Thursday, February 17, 2011

17-Feb-11: Up next: Libya

From today's BBC report on the tumult in Libya:
Libya's state-owned TV made no mention of the anti-government protests in the east of the country on 16 February, and continued with its usual programming on 17 February ... During its morning bulletin Libyan TV continuously showed demonstrations in support of leader Col Muammar Gaddafi, which the TV said had been held "across Libya". There were about 200 to 300 demonstrators, the vast majority of whom were men, at each protest shown. At one point a crowd could be heard chanting anti-Al-Jazeera TV slogans... The TV aired live coverage of a speech by Gaddafi the evening before, in which he denounced both the United States and their "Zionist" allies in front of a cheering crowd.
We're not political analysts here. If it were not for the disgraceful embrace of terrorism by Libya and its dictator -- no, let's give him his proper and formal title: Leader and Guide of the Revolution Muammar al-Gaddafi -- we would pay much less attention to events  happening there. Though it had a Jewish community for nearly two thousand years, the last surviving Libyan Jew left there in 2003.

But as massive change sweeps over the repressive Islamic regimes of the Arab world, you cannot help but notice how some themes keep repeating themselves.

These dictatorships and monarchies routinely use the rhetoric of democracy but absolutely don't mean it. They pretend to applaud the achievements of people power in Egypt. But at the same time they suppress their own citizens ruthlessly (14 Libyans killed in today's clashes so far), and they foolishly censor reporting of what the world's news media, television, Facebook and Twitter have already turned over to the public domain.

And not to forget that, as they keep reminding their people and us, they're all "victims" of "Zionism".

Friday Update: The BBC quotes human rights activists in Libya today saying 24 people, and possibly more, have been killed in anti-government protests in recent days, with many others wounded in clashes between dictator Gadaffi's security forces and protesters. Thousands demonstrated on the streets of Benghazi last night; the city now has a heavy military presence.

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