Posted on | January 30, 2011 | No Comments
While citizen protest movements are heard throughout the world, it is not a bad thing to dwell on the past difficulties of modern democracies. In fact, January 30 marks the anniversary of many dramatic events which remind us that freedom has a price, and that the quest for power comes with inherent risks.
Thus in 1649 Oliver Cromwell had British monarch Charles the 1st beheaded. Strange irony of fate: 2 years after his death, in 1661, Cromwell’s corpse was unearthed, beheaded in turn, and his head displayed on a spike for all to see.
In 1835, Andrew Jackson was the target of the first (missed) assassination attempts towards a president of the USA.
In 1900, American governor William Goebel was assassinated the day before he was to be sworn into office.
In 1948, Mahatma Gandhi, spiritual and political father of Indian independance, was killed by a Hindu fanatic.
In 1956, the house of Martin Luther King, Jr. was bombed in retaliation to his involvement in favour of the civil rights movement.
In 1972, the British army executed 14 innocent people in Northern Ireland in what will subsequently be known as « Bloody Sunday. » 24 years later on the very same day, Gino Gallagher, supposed leader of the Irish National Liberation Army (a splinter group of the IRA) will be killed as well.
As we see, January 30 is a tough day for reformers of all kind. This does not prevent us from being sympathetic to, and morally supporting the right of everyone to self determination. It allows us to realize that while these people’s achievements are not perfect, they should be improved upon and not abandoned. Thus the expectations of, and towards, Tunisians and Egyptians are undoubtedly very high at the moment, but in the real world the path to self rule is a winding road at best. I do wish them all a safe journey.