25 March 2011


A leader is a dealer in hope.
Napoleon Bonaparte

21 March 2011

Kicking the Bastards Out

The truth is, however, that running the bastards out of town is at most only half the battle, because there are always plenty of bastards waiting in the wings to betray the revolution and assume power themselves. In fact, chances are that the new bastards have already made powerful contacts within the military and police and quiet agreements with foreign governments to reinstate a moderated form of the old system even before the old bastard is finally ousted. They will assume the throne and re-enslave the people, perhaps slightly less onerously than before, but enslave them nonetheless.

The people are usually unaware of these betrayals, caught up as they inevitably are in the mania of the struggle to oust the old tyrant. Their entire focus has heretofore been on making sure the old bastard actually leaves and doesn’t come back, and they have developed a natural sense of camaraderie with their countrymen who participated in the revolution. They are thus open to being duped by betrayers who claim to be revolutionaries just like everyone else, but who actually have their own self-interest in mind, not the people’s freedom.

As soon as the old bastard leaves town, and with him the raison d’ĂȘtre of the protest and revolution, the people inevitably emerge in an intoxicated state. They are drunk on patriotism and chauvinistic nationalism, which they imbibed during the struggle to oust the old bastard. They observed that the victory of the revolutionaries was a result of their collective action, and they swell with pride for their nation and their countrymen. They let pride and collectivist thinking blind them to their individual vulnerability at the most critical moment of all. They are prideful sitting ducks.

The new bastards waiting in the wings will use this pride-induced blindness to maneuver themselves into the presidential palace. They will sing sweet songs to the revolutionaries, and claim to be the "representatives of the revolution," but they will now be sleeping under the same roof as the old bastard. Soon, the old representatives of the military and police will come to pay their respects at the presidential palace. Next, the representatives of various foreign governments will come to pay their respects and congratulate the new bastard, to be followed by the representatives of the labor unions, bureaucracies, and powerful corporations. They all come singing the praises of the new bastard, and they all come bearing gifts of various kinds. If he accepts their gifts, and he will, the death of the revolution is thereby consummated.

The people’s pride will not be quickly extinguished, however. They will boast for years, if not centuries, about their glorious revolution, and they will naively assume that any old bastard that lives in the presidential palace is a representative of the "revolution." They won’t even realize that the revolution was lost at the very moment that the old bastard fled town. The people’s pride and complacency allowed it to be lost.

One day, long after the revolution, some of them will look around and realize the new bastard is exactly the same as the old bastard they chased out of town so long ago. The new bastard imprisons and tortures people just like the last bastard.
Mark R. Crovelli on the Egyptian Revolution