This post was researched and written by our news blog writer and pro bono attorney, James Ryan McNelis, J.D., M.P.A.
In 1848, the “Year of Revolution” began as unrest in France which toppled the royal government and created the Second French Republic. This caused a cascading domino effect that stirred up revolutions, protests, and reforms across Europe as almost a dozen nations followed suit.
In just the past month, we have seen protests in Tunisa and Egypt force the ouster of sitting Presidents. The protests have engulfed the entire Mideast into a series of political and civil unrest, facilitated largely by electronic media outlets like Twitter and Facebook. These protests are causing the existing governments to either fall or institute massive reforms with the hope that the people can be satisfied with such changes and accept the continuance of their leadership.
The latest nation to experience these protests is Libya. Libya has been under Muammar al-Gaddafi since 1969. Gaddafi has tried to fight back against the protesters, even ordering his air force bomb protest rallies and large gatherings of rioting citizens. Meanwhile, the government seems to be losing the battle to stay in power as their UN delegation has denounced Gaddafi as a war criminal and demanded that he resign his position.
If this tide of change topples the Libyan government, it will further encourage protesting civilians in nations like Syria, Iran, and maybe even China to want more democratic forms of governance and a more profound respect for human rights. One can already envision the “Tweets” and “Facebook Updates” asking other citizens, “If they can do it, why not us?”
So, in closing, it appears as though the spirit of 1848 is alive and well, and bound to cement 2011 as the most revolutionary year in world history since 1848. I suspect this historic development is being made possible because many of the world’s oppressed citizens are truly pondering the meaning of Robert F. Kennedy’s words, that “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?
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March 10, 2011
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