Thursday, February 17, 2011

Twenty-Some Years' Long Shadow - from Tian'anmen to Tahrir

The largely bloodlessness of the uprisings and revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, to a large extent, should be contributed to the resolve of the military not to use force against the people, or due to the decision by those ex-rulers not to use real bullets to shoot people.

It could have happened the other way, like what happened in Beijing, in 1989.  Even if it was true as Chinese government claimed that there was no bloodshed in Tian'anmen Square, the epicenter of the protest, there was no denying that blood was shed in many places surrounding the square.

What happened in Beijing, shook the world and in a certain way, it paved the road for the Eastern Europeans for their freedom.  Event in Beijing, let them realized the extent of that brutality and cruelty and gave them resolve to end their totalitarian rules.  It, perhaps, also made a great impressions to their military at home, who in turn resolved not to shoot their own people when revolutions took place there, therefore allowed bloodless change of regimes.

There was one exception then - Romania.  The army did shoot protesters and their rulers, the Ceauşescus were executed as the result.

It can be argued that the events in China and Romania cast long shadows.  It is hard to fathom that the rulers in Tunisia, Egypt, and other Mideastern nations facing popular uprisings, did not cast a fearful looks on those bloody pages of the world history.  What has happened and what will have depend on many factors but how the rulers interact with their military and how willing their military to tarnish their images will have a decisive impact, no matter how well organized and determined protests are.

The events in China, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, East Germany, etc. serve lessons for people who rule and ruled.  How these lessons were learned, varied vastly.

We have seen some governments tried gentler approaches, such as granting certain rights to the people and handing out more cashes.  At the meantime, we also saw Iranian and Bahrain protesters beaten and killed.  In Bahrain, it was police who did the deeds.  It was reported on 16 February that Security forces in Bahrain had dispersed thousands of anti-government protesters in Pearl Square in the center of capital, Manama.

I have no doubt that some rulers, by instinct, would go all out to quash any uprising.  How effective these harsh measures, however, one can never be sure.  And that, hopefully, will serve to prevent even greater human calamities.

Matthew Felix Sun's Drawing_7244

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