The events of this year across the Arab world have been thrilling to those of us who love liberty. First Tunisia, then Egypt. Bahrain is teetering. Algeria and Saudi Arabia are rumbling. But the country de jour is Libya. Gaddafi insists that he won’t go quietly, although I predict that he’ll sneak out like the snivelling cur that he is. Or at least he’ll try.
That being said, there are a few points that we at a distance ought to note:
1. Gaddafi is a parasite on his country, but he’d fit right in on American television. He belongs to a type that includes such illustrious figures as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez–fun from a distance, but terrible bores when dealing with them as leaders. According to a news report, when he visited Italy, he gave a speech in which he claimed that the word “democracy” comes from the Arabic word for chair, and thus, the world will only be democratic when everyone sits down.
Yup, that man needs his own talk show.
2. The thugs that have been hired to staff the Libyan army are referred to as elite units in American news reports. This is damnably wrong. There is nothing elite about strafing unarmed protestors. The hired goons may be trained in the arts of criminality, but let’s call them by their right names. Of course, speaking correctly about them often requires words that cannot be spoken on our airwaves, but this may be a time to allow an exemption to the rules.
3. But the main point here is that there’s little that we can do, beyond cheering on the Libyan people and giving them our friendship once they win. The Security Council of the United Nations condemned Gaddafi’s actions yesterday (22 February 2011), but did not enact a no-fly zone over Libya to keep his airforce from attacking the protestors.
Of course, if the United Nations were anything other than a stage for tinhorn dictators to thunder and whine, we’d likely have to overthrow it. Intervention is expensive and difficult, requiring a level of dedication that we usually lack, and many times it achieves little, especially since getting other permanent members of the Council to agree with us takes far too long. The Libyans are finally doing their human duty, and I hope that this wave will spread across the globe. As with any great wave, we can’t stop it and we can’t shape it. All we can do is work with the world as it is after the flow subsides.