Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Libya Revolt

Change continues to knock on other doors – one of these is Libya. The uprising in that country began as a series of protests:

Image credit: http://cryptome.org/info/libya-protest/libya-protest2.htm
Image credit: http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Anti-government-protests-Libya-VIDEO-Demonstrators-protesting-against-Libyan-regime-have-set-fire-local/ss/events/wl/021711libyaprotests#photoViewer=/110222/photos_wl_africa_afp/4643ff33750b5b55abb1c2541eca5bfe
Image credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12534187
Image credit: http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Anti-government-protests-Libya-VIDEO-Demonstrators-protesting-against-Libyan-regime-have-set-fire-local/ss/events/wl/021711libyaprotests#photoViewer=/110225/photos_wl_afp/167125aaa9bde9303d26c3f71ab0602d

Image credit: http://cdn.wn.com/ph/img/f3/43/834a0147e156c44cebcacdfaedd5-grande.jpg

Image credit: http://cryptome.org/info/libya-protest/libya-protest2.htm

The revolt spread and Muammar Gaddafi fought back. And the uprising looks like it is degenerating into a full-scale civil war. The despot still commands a band of tribal support, running down through central Libya from Sirte, where his own clan is based on the Mediterranean coast, south through the tribal lands of Oulad Suleiman to Tuareg territory near the border with Chad. Not to mention mercenaries on his payroll.

Like all despots, the determination to cling to power is unreal. It illustrates a leader who is blind and deaf to the protests. It demonstrates a futile attempt to cling to power that is only possible through brute violent force. It scorns the arrival of democracy.

But his time is up, whether he recognizes it or not. Sooner or later. But what fate awaits him when he surrenders?

If we examine history, we know there will be only two choices. If he is lucky, his life will be spared. Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines went into exile in Hawaii, USA. Uganda’s Idi Amin fled to exile, first to Libya, then to Saudi Arabia. Iran’s Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi went from country to country until his eventual demise in Egypt.

If he is not so lucky, then death awaits him. Romania’s Nicolae Ceauşescu (and his wife) saw themselves facing a firing squad in December 1989. Their executions were later replayed on television over and over again. In August 1979, Equatorial Guinea's Francisco Macias Nguema was overthrown after 11 years of violent leadership. He was caught on the run, and a month later put to death. Liberia's brutal Samuel Doe was himself subjected to brutality when tortured to death after his government fell in 1990.

But will the likes of Gaddafi learn from history? I doubt it.

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