Base Camp is where visitors go to relax, unwind, and get familiar with an anthology of earlier material.

A Time Of Choices

Tahrir Square on 11 February 2011 by Jonathan Rashad on Apart from a vigilant military presence, we don’t yet know what form of government the old regime will be replaced…

Revolution is a romantic notion that often leads to trouble. Challenging authority creates instability and unrest, giving rise to tensions and turmoils that may become off-putting for a number of reasons, most of all the lack of safety and security. We have the right to rise up and tear down the walls, so to speak, but we ought to keep in mind that walls don’t just imprison. They also protect. Tearing everything down is not the prudent thing to do sometimes.

The fence and the boundary line are the symbols of the spirit of justice. They set the limits upon each man’s interest to prevent one from taking advantage of the other ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

We have been around long enough to know this, how boundaries serve an important function. We’ve studied history and know its whims and peculiarities, its paradoxes and contradictions. Caution is of the utmost importance in everything we do, revolution notwithstanding. Like all things, it must be exercised wisely so that change is applied optimally. We’re well aware of what happens when a cause goes astray, or when it becomes an end in itself.

Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy ~ Franz Kafka

So here we are, back where we started. The revolution becomes institutionalized and established, sinking its teeth into reality and making demands like its ousted predecessors. It grows complacent, callous, old, losing touch with reality. It calcifies and forgets its purpose, giving everyone reason to gripe again.

1848 Revolution in Berlin. It triggered a wave of revolutions across Europe, marking the Year of Revolution. But because there was no unified opposition to many of the uprisings, there were inevitable divisions that weakened the political response, slowed down progress, and created a void that needed to be filled…

It happens more often than we’d like to admit. In the wake of enthusiasm, in the heat of the battle, people lose their heads and overshoot their target, becoming what they opposed. It may take centuries for this to happen, as in the case of major organized religions, which from humble spiritual movements, initially geared to provide comfort to the suffering, turned into oppressive dogmas.

Other times it takes decades, like in the case of the West, which turned from Nazi-busting paragon of freedom to symbol of elitism and complacency within the span of a generation.

Other times it happens instantly, like in Russia, where its Bolshevik revolutionaries clamped down on millions of people as soon as they seized power, becoming more oppressive than the ousted oppressors.

A much-publicized photo that claims to capture the storming of the Winter Palace, October 1917. It’s in fact from a Bolshevik re-enactment, staged as a civic spectacle on the third anniversary of the action. As for the storming of the Winter Palace, the fighting took place at night, and there were no cameras present…

It’s a difficult and challenging state of affairs, to say the least, natural and atavistic at the same time, disheartening yet logical. Such are the workings of life. The marginalized rise and overthrow the established, becoming established in themselves, marginalizing someone else in turn. They use force to have their way, physical or mental, sometimes excessively and without hesitation. They have to. They wouldn’t succeed if they didn’t. They wouldn’t survive.

The point then is for the right revolutionaries to prevail, the ones whose establishment is the least intrusive, the most constructive, the most accommodating.

Who these rebels are and what their cause can do depends on the situation as well as on the players involved, at any given time.