Nothing much happens here, we might wake up to find the reigning political party have dumped the prime minister (Rudd-Gillard-Rudd, or Abbott-Turnbull) or that we’ve been signed up for yet another military venture supporting our allies. I still remember the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, we avidly listened to the radio every night, half expecting history to be made with a people’s uprising throughout China. Which was ironic, because it was already called The People’s Republic of China. The protest was bold and powerful, and even though there was no popular uprising, it sent a message to the world.
But the one that sticks in my mind is the one I know the least about. The Orange Revolution in the Ukraine in 2004. I know that the protests resulted from reports of fraud in the 2004 presidential election between candidates Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych was declared winner, but fraud became evident. Daily protests and a general strike forced the authorities to offer a second round of voting. After which the clear winner was Yushchenko. What I remember of it was the colour, the protestors wore orange, or carried orange flags and baloons, and hence it became known as the Orange revolution. Notably, it was a peaceful revolution (despite the fact that the president had attempted to engage the army in reigning in the protestors, which the army refused to do). Of course there’s a lot more to it than that, the histories of Russia, Poland and Ukraine are in the mix of this, the preceding years of government, public attitudes, the division between west and east (more pro-Russian) Ukraine, the murder of Georgiy Gongadze – a vocal anti-corruption journalist, and more. It was an amazing moment in time.