The whole thing was very much a spontaneous revolution, driven by passions that had been building for years during the Tsar’s out-of-touch and downright oppressive rule. His secret police, the Okhrana, had terrorized the people. They were very creative in their evil, the most notable example being their infamous forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion—a scurrilous anti-Semitic document that provided cover for various pogroms against Jews. A few years later, it would also be loved by a man named Hitler. And just a few years ago Egyptian television aired a 41-part series about The Protocols, a document of lies that even today inspires millions of people to hate Israel and the Jews. It is pretty much required reading for anyone connected with Hamas, Hezbollah, and even that group now in the news called the Muslim Brotherhood.
A provisional government took over in Russia in March 1917, eventually led by a man named Alexander Kerensky. You’ve heard of him, right? He and his government, though brought to power by the hopes of peasants who had been long oppressed, proved to be weak and ineffectual. They were certainly no match for the evil cabal waiting in the wings to make their political move.
You have surely heard of them—the Bolsheviks.
They promised things like, “Land, Bread, and Peace.” But history tells us that the people actually got none of it. The nation embarked on a tortured journey of collectivism, rationing, and perennial conflict. The Tsar’s Okhrana was gone, but just a month after the Bolsheviks seized power, the Cheka was up and running. This new state police arm would take the idea of cultural terror to a whole new level.
In other words, a movement driven by frustration and the desire to throw off a yoke of bondage—a well-meaning and sincere attempt on the part of many people to have more of a say in the living of their lives—soon gave way to a different kind of tyranny. It was a tyranny not only of a ruling elite, but also of a toxic ideology.
And that is what is very likely to happen in Egypt. Whatever the immediate developments, whether or not President Hosni Mubarak leaves now or later this year, the euphoria of such a moment will quickly give way to a different reality. And in this year’s version of what happened in another country in 1917, the Muslim Brotherhood will be playing the part of the Bolsheviks of old.
They have much in common and none of it any good. Instead of the dictatorship of the proletariat, there will be the building of a Sharia society. And just as it was very much the vision of Lenin, Stalin and comrades to take their show on the road and spread their cool ideas every where by any means necessary, so stay tuned for Egypt to become the staging ground for a renewed and emboldened drive toward complete global Islamist hegemony.
Does anyone else kind of miss the good old days of the Shah of Iran?