Generally, in Criminal Law, a spontaneous reaction to a provocation, which then results in homicide, will usually diminish the culpability of the perpetrator.
The provocation will serve to reduce the responsibility of the actor and considerably whittle down his punishment.
On the other hand, a premeditated retaliation to a provocation, which results in a homicide, will fetch the perpetrator a stringent sentence because that is a more serious affair, since the offender had time to think about his line of action and method of retaliation.
Like classical murder, a real revolution needs to be premeditated. The justifications are painstakingly identified, well considered, masticated and digested. The aims and objectives are diligently enumerated, the methods of implementation and mode of operation are lucidly visualised .
Most importantly, the ways and means of implementing the objectives when the revolution is successful, are intelligently articulated because in the absence of that, the so-called revolution is reduced to hot air, which after dissipation, turns warm, then cold, then frigid and finally, totally vapid. It might well then be a mis-revolution in the end with its propensity to be counter productive and even set the clock back.
A revolution is therefore clearly distinct from petulance or grandstanding, mindless violene, opprtunism or a mere smokescreen for political or tribal bad-belly.
A revolution entails more of the cerebrum than the muscle, more of the pen than the sword and even though the foot soldiers are ultimately indispensable to its success, the foot must never replace the brain.
Also, a revolution must not be implemented like show business for it is certainly more of serious business than show, more of a cathedral congregation than a rock concert.
For all these reasons, revolutonaries are usually deep-thinking philosophers and not knee-jerk reactionaries, who make great stock by fits of temper.
In fact, reactionaries trivialise the entire affair for revolutionaries and can be likened to a truncated dosage of antibiotics, which not only fails to overcome the bacteria but actually enables it re-energize and even mutate. Revolutionaries detest reactionaries the way doctors detest quacks or musicians despise noise makers..
Another thing, true revolutionaries are a world apart from demagogues although the latter always claim to be the former. Revolutionaries are prominently honest, extensively altruistic and constructively idealistic. They truly want to make a bad situation better and to take a people to the Promised Land so to speak, irrespective of whether they reach it themselves.
Like Che Guevara passionately posited, “a true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a true revolutionary lacking in this qualiy.”
Demagogues, on the other hand, masquerade as revolutionaries, taking cynical advantage of transient sentiments, manipulating some fleeting emotions or wistful situations with the intention to achieve aims and objectives, which in the final analysis, are more base than lofty.
And very crucially, the demagogue fully intends to reach the Promised Land himself and will encourage others to make the ultimate sacrifice so that he can attain that destination.
The demagogue is usually distinguished by a love of self, being a consummate narcicist. For instance, he would pretend to lead an ostensibly peaceful protest, knowing fully when and even wilfully calculating that it will degenerate at some point into violence and bloodletting.
An example. Sadness at the George Floyd incident in America last year was fair and genuine enough. A decent show of displeasure was not out of place. Then, the demagogues came to town and before you could say ‘George!’, it mysteriously transitioned to ‘Defund The Police!’, which effectively meant ‘Scrap The Police!’ and suddenly, that country had anarchy knocking at its door. At the end of day, it was all only because liberals wanted the incumbency crippled. And for that narrow motive, widespread sentiments were employed and some sorry souls had to give up their unfortunate lives.
A revolutionary on the hand, would generally be honest enough to inform his people from the beginning that a bloody revolution might indeed be the only solution and that a peaceful evolution could be just an illusion. That way everyone prepares for the worst from the onset.
In conclusion, a revolution, which lacks prior thinking, modal strategy, specific aims and a post-conclusion template for the implementation of its objectives, is only an ejaculation.
*Mr Odi Ikpeazu is an Onitsha-based Attorney at Law & Football Club proprieto