28 January 2011

The thing that bothers me about uprisings

Politics and human rights have always been of interest to me. I was never shielded from the TV news, and what I didn't understand was explained to me in a way that was simple and unbiased. Of course British schools have never been fond of children who think for themselves, and I recall running into trouble for producing a simple sketch of a Russian tank on one side of a wall, and an American tank on the other.

I was very young, but I could work out that if two kids calling each other names in the schoolyard resulted in fisticuffs, then the same thing could happen with nations. My logic may have been simple but I prefer simple logic to well intentioned naivety - it's a lot safer.

Thinking about the recent unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, I felt the passion I felt so many times in the past. Revolutions, uprisings, popular resistance movements - I have seen and cheered many.

Today, there is a feeling of change in the air, that tyrannical regimes will be toppled and people will have food on the table, freedom of thought, freedom expression - of the kind enjoyed by those who live in Western countries whose governments prop up despots in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt.

Just one problem

The thing that bothers me about uprisings is the tendency to replace a despised corrupt bastard with a popular corrupt bastard.

To those of you taking to the streets today, my usual sign off is even more appropriate - wherever you may be - be safe.

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