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« Timeline of the Kyrgyz Revolution | WILLisms.com | The Mysteries Of Social Security Polling. »

Naming The Revolution.

Two commenters on the Kyrgyzstan story have brought up the fact that the "lemon revolution" in Kyrgyzstan is also the "tulip revolution," which is also the "pink revolution," although Iranian women might claim the trademark on that one.




Similarly, before the Ukrainian revolution became known as the "orange revolution," it was called the "chestnut revolution."



In Georgia, it was the "rose revolution," also called the "velvet revolution," a name shared by 1989's non-violent democratic revolution in Czechoslovakia.



The BBC notes others:

The short-lived, so-called citizen's democracy in Hungary in 1918 is also known as the Michaelmas Daisy Revolution....

Such names are not restricted to Eastern Europe. The Carnation Revolution was a left-leaning revolution in Portugal in 1974, which ushered in a liberal democracy.




In Estonia in 1989, the liberation from Soviet rule was dubbed the "singing revolution."



In Lebanon, the "cedar revolution," also the "babe/Gucci revolution"



With so many countries left to go, and the increasingly rapid spread of the freedom bug all over the world, let's just hope there are effective names left to go around.

When in doubt, turn to PAC-MAN for ideas:

The bell might be trademarked by the United States (Liberty Bell). The orange is already in use.

The cherry could work somewhere, maybe. Parts of the Middle East grow cherries.

The apple and strawberry would be nice names for revolutions, pretty much anywhere they are grown.

Pineapple could work somewhere tropical.

Unfortunately, the Galaxian (on the far right) might have to wait a few millenia. PAC-MAN can only go so far in supplying suggestions for revolution names.

In places like Saudi Arabia, perhaps dates or pomegranates would be in order. Ultimately, it must be something the people within the country can identify with, as well as something that can be packaged and sold to the international media.

All of this revolution-naming business brings up an important point, that of branding and marketing a revolution to the world. In an increasingly interconnected world, with satellites and computers linking and beaming information about as fast as the speed of light, democratic forces within fear societies must have a plan to market their cause to the rest of the world.

It helps to have hot babes along for the ride, to peak the interest of male photojournalists, but not every movement has that luxury.

Still, in the 21st century, for a democratic revolution to gain international support, it must have more than Madisonian principles; it also needs a minimal level of Madison Avenue thrown in. We might call this "the blueprint." Dissidents all over the world should pay attention to "the blueprint."

Certain symbols speak to elites in America and elsewhere. In order to garner support for your cause, you should follow "the blueprint," as best you can, fitted to your own culture and your own situation.

If the 21st century is truly liberty's century, who is next?

Freedom House divides countries into free, partly free, and not free (click on map for large .pdf from Freedom House):

Purple represents nations that are not free, while yellow indicates partial freedom. Green countries are "free."

Notice the arc of purple ranging from Africa through the Middle East to Asia. Is it any wonder a democratic Iraq is such a crucial geostrategic point in the spread of freedom? Break that bow of tyranny in half, and freedom has a very real chance to flourish. The United States has great interest in the success of Kyrgyzstan because it is also a central pivot point in the dismantling of that vast, unbroken chain of despotism.

In Belarus, the tiny purple speck in Eastern Europe, we're starting to see signs of an emerging democratic movement. If the opposition forces in Minsk follow "the blueprint," their chances of success will drastically rise.

While democracy in Belarus would be an important step forward, Belarus is not a global menace or a sponsor of terrorism; Belarus becoming free and democratic is a wonderful thought, but the most significant positive effects of liberty's spread will be found in the Muslim world.

In Iran, for example, we know there are literally hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of young people, born right after the Islamic Revolution about a generation ago, who desire freedom. This generational bulge is coming of age in Iran (and elsewhere), politically and socially, and it will be the young people implementating "the blueprint" that will lead to success in transforming their societies.

And, while some caricature President Bush as a warmongering international ideologue intent on overthrowing government after government by external force, the current administration understands that, because of the liberation of Iraq, the seed of liberty has been planted in the Middle East. It has the chance to spread on its own with the help of a little tender loving care.

To paraphrase Natan Sharansky in The Case For Democracy, those who deny the power of freedom to transform oppressive, dangerous societies into prosperous, functional societies are denying the very nature of democracy. It is a great tragedy that so many Americans, for example, do not believe in the goodness, universality, and power of their own values.

America's best shot at a free Iran is not a war of liberation. Rather, the Iranian student population asserting themselves, following the examples of Ukraine and Lebanon, could prove to be a profound development in the march of freedom in the region.

Would Iran's Mullahs risk repeating Tiananmen Square? Would the world permit a massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators?

In his Second Inaugural address, President Bush spoke to the dissidents living under authoritarian regimes:

All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.

Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country.

George W. Bush reiterated this call, specifically to the Iranian people, in his State of the Union speech earlier this year:

As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you.

How far the United States (and the rest of the free world) could and would go to stand with the Iranian dissidents in the event of a violent crackdown remains to be seen, but it is clear the supporting democratic opposition forces in undemocratic societies, even only rhetorically, can energize of peaceful political movements devoted to the advance of liberty.

Part of that support includes the branding and marketing of the revolution, something which we'll follow closely, so stay tuned.

Posted by Will Franklin · 25 March 2005 02:00 PM


The Kyrgyzstan revolution is rather interesting because... The Kyrgyzstan Babes gender is some what questionable?

Posted by: Zsa zsa at March 25, 2005 06:12 PM

Pac-man revolution!!!! what a great concept.I
wouldn't mind being in on that!Just think of the music.

Posted by: monika at March 27, 2005 06:54 PM