Remember the famous media event in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq? When ‘the masses’ pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein? This was supposed to signify the ‘liberation of Iraq’ – a popular revolution. At first the media only showed us a close up. Later, long shots of the incident were published (reproduced below) which show that it was a tiny event stage managed for the world media. This helps explain why the aftermath of the invasion saw years of bloody civil war in Iraq, full of sectarian strife. There was no popular revolution from below – only a decapitation of the regime from above by an imperialist war machine.
A mass popular revolution achieves two things – not only can it bring down a tyrannical regime – but it also organises something to fill the vacuum. Civil society grows in a revolution – mass democratic organisations and associations emerge at the grassroots, able to unite the people. But none of this emerged out of the chaos of Bush and Blair’s ill advise Iraq adventure, and nor could it.
Now contrast the picture of Fardis Square, Baghdad in 2003 with pictures from Tahrir Square, Cairo in 2011. This is what a real revolution looks like – not a stage managed event – but the masses taking centre stage of history.
Lets hope this revolution – liberation from below – can bring real democracy and equality for the people of Egypt – in a way that Bush and Blair’s war machine never could for the people of Iraq.