Political uprisings come in lots of colors -- orange in Ukraine, yellow in the Philippines, green in Iran. Although the situation in Egypt has yet to earn a color, the similarities and differences of past events help in understanding people's rebellions. Some of the general rules:
-- Michael Muskalmichael.firstname.lastname@example.orgRule 1. Elections count even if the challengers lose.
One of the key demands in Egypt is for free elections in which the ruling party is not the automatic winner. But just granting such elections is no guarantee that democratic reforms will come.
For example, in 2009 in Iran, there were elections, but there were also questions of electoral irregularity. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme ruler, said the election was proper and that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had defeated Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who became the face of dissent. No recount or new election was needed, Khamenei said.That initial position is not unusual, but elsewhere, people have forced a change. In Ukraine, there was a widespread perception that the vote on Nov. 21, 2004, between insurgent Viktor Yushchenko and government favorite Viktor Yanukovych was rigged by the authorities. After popular pressure through demonstrations, Ukraine's Supreme Court ordered another runoff on Dec. 26, 2004. The final results showed a clear victory for Yushchenko, who was inaugurated on Jan. 23, 2005.Photo: A Ukrainian woman speaks to riot police guarding the Ukrainian presidential administration building in 2004.