February 16, 2011

Thoughts on Egypt and Revolution.

I realize I haven’t written anything substantial for quite some time but this has been rattling around in the old melon since the start of the Egyptian kerfuffle.

When this thing so unexpected began catching everyone flatfooted I remembered a piece by GK Chesterton where he compared revolutions to the wind blowing through the trees. A child might mistakenly think that it is the tree that makes the wind but we (or most of us) know that  it is the wind that causes the tree to move.

Like the tree on a windy day what we saw on the streets of Cairo was not the revolution, but merely the outward expression of the revolution. The revolution had already taken place  before anyone, except maybe Mubarak knew it was coming. Chesterton writes, “Mobs pouring through the palaces, blood pouring down the gutters, the guillotine lifted higher than the throne, a prison in ruins, a people in arms—these things are not a revolution, but the results of the revolution.”

The Obama administration which never seems to be able to judge which way the wind is blowing was left twisting. The right, ever the realists, was sure that this could only end with a different flavor of despotism. The left media placed their bets on democracy even though an Pharaonic Thomas Jefferson was nowhere to be found. As Chesterton notes, “You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy, you must have a democracy in order to have a revolution.” There is little glimmer of that in the Arab world.

So despite everyones best guess, it wasn’t the supposedly reformed Brotherhood or the Egyptian huddled masses longing to be free; it was the military that saw the reign of an 82 year old dictator coming to the end and was not willing to pass the torch to the next generation of el Mubarak.

Mubarak, who has spent his life gauging and sometimes standing headstrong against these Arab winds recognized what was driving them this time and he tried to face it down once more. We will probably never know if the old despot really had a stroke or succumbed to lead poisoning but the militaries revolution looks like it has succeeded. Egypt went thought what looked like a hell of a blow but if history  is any indication it is probably safe to say that  the status quo came through it intact. Move along folks there is nothing more see here.

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