We explored some of the revolutions which sacrificed somewhat open governments in exchange of oppressive ones in our last article. But, This is not always the case when we take a look at some other rebellions. At times, the people have taken charge in order to make some positive changes in their countries. Today we will explore the rebellions which have successfully incorporated more freedom after a bloody revolution. Revolution affects all of us, and we must look at both sides of the coin if we are to weight our options. Puerto Rico is soon to be at a standstill, what they do next will have to be a decisive move in the country’s history. Countries such as: Philippines, Egypt, and Libya who overthrew dictators in the name of freedom (Thank you T3hPop3 for this bit of information).
Revolutions are not always a bad thing, some of the greatest achievements in human history have come from rebellion. History has at times enjoyed painting rebels as the “bad guys” or terrorist, but as it has been demonstrated time and again, it’s all about perception. However, as history vindicates itself we discover that those same rebels were considered freedom fighters by the victims of an oppressive ruling system. People should never be afraid of their governments, rather they should be feared by them. Yet, it seems that those who rule the world often forget this detail all too quickly. A rebellion does not come from a content society, and when the drums of battle sound true; they will be heard by those who are willing to stand against the oppressive elite will take action by any means possible.
The French Revolution comes to mind as one of these events. During this period of revolution the poor sought to eliminate the class system in favor of an equal society. To accomplish this, the French people took on a very violent approach. Even the king of France was executed in order to incite the people against other countries who were trying to re-take the Country. This revolution came to be for a few following reasons (one of which might even sound regrettably familiar) such as:
- Cultural: The Enlightenment philosophy desacralized the authority of the King and the Church, and promoted a new society based on “reason” instead of traditions.
- Social: The emergence of an influential bourgeoisie which was formally part of the Third Estate (commoners) but had evolved into a caste with its own agenda and aspired to political equality with aristocracy.
- Financial: France’s debt, aggravated by French involvement in the American Independence War, led Louis XVI to implement new taxations and to reduce privileges.
- Political: Louis XVI faced virulent opposition from provincial parlements which were the spearheads of the privileged classes’ resistance to royal reforms.
- Economical: The deregulation of the grain market, advocated by liberal economists, resulted in an increase in bread prices. In period of bad harvests, it would lead to food scarcity which would prompt the masses to revolt.
Motivated by these injustices, the French people eventually fought back, and achieved their goals to free the country. Readers might assume that this meant a total success for the revolution. After all, they gave women better (not every) right, gave power to the lower classes, created the roots of nationalism, lowered certain aspects of nepotism, returned free-trade, divided the land fairly, and eliminated some of the power held by religion. Yet, this revolution was a failure, it did not change much when we realize that France became a dictatorship under the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte. However, a few centuries later there would be another country in which revolution brought much hope in overthrowing an authoritarian government in favor of democracy, and positive change.
The People Power Revolution in the Philippines was a historic event in the history of the Pacific. Started in order to topple the dictatorial regime of Ferdinand E. Marcos who was elected president in 1965. and refused to give up his power with an eventual martial law rule until 1986 when the revolution began. The people of the Philippines had enough of his increasingly devastating policies which led to the country’s financial instability and a rise in crime. It was led by Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, and had support from many, including the military itself. It was an inspiring event which managed to do what seemed impossible. It rallied the people together under the umbrella of a single cause, and inspired a movement that far extended its own reach to other countries in the Pacific. It was not a peaceful time during this time in the Philippines. but with a combination of support, guerrilla tactics, and significant victories, The People Power Revolution succeeded and forced Marcos out of the country into exile. They elected Corazon Aquino as president, and under her rule the Philippines prospered democratically. Corazon enacted policies and constitutional rights which were lost under Marco’s rule as well as restoring the confidence of investors into the Philippines. It would not be an easy rule despite what some might think; Corazon faced many threats from rebels and military movements, which were hurdles in her career as president. This movement shared many parallels to the Arab Spring that began in 2010.
The Arab Spring was instigated by rising crime, unemployment, economic decline, corruptions in the government, and many other motives which plagued the middle-east. This event began with the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi a fruit vendor, who had all his property seized and promptly set himself on fire as his final act. Protest were held, the people communicated through the use of social media in order to organize events, violent demonstrations, and political unrest were the daily bread during this time. Twenty-two countries were involved in the Arab Spring with some being more successful than others, but the movement was enough to stir change. The whole world was shaken by the effects that this movement had. Many of the countries held their first democratic elections, others had evolved into civil wars. But, as the seasons passed these countries moved from the Arab Spring into the Arab Winter. The economies of some of these countries have yet to fully recover, millions have died, and fighting is still going on to this very day. But, there is hope, just like Egypt is on its way to recovery. If the other countries can put their differences aside they too can prosper. The world was forever changed by this recent event, unlike the Philippines which affected the Pacific; the advent of the internet, and social media made this event shake every country on earth (some more than others). Even the name Arab Spring is practically synonymous with an uprising against corrupt regimes, and freedom. Puerto Rico stands to gain traction by utilizing some of the means that both of these revolutions had against their governments. If Puerto Ricans finally decide to gain independence they must first take preventive measures to ensure that democracy is maintained. What good would it be to gain independence if the price was a dictatorship after all?
Indeed, Puerto Rico is an invaluable asset to the United States in the Atlantic theater. But, The United States has shown time and again that it doesn’t care for their colony (it claims it would be too costly to fully incorporate into the country). Americans believe that Puerto Rico is only able to exist because it gets funding from the United States, but this is simply not true. Puerto Rico contributes 71.6 billion dollars to the U.S. Economy while receiving around 4 billion. If anything we are helping support their economy. In a show called Boricuazo en el Circo de la Mega they hosted Professor Rosario Rivera Negron, the leading economist in Puerto Rico. In the show she debunked the myth of how Puerto Ricans live off the backs of American citizens tax dollars. If we go by the statistics and numbers she presented during the show, the U.S. should actually pay us back all the money that it owes the country. Fellow blogger REMY discussed this in his blog in which he is also trying to raise awareness of the injustices that have befallen Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico needs to wake up. The country needs to rise up and realize that we are being fooled. Puerto Ricans have been lied to for years, they have become too caught up on their own issues to care about the world around them. The biggest problem with society today is the lack of care for that which surrounds it, and apathy is a bigger crime than it is made out to be. They live in a world that judges the country based on what the media is saying about them, not reality. The airwaves blast negative propaganda towards Puerto Ricans, history is ignored, and more than 50 thousand citizens leave each year hoping to find a better life elsewhere. If Puerto rico continues in this path the only thing that awaits is ruin. But, I beseech the youth to seek a peaceful approach to liberty, and independence lest we become the next police state in the list of many. Peace must rule in order to ensure that Puerto Rico stays free and proud for years to come. It must soon take the call to action, for if they miss it; I’m afraid there might not be a second one. It must once again rise as it did during the times of Pedro Albizu Campo and fight back against tyranny. For oftentimes the path to freedom lies in a road paved with blood.
I’ll take my leave with this picture that sums up apathy in the country pretty well (translation is at the bottom).
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