Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Revolution Within

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The French Revolution led to “the Terror”, the Russian Revolution to the Gulag, the Iranian revolution to the mullahs. Not to mention the Cuban, Chinese and Cambodian revolutions. The list is long, very long.

As soon as we change an unjust, totalitarian and barbaric regime, we fall into another, even more unjust, more totalitarian and more barbaric. Stalin is the son of the Tsar, Castro is the rebellious child of Batista, and the beardy clerics of Iran are the offspring of the Shah.

So what? We do nothing? We change nothing? We stay under the boot, afraid and humiliated? Compliant and docile? Of course not. The revolution must happen. Beyond a necessity, it’s a duty. A duty towards those who tried but failed. Towards those who keep on trying. And even towards those who dreamed about it but never dared to make it happen. We owe it to our children, to our children’s children, and to all future generations. We owe it to ourselves. To this thing inside we call humanity.

But this revolution is not about marching masses and angry flags. Marching masses and angry flags only lead to another tyranny, then to another revolution. Like a vicious and foolish cycle. A never-ending merry-go-round.

The real revolution starts within. The first dictators we need to overthrow are our own intolerance, our own prejudice and our own fear. Fear of others, fear of everything different, fear of change, fear of what we don’t know, of what we don’t understand, fear of losing our tiny comfort.

Tiny comfort of slaves.

Who else but a slave only strives for crumbs? And forgets his God given right to sit at the table and enjoy the feast?
Look at your life. Look at all our lives. Don’t they come down to increasing a number on a bank sheet? A number that will enable us to acquire objects. Objects to wear, to drive, to beautify our homes. Objects for show, for display. To prove how important we are. How successful. How much legitimacy we have for love and respect.

What are we but slaves?

I am told that’s the way the system works. I’m told that I must accept it. Live with it. Sink or swim. But who created this system? Who raised it, pampered it? Who continues to feed it every day?

Us. No one else but us. So it’s up to us to change it, to improve it. But how can we improve anything if we stay the same? How can we speak of justice if we are unjust? Of tolerance if we are intolerant? Of compassion and generosity if we are selfish and greedy?

If you can’t hold a brush, you can’t paint the Mona Lisa.

The real revolution starts within. We stay slaves until we defeat our real jailer, the most unjust of masters, the most terrible of tyrants: ourself. Only then, we can find the strength to truly change what needs to be changed in the world.

Without angry flags, without hatred and without violence.

© Claude El Khal, 2011