouncing a people's hope? Whose scam could it possibly be? Google's? Anonymous? This revolution takes everyone by surprise; the dictators, the West, the Islamists, the people themselves.
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Old 2011-02-23, 13:24   Link #33
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Originally Posted by MeoTwister5 View Post
Again I'd like to reiterate my words of caution on getting hooked on the euphoria of revolution. Bringing down tyrrany is the easy part, it is the time after that when you realize that making change stick and preventing tyranny's return which is the real test. 20 years after EDSA and my country is still learning that fact.
You bring up a good point, and there will be some countries that do struggle long after. But through statistical chance alone, quite a few of those countries will be better off later.

Look at the fall of the Soviet Union, and the former Soviet Bloc countries gaining their independence and struggling towards democracy:

Regarding political freedom in the former Soviet republics, Freedom House's 2006 report listed the following:

* Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine as "free" countries

In Freedom House's listing for 2005, Ukraine was listed as "partly free."

* Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova were listed as "partly free"

* Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and four Central Asian nations (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan) were listed as "not free"—while Turkmenistan in particular received the worst freedom ratings possible and was listed as one of the eight most repressive regimes in the year.

Similarly, the Worldwide Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders, recorded the following as regards press freedom:

* A good situation in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania
* Noticeable problems in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Tajikistan
* A difficult situation in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan
* A very serious situation in Turkmenistan


So, there is an even mix. And it will always, I will requote the Cycle of Nations:

"From Bondage to Spiritual Faith
From Spiritual Faith to Great Courage
From Courage to Liberty
From Liberty to Abundance
From Abundance to Selfishness
From Selfishness to Complacency
From Complacency to Apathy
From Apathy to Dependence
From Dependence back to Bondage.
Sir Alex Fraser Tyler
Scottish Historian, circa 1787 On Athens"

So if anything is clear, it is that it is up to the people to continue fighting the fight that will never end, which goes for all of us. The US and France had interesting revolutions, and ended up as more or less decently good countries. We still have our problems, but I'd say we are better off as we are now.

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

They are taking a step now to make life better for themselves. They may or may not succeed, but I wish them well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
Have they really taken up their own, or are there powerful, rich, influential movers and shakers hiding in the shadows?
Because of the way the protests were organized. No one could control them. They were spread by word of mouth, by twitter and facebook, but what united them all was the rising food prices. While this was going on, people went on strike. They didn't buy things. The price stability of oil has gone haywire, which is important for maintaining world stability which the rich and powerful want. If a lot of the oil countries go tits up, the world itself will be thrown into chaos. The rich know that only by keeping the peasants relatively satisfied, they won't be overthrown.

Really, Syn, I can be as cynical and skeptical as you, but I don't just don't see it in this case. These were real people with real grievances, who saw one country after another toss their dictator out. They overcame the fear holding them down, to demand their own dictator hit the road. Read up on what the people on the ground are saying. It was only the fear holding them back, and now that is gone.

Quote:
Look at the Islamic extremists and tell me they're stable people, eh?
They are also a minority. You're making the same mistake the US is, and giving these people undo weight, thus making people fear Muslims. Don't give into the fear. We have our own criminals who do much worse in our own country. Remember the Oklahoma city bombing? That wasn't Al-Quada or Islamic extremists; that was us. Does that make you fear the people you live and work with?
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Old 2011-02-23, 16:20   Link #34
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Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
Or cynical Americans denouncing a people's hope? Whose scam could it possibly be? Google's? Anonymous? This revolution takes everyone by surprise; the dictators, the West, the Islamists, the people themselves.
You should work for the media, also anything but objective

You're dealing with a powergap here, with no idea what's gonna fill it
You only assume it's gonna be better

What are you gonna DO if it doesn't get better?

Just like me you'll be sitting in your comfy chair 1000's of miles away with nothing more than the thought "too bad"
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Old 2011-02-23, 16:30   Link #35
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but what united them all was the rising food prices.
speaking of food prices...

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine...7007869373.htm

The second great test posed by the global agriculture crisis is to wealthy countries and their financial systems—a challenge to respond in a manner that helps rather than hurts. There's no way to sugarcoat it: What's bad for the global poor has been good for the American farmer and the American investor. The same record food prices that caused riots in Algeria and export bans in India have led to the biggest-ever U.S. farm exports, sending Midwest cropland to record values and boosting profits for rural banks and equipment makers, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Higher incomes let farmers repay debt in the fourth quarter, reducing delinquencies and increasing profit for lenders. Income for U.S. farmers is expected to jump 20 percent this year, the U.S. Agriculture Dept. said on Feb. 14. Net farm income will total a record $94.7 billion, compared with $79 billion in 2010. Crop values will jump 18 percent, to $202 billion.
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Old 2011-02-23, 17:36   Link #36
Sheba
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Originally Posted by roriconfan View Post
It is too early to say if the revolution was a good or a bad thing. The most famous revolution of all times (the French one) led to tens of thousands being sent to the guilotine by a bunch of crazy rebels and journalists.

Mara was a man who had skin disease and to throw his anger at the world condemned thousands of not-really-worthy-of-death fellow countrymen. He was assassinated by a peasant girl who found out the truth but as a result HE became a martyr and SHE was executed as a vile criminal.

By the way, the revolution ended by sending all its leaders to the very guilotine they initiated and placing Napoleon as the new monarch. And we know what liberal person he was...

That example is what makes me be very skeptical of any rebelion. But I don't condemn them either. I am just taking a neutral stance at this event.
That Revolution have still brought more progress than you are giving it credit. France have got an Empire, a restoration of the old monarchy then another republic, a second empire and a third and a fourth republic; and we are now at the fifth republic. But looking back at before 1789, France, with all the douchebags and good people here, is better off now than with the three-castes system of Nobility, Clergy and the Third-Class system of before 1789. That one have seriously sucked.

Now, regarding the revolutions that are happening, I will just say that it is only the first step. It will take a longer time, with one or two dark ages of dictatorship or extremism, but in the end, they will find themselve with functional democracy or monarchies that make the people happy and give everyone else a chance.
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Old 2011-02-23, 17:40   Link #37
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As far as revolutions go, France's is the general model. The American Revolution is an oddity compared to most.
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Old 2011-02-24, 00:29   Link #38
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Let's hope that they'll choose freedom over democracy.
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Old 2011-02-24, 00:41   Link #39
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The NYT just brought up a good point: with the Arabs states in turmoil, Iran could be sitting by the sidelines laughing. They've seen these protests before, and the clerics very apparently learnt some lessons well and kept enough of the military (and other armed factions) in their pocket. Interesting.
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Old 2011-02-24, 01:03   Link #40
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Originally Posted by yezhanquan View Post
The NYT just brought up a good point: with the Arabs states in turmoil, Iran could be sitting by the sidelines laughing. They've seen these protests before, and the clerics very apparently learnt some lessons well and kept enough of the military (and other armed factions) in their pocket. Interesting.
The Iranian government doesn't have the military in their pocket. They have their own paramilitary unit - the IRGC to settle everything for them.
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