Thursday, February 12, 2004

The Anniversary

No, in case you are wondering. I don’t live on Alpha Century. But the election brouhaha managed to resolve itself without me having to utter a single word. Isn’t it amazing how things simply work out? I am back home after a long, rejuvenating sojourn in an ancient city, and yesterday I found myself meandering for hours among the huge crowd that showed up to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the revolution in the Freedom Square. Now, I must admit, I really do hate crowds. Can’t stand them in the stadiums, in concerts, in theatres and I normally do try my best to avoid them in the streets and in the market places. Terribly hard to breath.

But yesterday was fun, in a goofy sort of way. The fieriness that characterizes government sanctioned gatherings was simply not there. Not much yelling and certainly not too many clenched fists. The whole thing had the jovial atmosphere of a carnival sans alcohol, sort of like a family day out. There were military bands playing, with assorted street vendors selling clothing, supplies, souvenirs, balloons, and yummy snacks. There were many touching scenes of family interactions, and much tenderness. There were even some young men and a few disabled veterans distributing political tracts.

But judged solely on the basis of the participants’ outfits, the crowd was monolithic. It disappeared almost as quickly as it came together and I was absolutely impressed by the efficiency with which our city workers cleaned up after such a large gathering using nothing but brooms. For a society that has a hard time forming lines in front of a bank teller, it was quite an accomplishment, I thought.

Has it been worth it? The revolution I mean. I do think it has been too terribly costly. Much promised, and little accomplished. Too much bloodshed. Too many rights trampled on. But such is life. Live and learn. We are, however, a belligerent nation and we don’t give up that easily. You only need to look at the terrific to get a sense for the indomitable spirit of this ancient nation. Sure, we can be full of hot air at times. But even hot air has its virtues.

No one can be expected to win all the time. We win some, and we lose some. The important thing is that we have perfected the art of the guerilla warfare. It does often disrupt our normal lives increasing our aggravations, but so too does it wreak havoc on the plans of the other side. And so, in this 25th anniversary of one of the greatest popular revolutions of the twentieth century, I remind myself that so far, I haven’t heard a beep out of the proverbial fat lady, have you?

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