Caledoniyya

Understanding Revolution

Reading Weil’s 1958 work with the Arab Spring in mind is enlightening, yet often depressingly sagacious.

To wit:

This word [revolution] has aroused such pure acts of devotion, has repeatedly caused such generous blood to be shed, has constituted for so many unfortunates the only source f courage for living, that it is almost a sacrilege to investigate it; all this, however, does not prevent it from possibly being meaningless. It is only for priests that martyrs can be substitutes for proofs.

Another point of note is her questioning of how to gauge the progress and culmination of a revolution:

What are the signs by which the revolutionaries think they will be able to recognize the moment when the revolution is actually there? By the barricades and the firing in the streets? By a certain team of men being installed in the government? By the breach of legal reforms? By specific acts of nationalization? By the massive exodus of the bourgeoisie? By the issuing of a decree abolishing private property?

Reading Weil prompts a step back and a reassessment of the political change taking place.

And the question of ‘when?’ and ‘how do we know?’ haunts on and on.

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This entry was posted on June 19, 2012 by in Maghreb, Tunisia and tagged , , , .
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