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Sunday, January 13, 2008

On Revolutions

The world takes notice of genuine revolutions because they threaten radically to change the status quo and to put into political practice some ideal model of society. They treid.jpghereby become laboratories where new ideas are tested, producing disastrous as well as exciting results. In this sense it may be other countries that benefit most from revolutions, being able to emulate their most durable achievements without having to go through the traumatic swings and roundabouts which revolutions go through to reach them. The whole world learned much about egalitarianism, rationalism, and citizenship from the French revolution, and about workers’ power and female participation from the Russian, and the expectation of what citizens should be entitled to expect from their governments was forever changed as a result. But it was the ideas and images exported by these revolutions that was influential, not the experience of their long-suffering participants. – Anthony Reid, “The Unitary Heritage of the Southeast Asian Revolutions,” Elmer A. Ordoñez, ed., Toward the First Asian Republic (Manila: Philippine Centennial Commission, 1998), p. 183.

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