Witnesses have used the power of video to document that Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gadhafi, who Ronald Reagan once nicknamed the “mad dog” of the Middle East, has used aircraft, tanks and mercenaries to try to crush protests against his 41-year rule of the oil-exporting nation in North Africa. Gadhafi plead with his people to flood the streets and quell the protesters who are nothing but “misguided youth on drugs.”
That’s misguided youth on drugs WITH CAMERAS to you, Mr. Gadhafi.
Video evidence and citizen reporting has without a doubt increased the human elementand level of empathy, but does it put more pressure on governments to pick a side?
“These are human rights. They are not negotiable.” These are the words of U.S. President Barack Obama when asked about the political slaughter in Libya. (courtesy of @USAToday)
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini on Wednesday expressed deep concern over the future of Libya and what he called, ‘death of 1,000s of innocent citizens’. He said the death toll from days of unrest in Libya was likely to be over a thousand and worried that violence there could spark what he calls Islamic extremism.
Clearly these are two different view points, but the fact remains is that a public statement was made. We are no longer in ally purgatory, or at least we aren’t there as long.
Over the last few months, two facts have been made abundantly clear: leaders will be held responsible for their actions and the people WILL be heard one way or another and I believe 100 percent that the power of social media and online video has made it possible.
On a different, but related note, Gadhafi and his family need better speech writers or a lesson in conflict resolution.
Be you a Republican or Democrat, I think we can all be thankful that we don’t have to endure a publicly broadcasted speech like this one. Jump for Seif al-Islam’s message to the People:
[Appearing on Libyan state television Sunday night after six days of protests, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi warned protesters that they risked igniting a civil war in which Libya's oil wealth "will be burned."
"Moammar Gadhafi, our leader, is leading the battle in Tripoli, and we are with him," the son said in a rambling 40-minute speech. "The armed forces are with him. Tens of thousands are heading here to be with him. We will fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet."
He acknowledged that the army made mistakes during protests because it was not trained to deal with demonstrators but added that the number of dead had been exaggerated, giving a death toll of 84. Human Rights Watch put the number at 174 through Saturday.]
As events unfold, we just might see a transformation in the Islamic world’s global reputation – whether it will be for good or ill remains to be seen (something like this)
Look at this map for the latest on protest in the Middle East. http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2011-02-24-libya-revolt_N.htm