an illusion of history

the french revolution – you know the date: 1789. when did the second world war begin? 1939? why wasn’t it 1937? or 1941? the big illusion created by the writings of history, is that everything happened in a very short time. it is like a movie – it starts, it has a climax and it ends. period.

it is simple to make history understandable in such a short context that is easy to overlook. but what actually happened is way more than what is usually told in history books. there was years of struggle, up and down, left and right, between the forces before they reached the climax in the french revolution. – and consider, if the revolution would not have been successful, it is unlikely that we would now learn about it. it would have been forgotten. just like the long preceding struggle before a revolution is forgotten today.

change takes time. with the elections around the corner, people start evaluating the term of the current president in the united states. and it is absolutely correct to question his work. but it is not to forget, that change does not happen over night. obamas biggest mistake was to give this impression in his election campaign – but we all know that this was a method to sell his point, not an actual promise to turn the world upside down in one election period. it would be foolish to believe this was possible at all.

a good leader is the one who can set measures, even if they might be unpopular at the time, that make the best future development possible. machiavelli states the example of parsimony – he says, that people might despise a parsimonious leader, yet it is better for the principe to live with this image, instead of spending all the money of the state to please his people at the time and then being forced to raise taxes more and more, which makes people hate him. it takes time to see the good in a measure, that might seem bad at the first glance. but there is some truth in the saying: good things take time.

change takes time! the illusion of the writing of history about the french revolution suggests that the revolution was quick and introduced a new area of freedom for people almost over night. taking a closer look, one sees the jacobin leadership, the harsh development to freedom and the ongoing struggle for liberte, fraternite, egalite for years. how can one be so foolish to assume, that the change of government in the arabic world would change everything over night? the arab spring was the first step in a long struggle between the different powers and poles within each country and within the culture. there are liberals, intellectuals and fundamentalists in the arab countries – as there are people like that in every other country and culture all over the world. in the west, we found a balance between those poles over the years, we have stable structures and live quite comfortably in the illusion that this was easy to attain and will be easy to maintain from now on – mark the word illusion.

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