Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's Only Words...

I've been reading a fair bit of Russian history lately. Last night it occurred to me that because war has changed, so has the process of changing governments against those governments' will. The two World Wars of the twentieth century swept numerous governments out of power and rearranged polities wholesale, but that had been the pattern of war at various scales since at least the twelfth century. The Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires disappeared as a result of World War I, and World War II stripped away the colonies the various European nations had acquired, while adding colonies to the Soviet Union.

The Soviet colonies detached themselves relatively peacefully in 1989-1991. The press and others, usually not directly involved in the changes, have attached adjectives to the word "revolution" to describe those changes. But do they constitute revolutions? That gets harder to say. And, although "The Velvet Revolution" nicely encapsulated our surprise at the lack of bloodshed accompanying Czechoslovakia's transition and the Estonians love their "Singing Revolution," I've found the other adjectives forced and superficial. Does each transition need to have its own brand?

And there are legal reasons not to use the word "coup." Sorry, headline writers.


opit said...

Try 'Colour Revolution' or Twitter or Facebook Revolution.
Not Politically Correct ? LOL

Cheryl Rofer said...

I find those sorts of names trivializing unless they have been applied by the revolution's participants. It's not up to people sitting at keyboards to tell them what to think about what they've done.

opit said...

'The Pen is Mightier than the Sword'
People at keyboards make the revolution happen : for good or not.
Ideas make revolutions and words are tools. Colour Revolutions, as it happens, are a 'branded' and instigated uprising : a specialty of NATO. This is not to pass judgment on the will of the people : but generally they cannot throw off their slave culture indoctrination.
That is especially true of places which throw around words like 'freedom' 'liberty' and 'democracy' as if historical records and the sad failures of previous efforts never existed.
Mexico is a place that never lacked valour - much good it has done them.
But I'm not interested in telling anyone what to think about what they have done. Unless they have contextual understanding achieved by reading something like George
Orwell 's book Homage to Catalonia . ... enlightenment will come soon enough.