French Revolution

Issa Chomani

By Issa Chomani:

If we want to understand about the French revolution, we may go to the libraries or access Kurdish websites. But we will be disappointed by the lack of books and reliable sources: there are fewer texts written in Kurdish or translated into Kurdish about the French revolution than the fingers of your hands.

In contrast to the Kurdish revolution – which took the shape of a struggle between some political armed Kurdish parties and the Baathist regime – the French revolution was in essence a movement of the people without weaponry.

A revelatory disparity between the French revolution and the Kurdish revolution is that no one ‘owned’ it. It was not a clandestine event or one created by an opposition. It was an unarmed insurgency and actually a mass uprising against the injustice of the king and his administration.

The French revolution which began on July 14th 1789 was the most important historic event of its era. This revolution was, at the same time, political, social and economic. It affected not only the French but also all the people of Europe and indeed all humanity. It passed through several phases. The revolution was started by a few people as a small demonstration against the tyranny of the King (Louise XVI) as his tyranny reached a climax. They were a minority group but soon they became a majority of the people.  Robespierre, Danton and Jack Palmira became three leaders of the revolution.

Historians divide French history into two parts: history before the revolution and history after the revolution. The first period was a history of a monarchic regime, of tyranny and the extremism of clerics. The human mind lived in dark times and at a low level. But the history following the revolution was that of a republic system, of parliamentary and modern democracy and of a new era in which the mind predominated.

The difference with many other revolutions was that no single group or specific party possessed it. It was basically started by a gathering and developed into a mass uprising against an authority that practised injustice and inequality. An authority did not think about the hunger and poverty of its people, squandered the property of the people and state, distributing largesse to the relatives of the king and the clerics. The ecstasy and entertainment they enjoyed were among the sparks that ignited the revolution.

During the revolution, atrocities were committed: thousands were executed, especially at the hands of Robespierre, and it is claimed that in one week about fifteen thousand of those charged only with having relations with the king were guillotined.

But, despite this horror, the revolution also made so many achievements. Before it, under the king’s authority, there was nothing called a constitution and human rights, but instead there was abundant power for the king, his relatives and clerics. They possessed the whole power and the whole real estate of France belonged to them.

Afterwards, a constitution was written that became the fundamental law of the state, giving the people their genuine rights and looking upon everyone equally and justly.

The overthrow of the monarchy and ending of the hegemony of noblemen paved the way for the creation of a national assembly whose representatives were elected by the whole community. This council could reduce the differences among the people and put an end the persecutions, nepotism and compulsory orders. It also introduced fairer and more equitable taxation.

Furthermore, the concept of humanism was born; this means that everyone is regarded as a human being regardless of class, ethnicity and gender.

The national assembly divided the country into 80-85 regions in order to establish a type of non-centralised government to manage the peoples’ affairs. This gave rise to the destruction of the old system of monarchy and feudalism.

One fall-out of the revolution was that a number of French counter-revolutionaries  – nobles, ecclesiastics, and some bourgeois – abandoned the struggle in their own country and emigrated.

Louis XVI was mandatorily abdicated. The revolutionaries insisted on retribution for the tyranny of the monarch and his lords who had imposed their will on the majority of the community. The rebels formed a court to adjudicate on this, in which hundreds of lords and ecclesiastics – and the king himself, were sentenced to the guillotine.

This turmoil ended the centuries-long tyranny of Louise XVI and his predecessors through the peoples’ determination to build a democratic society.

History tells us that regimes that seek to bolster a false legitimacy or consolidate their position illegally can generate movements that devour their power forever. Kurdish revolutionaries should understand that maintaining their authority solely in the name of their revolution can point their fate to extinction.

Issa Hassan is a student at the University of Kurdistan-Hawler.

Copyright © 2013

5 Responses to French Revolution
  1. kurd
    September 18, 2013 | 19:51

    Im sorry,You are mistaken when you compare between the French revolution and the Kurdish revolution!!! french revolution is an important event especially in europe & it played a pivotal role on the world’s history…. but the Kurdish revolution!!! (ha ha ha …) is nothing than the uprising & revolt,So, you should have been known that the revolution is very different than uprising…,because the kurdish people has not ever made revolution… but all of that the kurdish did it has become (hallay mamkwekha)…

    • choman
      September 19, 2013 | 18:13

      Mr., the Kurds also made revolutions throughout history, but in different ways.

  2. Omar
    September 18, 2013 | 21:51

    Bravo on your article, but you overlook the point that your narrative is the same narrative written by those who write the history books. To understand the French revolution you must understand the Crusades and the wealth owners. They are the ones who funded the so-called revolution. I suggest you watch the film ‘Shadows in Motion’. A more recent film, only uploaded onto YouTube last week, is ‘Four Horsemen – Feature Documentary’.

    Until then, don’t take the Wikipedia/textbook version of history to be correct.

    • choman
      September 19, 2013 | 18:21

      Yes it is a type of narrative of history that I have read in books, that are reliable sources, and I simply differentiate between the French Revolution and ours.

  3. Yasin Aziz
    September 20, 2013 | 14:30

    The last king who was decapitated, clearly apologised to the people when waiting for his head to be cut off, they monarchy were very corrupt, many people were starving to death, whoever helped the revolution was good…

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