I Almost Called This One

The Called Shot

On October 1, 1930, Babe Ruth of the New York Yankees strode to the plate in the fifth inning of Game 3 of the World Series.  Ruth made an ambiguous gesture by pointing to the center field bleachers at Chicago’s Wrigley Field.  On the next pitch, he hit a home run into center field.  It has never been confirmed or refuted that Ruth “called his shot.”

In late September 2010, I wrote here about the Spring of Nations.  This was a phenomenon which occurred in 1848 when revolutions occurred in almost every nation in Europe.  I discussed some of the possible causes, and related the results of these events of long ago.  As I always do, I attempted to relate them to modern events to see if there is anything to learn from them.

1848

In my essay, I discussed how people in 1848 Europe were fighting for bread and freedom.  I contrasted that with the claims of certain Americans leading up to the November 2010 elections that their freedoms were being taken away by a “repressive” regime in the United States.  I postulated that most of these American citizens were actually being manipulated by unscrupulous forces in the media as well as certain political candidates.

While I must pat myself on the back for bringing to the fore the “Spring of Nations” (a series of events forgotten by most people), I did not foretell that we would be experiencing another series of revolutions in related states within a short period of time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As some of you learned here on this site, on December 17, 2010, a Tunisian fruit-seller named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself afire to protest government corruption and his own inability to get ahead by playing within the system established by the ruling dictator, President Ben Ali.

Bouazizi also set the Arab world on fire.  His actions caught the imagination of all people living under oppression on the “Arab Street” from the Mahgreb of North Africa to the Middle East.

Mohamed Bouazizi

Within days of the striking of Bouazizi’s match, President Ben Ali fell from power.  The “Jasmine Revolution” was breathtaking for its rapidity and improbability.

But, something even bigger and better was to come.

Hosni Mubarak

The nearly 30-year reign of Egyptian strongman, President Hosni Mubarak, ended last Friday.  It was not exactly bloodless.  It was anything but peaceful.

Unfortunately, reporters who were in Egypt to report on the people’s progress in their quest for liberty paid a violent price.

Nevertheless, things will never be the same in the Arab world.

Egypt

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bahrain

It’s not over yet.

Today, there were mass uprisings in the small island state of Bahrain.  People gathered en masse for the funeral of the second demonstrator killed by state security forces.  They are demanding democracy and the ouster of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, a member of the Sunni Muslim royal family who has held the post for four decades.  The largely Shiite people of Bahrain are making their voices heard.

Muamar Gadaffi

In Libya, more than 40 protestors have been injured in clashes with police.  Libya’s dictator, Colonel Muamar Gaddafi, has controlled that nation since 1969.

Yemen

In Yemen, thousands are protesting and hundreds took to the streets of Sana, Taiz and other main cities in an attempt to force the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Government officials are keeping nervous eyes on the masses in Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states.

Although Iranians are Persians and not Arabs, Iran’s leaders are carefully watching events by monitoring Facebook, Twitter and other social media.  Arguably, the people of Iran provided the Arab Street with a “Revolution for Dummies” guide through their actions in opposing Iran’s fixed state-run elections of 2009.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We are seeing it.  It is happening.

As in 1848, revolution is spreading like wildfire from one house to another in the Arab world.

Regardless of whether régimes actually topple, life in this part of the world will never be as it was before Mohamed Bouazizi’s act of self-sacrifice.

Talk about a real “world series.”

And neither I nor anyone else could have called this one.

— The Major

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