Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A World In Flames

Like everyone else these days, I turn on my radio or T.V. news not knowing what I will hear next. It seems that a good quarter of the world, far away places I have always thought very distant from myself, not the least because they belong to the arab world, and I to the Jewish one, have begun enduring upheavals the like of which I have only read and do not in my lifetime recall.
Once, when I was an undergraduate, I studied the European Romantic period, and this reminds me of the days I read about, when revolutions fanned across the continents, and new nations, like our own, were established.
I cannot help but to be excited, and to hope for those people that the world will truly change in their favor, even though, at the same time, I realize that this change will not necessarily favor us, since some of these countries hold large amounts of oil and the dictators favored Israel, while these new governments may not, may turn against us, and perhaps with reason, for siding with dictators and being the indirect agent of their oppression for so long.
I remember too the election in the West Bank and Gaza that brought Hezbollah into the picture there. This is the chance one takes with democracy, and ultimately, it is a chance worth taking, but it can be waylaid when any one party brought into power stops the process cold. Remember Russia, right?
I have been thinking too of the dictators who have been featured lately in the news, and remembering Nabokov's and Chaplin's characterization of them. Yes, they are buffoons. Even Idi Amin, the cannibal. They are all, in their insane ideosyncracies, cut out of the same cloth.


liz said...

I have been thinking of these events everyday wondering how to interpret impact, immediate and future on those people's day to day lives. I am awed by the fervor of the educated youth and the use of technology to spread the alert. As one massively uninformed American I appreciate your hopeful references to historical upheavals.
I fervently wish we are watching the beginnings of democracy by the people for the people but fear the invisible constraints of the global economic web. oi(l). I don't know how Barry and
Michelle get any sleep at all.

marlyat2 said...

Yes, it is stirring.

Along with all this has been a good bit of murder of Christians (in church, in villages, in a monastery) and others, though. Africans of all stripes are certainly panicked to get out of Libya. Such change brings many dangers, especially for minority populations and visiting workers.

I don't think writers know any more than anybody else, and are just as likely to be blinded by ideas. One can but hope that freedom leads to more freedom.

Robin said...

Ultimately, a government, no matter what type, can only remain in power with at least the tacit approval of its people. Even dictatorships must answer to at least some of the people's needs. Again, look at Russia, this time the Soviet Union, which as powerful as it was, crumbled from within. What government can stand for long if the masses of the people are arrayed against it? Even armies are powerless to stop revolts of this size. And, if the army, which is made up of citizens, after all, decides to side with the people against the dictator (as in Egypt), well, the outcome is predictable.

The people in these nations have long last lost patience with their oppression and the poverty forced upon them by their dictators. The idealist in me is happy for them and wishes only great things for their nations and governments. I do hope, like you, democracy wins in the end, even if it creates problems for us and Israel.

May God watch over these nations in these troubled times and bring some peace, democracy and prosperity to these long-suffering peoples.

Robbi said...

I know that we are all hopeful and fearful at these events. But Robin, the dictatorship in Libya has lasted a long time, despite the fact that the people on one side of the country have long scorned this leader and never respected him in any way. He was all too effective in squelching the development of any kind of opposition.
The USSR broke apart precisely because it was an artificial unit composed of what was originally many countries and many nationalities. The same happened with Yugoslavia. Libya is composed of numerous tribes that are not all friendly to each other, and perhaps that will aid in its reconstitution into more than one state.

Robbi said...

Anyone who does not fit the majority profile is vulnerable, whether they be Jews or Christians, in these countries. Just today a Christian member of the Pakistani parliament was assassinated. That state is perhaps the scariest of them all. I was talking to one of my former students, a Pakistani, about this very subject. He is hopeful that the large number of young people who reject religious orthodoxy and the old ways will change things. I hope he is right.