Last week I wrote about the unrest in the Middle East and the confused response of the administration to the situation in Egypt.
I noted then, the Middle East was aflame. I didn‘t realize how much hotter things would get.
In Libya, long time dictator Muammar Gaddafi has reportedly fled his capital after ordering his military, and apparently foreign mercenaries, to fire on the protesters in the street. As many as 1,000 have reportedly been killed. In Yemen, in Bahrain, in Iran, all over the region spontaneous protests are breaking out and people are demanding the ouster of totalitarian regimes and calling for elections.
I had been worried these protests would be a repeat of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, but they do not seem to be. Buoyed by successes in Tunisia, where all this started, and in Egypt, people all over the region seem to be standing up and saying “enough!”
Whether or not this will turn out to be a good thing remains to be seen. It is notable, however, that for the most part the protesters are not calling for Islamic states but for elections — which is heartening. I do worry about what the radical Islamists will do in as the unrest spreads, as this sort of chaos is exactly the sort of thing they specialize in exploiting.
The people who should really be worrying are dictators not just in the Mideast but world wide. Sooner or later it‘s going to occur to people in say, North Korea, that if they simply have the will, they can take to the streets and force the regime change we‘ve been trying to cause with sanctions and what not for years. Kim Jong Il and his son should be shaking in their boots.
This is a prime example of what Americans have understood for centuries now — all government, of whatever kind, is only by the consent of the governed. It may take a war to throw off oppressive government, of course. In the end, if the people refuse to submit even in the face of casualties, there‘s little a government can do to remain in power.
What‘s heartening, is that while some governments seem to be resorting to violence, most of the protesters are not. They‘re simply taking to the streets and refusing to leave. Which is shutting down the cities where they are protesting.
I wish the protesters in these countries the best. They have for too long lived without the freedom to which all people are entitled. Those rights which all people are “endowed by their creator ... life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The causes and truths laid out so many years ago in that simple document, The declaration of Independence are no less true today, and no less applicable simply because the people are not Americans.
All IMHO, of course...