Monday, March 07, 2011

Moment of Truth for Libya and Libyans

Can Libyans free their country from the claws of Moammar Gadhafi, or will they need outside help?

As the country sinks into a protracted civil war and civilian casualties mount, the question gains momentum. The more time Gadhafi gets, the more he can consolidate his power to kill and spread his reign of terror.

The ideal solution would be for Libyans to vanquish Gadhafi but life is rarely ideal. President Obama is mulling some sort of military intervention, as President Bill Clinton did before sending the warplanes to Sarajevo and save many Bosnians from butchery.

At the very least, enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya would boost the morale of the rebels who are fighting to hold on to every inch of the territory under their sway. Even a small victory by Gadhafi, aided by mercenaries, emboldens the dictator to commit greater acts of savagery.

The mass and indiscriminate killing in Libya cannot continue. Gadhafi must be held accountable for his crimes. Once he falls, the horror stories will tumble out and we will wonder yet again how humans can be so inhuman.

Evil will be with us until the end. When the established order is about to be overthrown - because people have had enough and they can take it no longer - those in power lash out with all their might. That's when genocide occurs. That is what we are witnessing in Libya now. At some point, Libyan rebels will have to be supplied with arms so that they can fight on equal terms with Gadhafi's well-equipped army and air force.

There are those who claim that Gadhafi is a benevolent dictator who has kept his people happy by meeting their basic needs. They question why Libyans are revolting. What they forget is that people want to be free. They want the freedom to exercise their creativity instead of living on favors bestowed from above. They want to start their own businesses and build their own institutions, instead of being told what is good for them and how they should conduct their lives. They are fed up with the offsprings of their leaders looting the treasury to host multi-million dollar bashes in Paris and Las Vegas. It's their money and they want to use it for their country and society. They want to harness the power of the Internet to boost their economy and connect with the world.

Gadhafi's fall is bound to bring about changes in Yemen, Sudan, Oman, Syria. All these countries will struggle to regain their footing once the dictators and the oligarchs disappear but that's expected. There will be chaos and, in a tribal society like Libya's, the chaos may continue for months. But ultimately, freedom and democracy will usher in a new era of hope and peace and an economy that engages all citizens, not just the chosen and arbitrary few. Those who died for this transformation will be remembered as true martyrs by their grateful nations.

No comments: