Friday, March 4, 2011

Riots and Violence

I'm not sure how many of you keep up with the news, but for those of you who don't, here's a little overview of what's going on in Libya. In case you didn't hear, Egypt recently overthrew their government. Ever since that happened, other countries have been inspired to try to overthrow their own governments. One that has been doing this lately is Libya. Protests there started around February 17th. There has been some intense rioting with many deaths, and people are desperately trying to flee the country before it gets worse. The Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, has been violently crushing his opposition, even ordering air raids on protesters. He has slaughtered hundreds of his people and the exact death toll is unknown. He has also hired foreign mercenaries to kill protesters.  It's pretty obvious that he's not going down without a fight, but what does he really hope to gain? He has very few supporters left, and he keeps losing them.  If his brilliant plan is to kill everyone who opposes him, he might have to kill everyone in the country.  And that really won't accomplish anything, because what good is a ruler without someone to rule?

Tunisia also recently overthrew its government, though much more peacefully. Is this a picture of things to come? It seems that people who were already upset with their governments took Egypt's victory as motivation to hold their very own uprisings. I feel like it's not going to stop at Libya and we'll probably be hearing a lot more of this sort of thing in the future. I can only hope that there are less deaths. So what about the United States? While the current unemployment and economy are certainly not ideal, our leader is not a vicious dictator. I'm not really into politics, so I'll just say that I don't think we need to overthrow Obama unless he starts murdering us for no reason.

Here are some of the things that Gaddafi did prior to the revolution that is currently taking place:
  • had 10 to 20 percent of Libyans working in surveillance (comparable to Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong-Il)
  • removed foreign languages from school curriculum
  • paid for his critics around the world to be murdered
  • publicly executed opposition activists and broadcast the executions on television
  • blocked access to Youtube on January 11, 2001 after it featured videos of demonstrations in the city of Benghazi by the families of prisoners who had been murdered in 1996 at Abu Salim prison (1,270 prisoners had been killed)
After that, everything just blew up, well not literally, at least not yet.

Bottom line: stay as far away from Libya as possible.  You probably shouldn't even be in an Arab country at all, because who knows which country is going to uprise next.

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