Friday, April 1, 2011

The Human Faces of Revolutions

Kyle Almond at has a fine piece on some of the individuals who have become the faces of ongoing Middle Eastern revolutions, as well as some reflections on the role of such symbols in recent history.

I was very happy to have the opportunity to speak with him yesterday - and he cites me very generously - and provides a link to this blog -  toward the end of his report.

1 comment:

Doug Terry said...

I think your points in the article were well taken, but the Kent State killings also played another role in the anti-Vietnam war movement: they scared the pants off many people. A fair portion of those who demonstrated against the war looked on the whole thing as a youthful lark, lots of fun. When the film hit the airwaves of people being killed, it was a great shock to many, especially the "kids" raised in comfortable suburban surroundings where the greatest threat was not getting to use the family car. A lot of people never imagined that things could turn so violent, so quickly.

What also happened beyond that point as well is the national news media more or less declared the protests over. In point of fact, there were more demonstrations around the country in 1971 and '72, but the media had lost interest. Additionally, the demos were then scattered around, not concentrated in New York, Washington or San Francisco, so the impact was more difficult to gauge.

The collective affect of the Kent State killings, I would suggest, was to take some wind out of the anti-war movement. That combined with those who had decided to pursue non-peaceful means marked the beginning of the end. The war, you'll recall, went on till 1975, but the protests ebbed greatly in the immediate years before that date.

The war protesters were successfully isolated in America as a fringe group and, unfortunately, embraced that standing with behavior outside that acceptable to many fellow citizens. I agree that people were highly motivated, but for many different reasons, the anti-war movement gradually lost its voice in the national dialog long before the war ended.

Doug Terry


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