by Evert Cilliers aka Adam Ash
Take a basic emotion: fear. Before a revolution can even get started, it has to face down fear.
After all, how do you prevent a revolution from happening? You put fear, massive fear, in the minds of your population. At one point, the Shah of Iran's secret police, SAVAK, had a surgeon cut off the arms and legs of a dissident in prison; then they sent his live torso back to his family and friends as a living warning of what could happen to anyone who resisted. A pretty effective fear tactic.
Revolutionaries swim in that fear. Like fish swim in water.
The conditions that breed revolution may be material: oppression and poverty. Egypt had 15,000 political prisoners to torture. Up to 50% of its workers unemployed. But there is something more lacerating than physical hurt and deprivation to consider: the psychology of revolution. A revolution is an intensely emotional experience. It has to be, to break the chains of fear.