Saturday, May 31, 2008

Revolutions - the reign of terror – creating a nation

Societies revolt, that’s what they are bound to do when those in number are deprived and those in power are free to abuse the powers vested in them. A quick glance at the revolutions that have taken place in the world in the last few centuries starting from the French revolution, up until as late as the Iranian revolution, if there is one common factor, it is the reign of terror.
So here is how this story goes, factions within society decide that the people are being abused by those who have been either vested with power, or were born with the right to those powers. These factions present or develop a plan on how they think the society should be governed, these plans could be democratic, socialist or fundamentalist in nature, examples would be the French, the Russian and the Iranian revolutions. Once these factions seize control from the forces in power (a bloody series of events in its own right), they go about transforming the way society had been governed thus fur, and transforming it into the beliefs that they bring with them. More often than not, elements that were subscribers to the previous arrangement, are eradicated. This act of extinguishing is more than just removing people who had the beliefs that were over thrown by putting them under a guillotine, it is about changing the way the society thinks, what it believes or had been believing to be right, and making the factions at large subscribe to the agenda laid out by the revolutionaries.
Simply put, when Cambodia revolted, and turned into an Agrarian Socialist state, the future of the nation was laid by the party, in the hands of the children, who were thought to be pure of the accumulation of resources phenomenon specifically, and knew nothing of commerce generally. What yielded was a nation where the adults who could work hard were put under the control of the children who were thought to have pure beliefs. Who placed family above society and nation, and lived for the cause of the party, paving the way for the birth of a nation.
So what follows is possibly decades of efforts to either change the mind set of the entire nation, or to instill a new generation with the freshly prepared mindset. The concept is, if you can sacrifice the current generation, what will come out at the end of the effort will be a pure nation that will work for the entire society.
The obvious assumption is the b beliefs of the select few are in conformation with the nation at large. The second assumption is that the beliefs are actually correct and the sacrifices will actually result in a nation stronger and closer than before.
History is witness that this has actually never happened. The French revolutions, or the socialist revolutions, or the Islamic revolution, have all failed to create a nation that is stronger than what they have replaced. This is not to say that the concept is wrong, just because it has never worked out. The fact is, there have been two reasons why this does not work out. The first is, during the reign of terror, economic viability is not created, wealth is not created, or that nations go into isolation and seize international economic activity. With out the lack of resources a downward spiral is created, one that has seen most revolutions fail thus far. The second reason is more potent. Almost all revolutions have seen power going from the hands of a select few, who abused the power, to the hands of a select few who abused the power. What resulted, at least in the case of the French was a revolution spiral and a reign of instability never before in the history of the nation.
To create a new nation by a select few in a matter of decades is easier said that done. I do not have a single example of where an individual or a group of individuals were able to create a nations in years, it takes generations upon generations to come together over a range of overlapping variables to create a nation.

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