You are making many important contributions to freedom’s cause, but your most important contribution is your example. In recent months, the world has marveled at the hopeful changes taking place from Baghdad to Beirut to Bishkek. But before there was a Purple Revolution in Iraq, or an Orange Revolution in Ukraine, or a Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, there was the Rose Revolution in Georgia. Pres. George W. Bush, 5/10/05, Tbilisi, Georgia.
I heard this line on the news last night. I heard the crowd cheering. I saw the young vibrant presidend of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili. I though about our president’s words, and reflected. The Orange Revolution in Ukraine. The Cedar Revolution in Lebanon. The Rose Revolution of Georgia.
Three of the four of the cited revolutions cited were non-violent, bloodless revolutions. They were movements of the people. There was a massive chage in the lands caused by the people from within each of the countries. In Georgia and Ukraine they were the result of the people rising after unfair elections. The Cedar Revolution of Lebanon was instigated by the assassination of a former, beloved leader, but the change came through non-violent protest. But the thing that sticks out with all of these and with the non-violent revolutions of the Eastern Bloc and Soviet Union is they were all movements that came from within each of the countries. The United States was not involved; the use of force was not the impetus of the revolutions: the call for renewal from the people was what led to them.
The Purple Revolution of Iraq is a slightly different story with not such a happy ending. The Purple Revolution was caused by an outside force. The Purple Revolution, while good, is not succeeding. The Purple Revolution has led to civil war. The leaders of The Purple Revolution are being assassinated. These things cause me to pause and think. Revolutions must come from the people, not instigated by an outside force. Non-violent revolutions are movements of the people. Wave of people demanding their rights. “But, in this part of the world, violence is the only language that is understood.” To that I say look at Lebanon. A violent act was the inciting incident, but the revolution came about through non-violent means, and through the will of the people.
I have no doubt that Iraq under Sadam Hussein was a miserable place. I have no doubt that one day a democratic Iraq will be peaceful. I have no doubt that this revolution was about to come about, and was thwarted by outside intervention. 100,000 dead Iraqis…is it worth that? Especially, since, now they are killing each other, since this revolution was not a movement of the people.
I pray daily for peace in Iraq. I pray that the people find peace within themselves and each other. I pray that our leaders realize their error. I pray that peace comes to a land that has for too long know violence.
Let the revolution happen in its own time, not as mandated by an outside force.