Revolution seems a good thing, theoretically speaking, but historically speaking it has usually been a not-so-rosy moment in time when injustices took place, lives and relations got shattered, and societies were shaken to their cores, very often taking them a very long time to recover from the trauma.
Revolutions in Russia, China, France, Iran and about anywhere else hardly brought anything extraordinary. Their peers who missed the revolutions did quite well, and usually much better. It is complicated to evaluate what would have happened if there was no revolution but one thing is certain that neither the French revolution nor Communist revolutions of Russia, China and other places, nor the Islamic revolution of Iran brought anything to be proud of.
Although the French revolution is very often given credit for some extraordinary ideals that further flourished in Europe, let’s not forget about the beheadings and of course the ‘democracy’ that ensued the revolution, and Napoleon, though usually admired by the French public (just as Cyrus, the great, is admired among Iranians, Peter, the great, among Russians, or Alexander, the great, among Macedonians), was not exactly the democrat the world needed at that time, who caused the death of millions of Europeans, especially of his own French nationals.
The British did not go through such a dramatic and bloody change, and they still have their monarchy, and one can arguably say that Britain is not only a more advanced country from an economic perspective but also from a social and political point of view, with better and more stable laws and various systems in place. Japan did not go through a revolution and they still do have their royal family and one cannot compare the Japanese society to that of China or other larger ancient countries in Asia.
Iran had two modern revolutions, one in the beginning of the 20th century and the other which succeeded in 1979. Both of them brought huge changes to the Iranian society, and Iran still is not a democracy. Turkey had some sort of a constitutional movement of its own that started much earlier than that of Iran which was also called ‘mashrutiat’ (or ‘mesrutiyet’ as the Turkish word is known), that had of course been an inspiration for Iran’s constitutionalist movement too, but theirs did not turn into a full-fledged revolution. And their political system is just about a pretty good and relatively solid democracy Muslims can afford these days, having progressed over time from sort-of-military-democracy.
Revolutions are not basically flawed in their ideals, as they all present themselves as movements that oppose unjust systems, almost unanimously promising social equity, equality, even sometimes freedom and democracy. The problem with revolutions often lies in the leading revolutionaries rather than the revolutionary ideals.
Leading revolutionaries may actually be of good faith in the pursuit of their ideals but the simple fact that they manipulate and organise people toward violence automatically creates the right atmosphere for vengeance, which is nothing idealistic. And as the result successful uprisings lead to a complete annihilation of the previous power structure.
The power vacuum usually leads to even worse elements to replace the previous ones who were outrageously corrupt and unjust. Hence the ideals of justice that may have inspired the revolution turn into nothing more than a war of retribution that befalls the nation into chaos, from which true democracy has no chance of emerging any time soon.
What is to do with unjust systems then? First it is required to define what is unjust, and what isn’t unjust. Isn’t it unjust that one is born with huge physical and mental deficiencies while another is born perfectly normal into a well-off and educated family? Who is to blame for this, and what is to do about this ‘injustice’? Is God to blame for the injustice of giving one huge potential just by his birth while giving another huge deficiencies?
People are born different, in an astonishingly unjust pattern of distributive abilities and potentials. While one child is born to no known mother and father in Bangladesh, being raised in extremely precarious conditions of an orphanage, having the least chances of ever reaching any significant local or global social stance, another child is born in Manhattan to an educated and wealthy family, having all the chances of pursuing and accomplishing what can unanimously be described as a fulfilling and beautiful life. So, the pursuit of justice as such is not just impractical, but fundamentally unnatural.
We are not made to live in perfectly just societies or systems. Perfect justice does not exist and it will never do. While God (or whoever or whatever who/that decides who is born and raised with what) himself creates mankind in a system that can be interpreted as wholly unjust, it must be unnatural and abnormal for mankind to even ponder about creating their won system to pretend to be a just one on the same earth that the same God created. Hence all the man-made systems that ever pretend to promote and spread justice are fundamentally flawed and destined to fail. Studying Communism it can easily be noticed the good intentions of the system in order to create social justice.
However it is already history and we have all seen the miserable and catastrophic results of the perceived just system that succeeded in surpassing in injustice, corruption, and dysfunctionality most other systems (including the major opposing one, Western Capitalism) that did not even officially pretend to bring social justice.
Revolutions that espouse social justice have the tendency to lead to more injustice simply because of our inherent nature of misunderstanding and not conceiving, or deserving, justice. And history has shown that violent uprisings that lead to revolutions are not the best ways of bringing about positive and durable social change for the betterment of the society.
Then the question comes, what is to do with regimes that are unjust? First we need to understand that all regimes are unjust, some more than others. Is the Iranian regime, the IRI, one that is right for the Iranian people? Is the American regime one that is right for the American people? The latter phrase in itself is an odd one simply because of the usage of the word ‘regime’. People do not use the word ‘regime’ for the United States because it changes so often, so dramatically, that the usage has never been an appropriate one.
While in Iran it is a different matter. Changes in Iran have usually been rare but dramatic, bloody or revolutionary. One regime has usually replaced another after a traumatic social and political upheaval that completely eradicated the previous political, or even social, structure. As history is so clearly showing to us, societies that have chosen steady, evolutionary, progress, have faired far better than societies that have chosen the path of revolution, even if the cause of the revolution has been a noble one.
As long as justice does not exist in its entirety on the face of earth, its revolutionary pursuit in itself is a flawed idea. This does not mean that we shall not pursue justice. The pursuit of social justice, or justice in any sense, is indeed a noble task, but the belief that one system can bring justice is nothing but a dream that can turn catastrophic, and definitely nothing worth turning toward violence.
The best way to bring about positive change is to have the right system to allow peaceful periodic change, according to the will of the social constituents, the people. But even this system, which is normally called democracy, is not a just, or a perfect one. It is simply a way of acknowledging that perfection or justice does not exist in reality, but it is worth letting all participants having a shot for it. And everybody deserves to have their shot as long as they can attract enough supporters. The American system does allow this, while the Iranian one, the Iranian regime, does not. The Iranian system needs to be changed in order to have one which allows all parties to try their luck.
How can we create the right atmosphere for Iran to achieve this goal, the goal of reaching a democratic system, or at least a relatively and reasonably open and democratic one? The best way is to work within the present structure, in a social and political sense. And the best ones to pursue this would be Iranians themselves rather than anybody else. This is no simple task, as it is no simple task to decide what to do with any corrupt and unrepresentative regime that holds on to power.
What is to do with the North Korean regime which is far worse than the Iranian one? What is to do with Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe who for his incredibly foolish ideas of justice has turned his country into a starving wasteland? What is to do with clan Assad in Syria? There are so many thuggish regimes in the world who show no desire of letting their peoples decide about their country’s faith. What is to do with them?
It is of course more than just a political issue. It is also a social one. You cannot impose such thuggish regimes in societies that have long progressed toward popular democracies. Societies where non-democratic regimes do well have all the potential to have other non-democratic regimes replacing the previous ones in case they were removed. It is not just the duty of the citizens of those countries, but that of the world’s democratic countries, to promote social progress and steady change rather than bloody revolutions. It is indeed a fight that must be waged but in an intelligent and fruitful manner rather than blindly and hatefully.�