There’s something in all our hearts that warms to the idea of a revolution based on such fundamentals as the desire for human dignity and for the state to serve its people’s needs rather than oppress them. Last night Bedales students were lucky enough to have the series of revolutions that have coincided with their teenage years explained and brought alive by someone uniquely qualified to do so, Sir Dominic Asquith, currently our representative in Libya and previously (2007-11) our ambassador in Egypt. I suspect that the images from the revolutions and street protests of our youth cast an indelible mark – Wordsworth and the French Revolution, those young Englishmen profoundly affected by the Russian Revolution of 1916 and the Spanish Civil War, even people of my generation and earlier with the 1968 student protests and the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations, the teenagers of the 80s and the fall of the Berlin Wall. In assembly last night, our lot were gripped by this account of how the spark lit on 17 December 2010 by a poor Tunisian stall holder has brought such change across a world which appeared to be so calcified. Sir Dominic’s ability to link the root causes of the Arab Spring to broad movements – the demise of Communisim, political Islam and the rise of individual interest groups enabled by social media – allowed light to be shed on such a complex global happening. Lucky students too who were able to question him further over supper at my house.
By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools
Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.