Feb 22 2011
As protests ignite across the Muslim/Arab world I can only sit back and marvel at the historic times we live in. While there is a lot of hand wringing left and right, this widening call for freedom is the result expected when the US brought democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan. Once these two country demonstrated years of what democracy means, along with a few cycles of peaceful elections and leadership handover, it appears a tipping point has been reached as one after another of the iron-fisted leaders find their people totally fed up with them:
Two high-ranking Libyan air force pilots have who fled to Malta in their aircraft are reported to have told officials they escaped rather than carry out orders to bomb civilians.
The officers defected as Libyan diplomats in several countries and international organisations resigned in protest at the regime’s violent response to the deepening crisis. They included Muammar Gaddafi’s ambassadors to China, India, Indonesia and Poland, as well as Libya’s representative to the Arab League and most, if not all, of its mission at the United Nations.
Qaddafi made the mistake President Mubarrak avoided – pretending mass killing could save his hold on power. The people of the world cannot be cowed anymore. Yes, to a point they can be persuaded to ignore things, but all that does is build up pressure, so that when the tipping point hits the explosion is all the more powerful.
It is always interesting to see the parallels big and small. Iran is going to feel the largest pressure cooker, being one of the most oppressive with a highly educated and modern civilian base. Even if it holds on, it will turn into some historic derelict like North Korea. But I just don’t see it holding on. In that case too, we will probably witness horrific bloodshed by those desperate to hold onto power.
All of this upheaval and heavy handed response sheds an illuminating light on events in Wisconsin. While the Democrat and union responses are not bloody (yet), they are heavy-handed and desperate. What we see in the Middle East is the price that has to be paid to bring a society back out of the darkness of autocratic, oppressive rule. And it is a heavy price.
Which in turn means it is best to never lose the freedoms of the individual and society to know-it-all bureaucrats and self-proclaimed Messiahs. [I bet Obama is really regretting the over-the-top stage craft of his election now!] If Libya and Egypt and Tunisia tell us anything it is to not let government and its lackey organizations get too much power.
In Wisconsin the left is protesting lack of control over the rest of us, while in the Middle East the people are protesting oppressive and central control of their lives.
Oh the delicious irony of it all.