The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Tuesday 18 July 2023

From Revolution to Arms Exports

"Pots and Pans" Revolution, Iceland
When we think of “revolution” four are likely to come immediately to mind: French, American,
Russian, and Chinese. This is unsurprising, given that these four revolutions receive a lot of attention in our history books and our education system.

They were also violent revolutions.

In France, an estimated 20,000 men and women were killed during the Reign of Terror. In less than five days during the 1792 September massacres at least 1,500 people were killed at the hands of Parisian mobs.

In America it is estimated that 6,800 Americans were killed in the war itself, with a further 17,000 dying from disease because of the war (12,000 of these as Prisoners of War.) On the British side, there were some 24,000 casualties.

The Russian Revolution saw massive deaths, with up to 10 million lives being lost, the majority of these being civilians.

China’s revolution resulted in more than 700,000 combatants killed, and up to 3 million casualties. A further 3 million civilians also were either killed or maimed.

Now, I ask you: which are the four countries in the world who are the largest arms exporters?

If you answered, the U.S.A., Russia, France, and China you would be correct. Between them they account for almost three-quarters of the world’s arms exports. The U.S. leads with 40%, followed by Russia (16%), France (11%), and China (5%.) In 2022, this trade contributed to global military spending of $2.2 trillion.1

Is it a coincidence that the four major violent revolutions took place in the same countries that now dominate the world trade in armaments?

This question may be unanswerable, although it would seem plausible that a nation founded upon violence would go on to be a large player in the global arms trade.

Furthermore, perhaps it is no coincidence that conflict (both inter-national and intra-national) continues to default to violent means, when most of our history lessons continue to give precedence to the four “big” (violent) revolutions.

Yet, there are dozens of examples, worldwide, of nonviolent revolutions. These get little attention in our history, and hence in our consciousness. Fascinatingly, many of these nonviolent revolutions are known by imaginative and colourful names – attesting to the creativity with which nonviolence lends itself to. To name but a few: the Velvet (Gentle) Revolution in Czechoslovakia (as it was then named,) the Rose Revolution in Georgia, or the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, and Orange Revolution in Ukraine (inspired by the Rose Revolution.) The Baltic states ousted their Soviet Union authorities with a Singing Revolution. The most intriguingly named revolution is the Pots and Pans (or Kitchenware) Revolution in Iceland during 2009-11, named after demonstrators banged pots and pans outside the Althing (Icelandic parliament.)


1. SIPRI Yearbook 2023, published 11 June 2023. SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) is the world’s leading peace disarmament, arms control, and conflict resolution research institute. It was founded in 1966.

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