To Whom It May Concern: ‘Revolutions’ in the Arab World and University Graduations?

Disclaimer: The letter below is meant for diasporadical purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.

This letter is addressed to you, yes you.

As you may have noticed, the news is saturated with coverage from Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen – what is now being dubbed ‘an Arab Revolution‘ by many. Like many observers, I have been very reluctant to refer to the unprecedented events in Tunisia and Egypt as “revolutions” and therefore I have had my own reservations against the use of the word “revolution” by friends, family and the world at large. Meanwhile, I have fruitlessly tried coming up with my own catchy imagery, symbolism or analogies that best capture the profound changes taking place especially in Tunisia and Egypt.
It was around then that I came across this statement taken from a recent speech given by Jeremy Gauntlett, a distinguished South African lawyer :

“I have often thought that the trouble with political revolution, velvet or otherwise, is that it gives rise to the same illusions as university graduation. There is the sense of attainment and finality, of a status achieved and no more to be learnt or done. I believe the converse is true. It is just a beginning.”

Ofcourse my first thought was to dissect this statement to see whether it holds true. Can political revolutions (I assume he had Tunisia and Egypt in mind) be likened to university graduations in as far as the “illusions” created are concerned?

My short answer: No. I totally disagree with my learned friend Mr. Gauntlett on the grounds that political revolutions by their very nature are made up of several key reforms taking place over a period of time and cannot be narrowed down to a succint moment in time as is the case with university graduations. We must distinguish between “political revolutions” and “political reforms”.

Indulge me, if you please.

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Daily Dozen: 24/01

A ‘little Kenya’ in Southern Sudan [EA]
Notes from the ICC Demonstration in Nairobi [Mzalendo]
Extra-Judicial Killings: The Goat pleads for its life and the butcher for its meat. [Some Blogger]
No More Easy Money for Gbagbo [NYT]
Worth Every Cow: How I Bought My South African Bride [BBC]
African Continent builds new manufacturing base. [AON]
The World’s richest country measures poverty. [Economist]
Why China does Capitalism better than the US. [TIME]
Of Coming Out of the Closet [Nairobi Nights]
Why Rich Parents Don’t Matter, Apparently. [WSJ]
Not all Africans are needy [Tamaku]
Jameni, can you women make up your minds? [Archer]

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Daily Dozen: 19/01

Who’s Your Mother? [Your Baby-Daddy’s Favourite Blogger]
We stay with the Hague! Sign the petition! [ALK]
Kenyan Dumbocracy: A Rant [Gathara]
Is Tunisia the first domino to fall? [Telegraph]
Beef With Soap & Hearing Aids [Learn Kenyanese]
Not Kenyan Enough? [Diaspora Blogger]
A New Gold Rush in Africa [WSJ]
Steve Jobs: Apple’s Magician [Reuters]
DSTV Mobile on iPod, iPad, iPhone and PC Available Through “Drifta” [TechMtaa]
Is Advertising Creativity Dead in Kenya? [Some Guy]
An Uprising in Egypt inevitable? [News24]
Land of Rape, Lions, and Bones, Apparently. [Tonic]

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