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Age of once-fiery revolutionaries – Part 2

By Goke Omolade
01 June 2016   |   3:56 am
Indeed, visibly belligerent were the socialist/communist ideologues on the left wing, while on the right side, were their similarly non-compromising capitalist and conservative adherents.



Indeed, visibly belligerent were the socialist/communist ideologues on the left wing, while on the right side, were their similarly non-compromising capitalist and conservative adherents. Along this charted doctrinal course, the soul of the world was literally held captive, once again, under the spell of so unimaginable bombardments ranging from make-believe ideas, diplomatic arm-twisting, too-distant economic niceties, self-serving military alliances and ‘cross-cultural pollination’.

Figuratively, at this period, the world was divided into two opposing east and west campsites while others outside this so-named grouping were derisively tagged the third world or developing countries. For quite a while, this was how issues of governance and power contention were made to be for the most part of the cold wars wearied 20th century and while it lasted, several kingdoms and nations collapsed to the waiting hands of hawkish elements and dark-hearted monsters.

Then came China in 1949 when Chairman Mao Tse-tung and his ‘gang of four’ sprang upon world history by seizing power and went ahead through a cultural revolution of Mao’s definition to shut the world’s most populous nation against alien contact considered harmful.

And for so long, a swelling tribe of cynics tarried with a ‘mocking dirge as per their certainty of collapsing failure’ awaiting Mao’s experimental option of governance. However, contrary to their expectation, China forged on-course! It needs to be noted that China, though a communist-run country, maintained a studious neutrality from the fierce ideological cold war of that trying period. Besides, through persistence in leadership focus and general attitudinal codes which handsomely paid off, China was credited with a truly liberated status of a nation that could not just be pushed around or easily threatened.

For good effects, it has a current favourable rating of an economy said to be the world’s second largest (in gross domestic product terms) and most expanding and on China’s reputed feat, it has taught the world that irrespective of one’s doctrinal disposition; never stifle human entrepreneurial spirit; no sacred cow or sacrificial goat in the sanctity of regulatory laws and no lowering of official checks against impunity or illegality.

One other strategic feature that has to be put in place, for all and sundry, is the sharp focus of visionary leaders to seize ample opportunities whenever historic promptings so demand. Such striking examples were; America (George Washington, John F. Kennedy), Germany (Karl von Bismarck), Britain (Winston Churchill), India (Jawaharlal Nehru), South Africa (Nelson Mandela). Characteristically of these altruistic fellows was that at one or another time, they came to a revolutionary mindset to effect the needed change for their nation at large.

As for the 1991 ‘Second Russian revolution’, it was as if Mikhail Gorbachev was a commissioned agent to dislodge, dismember and finally inter the then Soviet Union through his twin programme of glasnost and perestroika. Because, virtually everything that glued the defunct, disoriented union melted like wax under the heat of his reforms, barely assuming power. Neither did he spare anything with communist bearing as he went all out for the communist jugular veins.

Ironically, Gorbachev was said to have made the opposing capitalist warriors’ quest for total annihilation of communism less difficult by re-igniting an already combustible situation, right inside the ‘inner chamber and headquarters’ of communism.

The regretful case of South Africa is one instance where raised hopes and assumptive aspiration had been made so nonsensical despite the widely good expectations of its tagged rainbow revolution.

Shortly after its overdue independence in April 1994, the world was fully expectant of its bountiful dividends of democracy and good governance and with its highly reverent leader, Nelson Mandela, in power, the general singsong was about the due date of an equitable nation. If only wishes were horses, even beggars in the rainbow republic would have had smooth-sailing ride!

Nonetheless, the reality afterwards is so disheartening to say the least as it is a sharp contradiction to what its patriotic, long-gone, altruistic and fellow-feeling revolutionaries(such as Pixley Seme, John Dube, Albert Lutuli, Chris Hani, Ruth First, Steve Biko, Joe Slovo, Desmond Tutu, Alan Boesaks) died or fought for.

Disappointingly have been those ruling post-Mandela South Africa since1999 and rather than continue by the exemplary, ascetic leadership style of the first president; both Mr. Jacob Zuma, especially has arbitrarily resorted to reigning like imperial overlords of old and if anything the revolutionary fire oozing out of this typical fellow has since burnt out.

On a reflective note, the somewhat sorry cases of other once-lauded freedom fighters and liberation-struggle initiators like Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni can, at worse, be described as troubling. Were these not the same ‘freedom seeking gurus’ who formerly raised Africa’s hope for a better, secure and fulfilled future?

At their revolutionary sunrise, these then-’almost saintly people’ were so beloved that any form of attacks on them was sorely regarded as provocative affronts on Africa in general but it is a different ballgame altogether as virtually everything they stand for now denote sheer idiocy, power tyranny, avoidable misery and complete darkness.

Such is the current tale of expired revolutionaries in this subdued part of our quite unpredictable world and apart from the identified doctrinal bickerings, leadership failures and incessant policy somersaults from all corners of the globe; man has ceaselessly been thrown in to an ideological limbo where all sorts of polluted belief systems are on display.

Back-or-forth, it is at this point that marks…the age of expired, once-fiery revolutionaries where diverse fifth columnists, pseudo-patriots, economic saboteurs, corrosive peddlers, intra-national lackeys, international rent-agents, cold-blooded terrorists take full residence. Corruptibly, everywhere abounds this pack of preying pretenders and by their mere utterances, idiosyncratic displays and supposed body-language, one can discern a tribe of all-seasons-all-manners-subscribers to…just anything. As often said; anyone who cannot stand for something would fall for
…just anything!

Lustfully indulgent is this band of power and money-seeking jesters as the fiery zeal they were once known by has been extinguished by all manner of distrusted compromises and decomposing doctrines and any reminder of a pricking conscience sounds so hollow to them. So often, they lapse to speaking from both ends of the mouth, just to be ‘rhetorically relevant’. From hindsight, no nation or any gathering is freed of these weakened, expired revolutionaries but what essentially needs to be done is to tolerate them as mere fractions of the general statistics.

Upon all odds, by the time the world or humanity is fully pushed again by its prevailing circumstances to the saturating point of needed generational realignment, developmental excellence and societal advancement; revolution out of its own prompting and timing would burst out in its characteristic wave of change-dynamics…just like an expected rain in a highly dehydrated atmosphere.

• Omolade,