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.