Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Demonstrations or revolutions?

The unrest in the Middle East continues to spread, now with violence in Libya.  As usual, what to look for is what the military does.  People in the streets are just demonstrators unless they can get the military to side with them.  In Egypt, the military sided with the demonstrators to the point of deposing Mubarak and leaving the military in charge - I have great hopes that this is temporary and the military will establish systems to create free and fair elections (at least free enough and fair enough to establish an acceptable government).  Once the existing regimes fall, then the demonstrations can be called revolutions.

In Libya, it looks like some of the military is attacking the people and some are refusing to do so, so the outcome is very much in question, but it is looking like Qadhafi is in charge for now, but many are optimistically expecting him to be overthrown.  I certainly hope so.

Even if the currant regimes fall, the establishment of workable democracies is still very much in question.  Revolutions often create new tyrannies - e.g. the French revolution created the Great Terror of Robespierre, the Russian revolution created the tyranny of Lenin and Stalin, etc.  They can also create democracies - e.g. America, the Baltic states with the overthrow of the Soviets.

I am sending my prayers for actual, functional democracies that are desirous of  moving into the modern world and having a respected voice in joining rather than attacking the rest of us.