Thirty-one years of Hosni Mubarak’s rule in Egypt solidified thanks to the advice and consent of U.S. negotiations with him, validating and protecting the Israel stance in the Middle East. But tthe arrival of a day in the winter of 2011 brought pandemonium to Egypt and Tunisia, and turned into what is now known as the “Arab Spring.”
IT WAS THE beginning of an insurrection that had been dormant for many years. The world did not have to wait long to witness a chain reaction amid other nations – Libya, Syria, Jordan, Yemen and Oman. The eruption in Egypt and Tunisia ignited and aroused countries that had suffered abuse and misery for more than a century. These extraordinary events became profoundly cemented into an unstoppable cycle, and grew into an inspiration across the oceans.
It will take time for each country to settle down as it has happened in previous revolutions. History repeats itself, says an adage. The events of one nation could bring drastic repercussions that might change the world, such as the French Revolution in 1787, a radical and social event that marked the turning point in French history and created a series of political upheavals in Europe.
The struggle between the Girondines and Jacobines gave them Robespierre’s “Reign of Terror,” and almost immediately Napoleon arrived, seized the revolution and liberated every existing monarchy in Europe. It prompted Beethoven to compose his Third Symphony, the Eroica, intended
for Napoleon. But he angrily tore out the dedication when he heard of Napoleon’s self-coronation, which shows the leadership’s path from idealist to visionary and ultimately to despot.
THE RUSSIAN Revolution followed in l917. Then came the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Both brought enormous repercussions to their zones of influence, despite the corruption and treason within.
Whatever the outcome of the Arab Spring, it will affect and inspire nations in different ways, depending on the circumstances of each country. It will reach the United States and Europe. There is no question that our country is ready for changes that were not quite visible a few years ago, but the occurrences we are confronting now, day after day, are not just disturbing, but criminal.
The cast of millionaires and billionaires are creating conditions for an uprising, such as the recent Occupy movements. They live in their own special America, totally away from reality. Meanwhile, the middle class, the backbone of the country, is disappearing. The poor are much worse off than 50 years ago, when Michael Harrington exposed them in his book The Other America; millions are fed from whatever the food stamp program provides; there are more than 50 million Americans without health insurance; and our educational system has never been so inferior and scary.
And we are the richest country on Earth. We don’t see the poor. They live in a different place.
IT WON’T BE long before the arrival of our “Spring.” There is no cause without consequence, nor consequence without cause. Let’s harbor the hope that those who became and still are the cause of our malaise will eventually come to their senses.
No one can predict what kind of future is awaiting us; it could be possible that, 50 years from now, a new generation will become inhabitants of a fair and just society for everyone.
(The writer is a retired insurance executive who left his native Cuba in 1961. He lives in Aiken, S.C.)