Tuesday, February 26, 2013

EDSA and the Iranian Revolution of 1979

EDSA was not the first peaceful revolt against a dictator. In 1979, Iran ousted their extravagant Shah without shedding blood. Since the Shah was in fact, the Western Power's stooge, the Iranian revolution was eventually condemned by them.

There are similarities between EDSA and the Iranian revolt. Both were coups cloaked with people power. Both involved dominant religious groups in staging them.

Their differences are also striking. EDSA never went on a serious purge of counter-revolutionaries, while Iran did the necessary purge of itself and alleged "counter-revolutionary spies". Yes, their revolt started peacefully but what came after that were a series of purges and killings of its own citizens.

Cory Aquino was installed to power and what happened during her administration? She tried to revive the wealth, influence and power of the counter-elites, those who dominated Philippine socio-economic and political environment prior to Martial Law.

The Iranian Spiritual Leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini, developed a new elite based on adherence to religious dogma and the Iranian revolutionary spirit. This group of elites are now in power, and are responsible for drafting the Iranian road map to development from that year on. From a depressed economy and an underdeveloped landscape, Iran right now is one of the nuclear powers in the world and has a stable and robust economy run by its own people.

In contrast, the Philippines remains underdeveloped and being controlled by the same elite with a different collar. Fact is, the very reason why there is now a perceived economic growth is the fact that the elites of old have consolidated themselves with the new and emergent elite, those who benefited from EDSA uno and EDSA dos. Both are doing business together, and both are enjoying the perks and privileges of their stature in society.

In contrast, both countries still maintain a high level of poverty, a regular fixture in all revolutions. What started as a revolt against poverty, ended up with more of the issues which they basically revolted against.