24 October 2011

Revolutions - what you see isn't always what you get

I was one of those annoying kids who was politically aware at a very young age, something guaranteed to annoy teachers of the day who believed, (as many still do) that "experience" equals "ability" and therefore no one should have an opinion until they were old and grey.

I recall getting into trouble for drawing a barbed wire topped wall with an American tank on one side and a Soviet tank on the other. Tssk, tsssk said the teachers, you are too young to know about such things, ignoring the glaring fact that I obviously was aware and obvioulsy knew more than they - even at my tender age. OK, so maybe it wasn't such a good idea for a nipper to tell them that!

Since then I have seen many revolutions, with many heroes. All too often it has been the same scenario. Blood flows in the streets, cries of help from the ruins of shelled houses, followed by promises of freedom, democracy and reform. Then a few years later we start all over again as new liberators liberate the country from the previous liberators. The leaders wear nicer suits and uniforms, they are feted by the world elite and dedicated followers of causes - and the people continue to die as quickly as the dreams and hopes they once had through what proved to be empty promises.

I recall when I was 13, I was full of optimism that the coup led by a dashing young Colonel, would bring true reform to Libya. I may have been politically aware, but it seems I was as naive as the world leaders of today. Soon I began to realize that nothing had changed. I was disappointed. Within a few short years, disappointment was sadly replaced by a feeling of déjà vue as one "popular" uprising after another, turned out the same way.

But cynicism and disappointment bred by years of hearing the same old song sung by different players, should not dampen anyone's dreams or hopes for a new beginning, a freedom not previously experienced.

But beware, when it comes to revolutions and revolutionary heroes - what you see is not always what you get.

Wherever you may be - be safe
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