Throughout time, despots have managed to be successful. Some for longer periods of time than we would like, but they manage to oppress their citizens for a period of time, nonetheless. Usually, before the despots lose their rule the screws get tighter in a desperate attempt to maintain control in order to stay in power.
Behavior so restricted, generational hatred and fear has seemingly affected the citizens’ DNA making the famed Hatfield-McCoy feud seem tame. What is happening across the Middle East is like a decades-long Hatfield-McCoy grudge with mega doses of steroids. Unlike the Middle East, the Hatfields and McCoys were able to resolve their differences.
Instilling fear of ones neighbors, authority figures and the government, these citizens tend to hunker down and function in lock-step with the spoken, but more important – the unspoken rules. If they just follow the rules, their odds of being the next to experience the horrible wrath from those who domineer them are slim.
A great deal has been said about social media being the spark plug for the Arab spring and summer uprisings, but we seem to have a short memory. Although modern technology has made the globe a smaller place where information is more readily available, massive regime and government change has always occurred.
A lifetime away from rag-tag mobs hoisting pitchforks and wooden bats, when people have had “it” all fear is thrown to the wind as they band together to effect change. Below is a brief snapshot of pre-social media revolts:
1775 American Revolution
1789 Storming of the Bastille, France
1861 American Civil War
1914 World War I
1917 Russian Revolution (one of many massive revolts in Russia)
1936 Spanish Civil War
1939 World War II
1979 Fall of Idi Amin, Uganda
1989 Solidarity trade-union movement, Lech Walesa, Poland
1989 The Berlin Wall falls, Germany
1989 Fall of Nicolae Ceausescu, Romania
1989 Tiananmen Square Protests and Massacre, China
1994 End of Apartheid, Nelson Mandela, South Africa
1998 Northern Ireland Peace Agreement, Great Britain and Ireland
Human beings are a resilient species. When dire conditions outweigh personal fears almost anything can be accomplished, but they have to be careful what they wish for because sometimes the change is worse than their current situation.
History is a witness to these facts: Malevolent rulers cannot keep people down . . . at least not forever because people clamor for the right to live in peace and harmony worldwide. Regardless of the future, government change is happening throughout the Middle East today.
When people feel as though they have nothing to gain – they have nothing to lose.