Monday, August 14, 2006

On little revolutions

Revolution and youth are closely allied. What can a revolution promise to adults? To some it brings disgrace, to others favour. But even that favour is questionable, for it affects only the worse half of life, and in addition to advantages it also entails uncertainty, exhausting activity and upheaval of settled habits.

Youth is substantially better off: it is not burdened by guilt, and the revolution can accept young people in to. The uncertainty of revolutionary times is an advantage for youth, because it is the world of the fathers that is challenged. How exciting is the entry into the age of maturity over the shattered ramparts of the adult world!"

Milan Kundera, "Life is Elsewhere".

"The future is up in the air, better get on board!"
A worker on why he joined the protests leading up to the Iranian revolution in 1979.

"Once the train of change has left the platform , there realy is no turning back!"
Egyptian activist on why he joined the current movement.

"The youth...the students; they might not be capable of bringing about the change they demand.. but they can bring the issues to the surface. They face the world with them, and push it to deal with them"
Egyptian Student activist from the 60s

"I walked into university; and everywhere, all around me were the wall magazines (megalat 7a2et).They were on the walls, so that there was no space, and as i walked further in, i suddenly realized they were all over the floor too. Everywhere. Words of poetry, of holy scripts, of movement , glories, acheivements, anger, demands.. and soon in the courtyars i came to a point where ropes were stretched across from one end to the another, and the magazines hung across the pegs, swaying before us.. arguing with each other, complimenting each other; bringing us all together. The world was right there. It was happening all around me. I had stepped into the world!"
Egyptian student activist in the 70s, at that point completely de-politicized; at this point leader of a political party.

Most studies on social movements indicate that it takes some kind of contention, some kind of unrest, to spark even the youth or students into the movements.
In Egypt, particularly in the 70s and the late 40s; it seemed more like 'hope'..

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