The romantic season of revolutions by Misha Lyuve

Feb 16, 2011

While I’ve been quietly contemplating on art, beauty and daily life, the world’s been on fire, lighting revolutions like matches. I guess freedom is contagious, or at least a noble idea of it.

Whatever the cause of it, economic turmoil, un-satisfaction with governments or a spark by outside interests, a revolution has often created a broad spectrum of opportunities — from heroism to looting, from democracy to tyranny, from excitement to disappointment.

And the mere possibility of a great outcome, surely brings a romantic feeling, like falling in love. And as unreasonably and not fully grounded into reality romantic feelings have us experience the world, they also make status quo and its predictability as exciting as a yesterday’s sandwich.

But what happens when the romanticism evaporates – what if we glance back?

Russian revolution in 1917 started not without noble intentions, but at the end created a repressed state whose heavy past till now impacts the country’s  economic, political and social lives  

(on the left, Boris Kustodiyev’s “Bolshevik”)


Iranian revolution in 1979, greatly popular at its time, moved Iran into a theocracy; and as recent and not so recent events showed, it doesn’t have much tolerance for diversity of opinions or human freedoms

The Urkainian orange revolution in 2005 caused a change of power in disputed elections, but the ideas of freedom and economic prosperty that had fueled it were largely unfulfilled and left people dissapointed and resigned about their  government 

What’s your pick: status quo or revolution? Or is there some place in between? 

Or those who sit in their comfy chairs and judge, don’t have a say?

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  1. Laurie Lewis

    Misha…thank you! Maybe those revolutions failed, but for me, that doesn’t mean they were in vain. Even though the voice for freedom may ultimately “lose,” that voice should never be silenced.

    Reading your post reminded me of this poem by Wallace Stevens, called, “The Well Dressed Man With A Beard.”

    After the final no there comes a yes
    And on that yes the future world depends.
    No was the night. Yes is this present sun.
    If the rejected things, the things denied,
    Slid over the western cataract, yet one,
    One only, one thing that was firm, even
    No greater than a cricket’s horn, no more
    Than a thought to be rehearsed all day, a speech
    Of the self that must sustain itself on speech,
    One thing remaining, infallible, would be
    Enough. Ah! douce campagna of that thing!
    Ah! douce campagna, honey in the heart,
    Green in the body, out of a petty phrase,
    Out of a thing believed, a thing affirmed:
    The form on the pillow humming while one sleeps,
    The aureole above the humming house…
    It can never be satisfied, the mind, never.

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