The Art of Revolution

I’ve heard more than a few individuals refer to the recent uprising in Egypt with quite a bit of disdain in their tone. They invariably claim to have correctly predicted that such social unrest would set a bad example and lead to other oppressed peoples following suit.


Civil unrest has erupted in a number of Middle East nations as fed up citizens look to finally rid themselves of corrupt rulers. It should go without saying that during widespread protests of this nature some unsavory things are going to occur, such as the attack on CBS reporter Lara Logan. This, however, does not suddenly invalidate the overwhelming success of the Egyptian people. And by all accounts, the protests in Egypt were generally peaceful. Obviously, the same can’t be said for what’s going on in Libya, but that’s because Gaddafi has let the dogs loose on the people and they’re simply responding in kind. Regardless of whatever political, religious, or sociocultural complexities exist to make each new uprising in some way different from what took place in Egypt, all of the Arab world’s revolutionary-minded nations owe Egypt a debt of gratitude for doing it first. They not only did it first, but they did it well. They literally established a hub from which to conduct their revolution; Tahrir Square became a mother ship of sorts, providing specific locations for bloggers, flag sellers, artists, and food vendors. There were toilets, a pharmacy, and even a KFC that presumably had been cleared of its overly greasy chicken and turned into a medical clinic.

The bottom line is that Egypt’s revolution was successful because it was essentially a finely tuned machine. Those who complain about or criticize the events either (1) have no idea what it’s like to be oppressed or discriminated against; (2) as an extension of (1), don’t realize the importance of civil disobedience in the face oppression; or (3) have never seen this photo:

It’s not a pyramid, but it is another product of Egyptian innovation.

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