“Let us remember that revolutions don’t always establish freedom. Our own free institutions were not the product of our revolution, but rather the inspiration for it!” –Millard Filmore, 13th President, reprisal by Editor
Egypt: Peaceful Revolution Leading to Democracy or Can We Please Be Realistic?
By Scott Rohter, February 2011
These are all places where so called “people’s democratic revolutions” began, in order to overthrow a despotic regime, and where that revolution was then high jacked later by authoritarian forces even worse than the governments that they sought to overthrow!
The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 replaced the weak provisional government of Alexandr Kerensky with a strong government headed up by Vladimar Lenin. After Lenin’s death in 1924, “the man of steel” Joseph Stalin climbed to power. Many Russians died at the hands of this bloody dictator. If the Russian Revolution began as an earnest desire for freedom and reform by the peasants under Czar Nicholas II’s authoritarian rule, it certainly ended up in the dictatorship of a worse tyrant, Joseph Stalin, and the brutal murders or forced imprisonment of anyone opposed to his brand of socialism, (Communism)!
In China, armed conflict had been going on ever since World War I, primarily because the Japanese saw mainland China as a great prize to be had for the taking, but the revolution in China really began in earnest in the power vacuum left by the defeat of the Japanese at the end of World War II, with the withdrawal of Japanese troops from the Chinese mainland. There were two opposing forces in China at that time and they had barely co-operated with each other in order to oust the Japanese from their territory, but after the Japanese army withdrew, they fought bitterly with each other for the ultimate prize, the control of all of China! The Chinese Nationalists were led by Sun Yat Sen, until his death in 1925. After his death, Chiang Kai Shek became the leader of the Nationalist Party. They wanted to establish a constitutional republic on the mainland of China. Opposing them were the Chinese Communists led by Mao Tse Tung, and their goal was the complete restructuring of Chinese society! As in Russia with “the man of steel,” the stronger and better armed forces prevailed in China too! America did not do everything that we could have done in order to empower the forces of democracy led by Chiang Kai Shek. However, Stalin was very eager to help the Chinese Communists under Mao Tse Tung! And so the Chinese peasants who yearned for their freedom from the Japanese, were instead enslaved by one of their own, Mao Tse Tung! And the Communist Revolution in China continued on even after the Nationalists under Chiang Kai Shek fled to Taiwan in 1949. The Cultural Revolution was still being fought in the 1960’s!
“Justice deferred is justice denied.” Many Chinese were killed, murdered or imprisoned in forced re-educational camps by Mao and his successors in order to tame the Chinese yearning to be free in the years following the defeat of the Japanese, and in the years of the Cultural Revolution, and it is still going on in China today for any individual who manages to escape the conformity of social programming. For the real tough nuts to crack, they are jailed, as the Nobel Prize winning pro democracy leader, Liu Xiaobo is!
In Cuba, between 1933 and 1959 Fulgencio Batista had been in and out of power several times, and by the time that Fidel Castro mounted an armed revolt in 1959, I’m sure that the people of Cuba really wanted their freedom too, and reforms! However what they got instead of freedom, was a Communist dictator who did not permit an open and fair election for 52 years and still counting! When Fidel Castro stepped down several years ago in poor health, he handed over the “keys to the jailhouse” to his younger brother Raul. Does that sound like freedom? In my last example, thirty years after the Ayatollah Khomeini took over Iran and hijacked the democratic revolution there, the Iranian people still have to look over their shoulder to see who is listening before they start talking!
What I am saying is simply this. Just because the people of Egypt want to be free, and they deserve to be free and we would like to see them be free, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be given their freedom. All of their hopes and prayers, and all of our empathizing and sympathizing will not make it happen either! The Middle East is a tough neighborhood and the toughest guy there usually wins, not the most well intentioned or the most well respected. Mohamed ElBaradei wouldn't last one day in a real struggle for power with the Muslim Brotherhood. The most brutal ruthless killer will prevail there, like Stalin, Mao, Castro, or Khomeini, and not the best dressed or the best spoken! The Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization that spawned Al Qaeda and Hamas! They assassinated Anwar Sadat because he signed a peace treaty with Israel! They are listed as a terrorist organization by Russia! They have been suppressed and outlawed at times in Egypt because they want to establish an Islamist government! They advocate the destruction of Israel! If they were ever to gain power in Egypt and believe me they will try by every means possible, they would immediately cut off the oil supply to Israel through the Suez Canal. The Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t have to be a majority of all Egyptians in order to seize power. Only a small minority of Germans actually supported Adolf Hitler when he seized power in Germany! The same thing was also true for Lenin in Russia. (The clear favorite there was Trotsky, but it didn’t make any difference!)
There is an old quote usually attributed to Joseph Stalin. “I don’t care how many votes I get. What I care about is who is counting the votes!” The sheer number of votes, or the masses of people in support of someone or something means almost nothing. It’s the organization that counts. It’s often said that only 20% of the American colonists actually supported our revolution against the British. Yet we still prevailed with a vocal and determined minority, even though we were going up against the greatest military force the world had ever seen at the time and 80% percent of our own people didn’t even support the effort! Another very timely illustration of Stalin’s quote is President Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel resigning from his post at the White House in order to run as a candidate for mayor of the City of Chicago. Remember what Stalin said. It doesn’t matter how many people vote. It just matters who counts the vote! One person in control of the ballot box can dispose of a lot of votes! Also one person in control of the Muslim Brotherhood can dispose of a lot of peaceful Egyptians yearning to be free! The Muslim Brotherhood is well organized and they are not too picky about where they get their money from. They are well funded by both Saudi Arabia and Iran! With that funding they can buy a lot of guns and bullets and the bad guys willing to use them, to advance their Islamic cause!
What is going on in Egypt is not an American style revolution, like our War of Independence! There is no Declaration of Independence. There is no Patrick Henry or George Washington. There are just a lot of unemployed and hopeless Egyptian youths standing around in the streets, supposedly dreaming of what it would be like to be free. Freedom is a concept that they don’t fully understand yet. What they probably want is a good job and economic prosperity and they are looking for a leader to represent them. The Muslim Brotherhood is lurking around behind the scenes just waiting to expand their constituency. In my opinion that is a recipe for disaster!
"A journalist has no better friend than the truth." - Scott Rohter