Opinion and fact
By Gary Wamsley
While the response to President Obama’s speech tonight will be varied and his enemies will no doubt attack him. Howerver, the response from the Libyan community is overwhelmingly in support.
Here are some example of the “tweets” on the Libyan Youth Movement twitter site.
“Americans standing by the Libya and its people set an example that will go down in history.”
“Great speech from Obama today. Clear, precise goals. Standing for basic human rights! Gaddafi will go down!”
“America has a better future in the area by supporting the Libyans; merging its interest and values that were usually conflicting.”
I think that the last comment is extremely relevant. The United States has now has the opportunity to perhaps erase some of the past hostilities that have led to our being targeted by Islamic extremists. Solving these problems could go a long way toward a more peaceful world.
Note that these Libyans are not Islamic extremists. The following comments by Bernard Henri-Levy, a French philosopher who met with the freedom fighters had this to say in an interview with the BBC:
The French philosopher, Bernard Henri-Levy, tells the BBC about the Libyan rebels: “I met the rebels in Benghazi, I met them Brega, I met them in Bayda. I spoke at length with the main figures with the Transitional National Council. Firstly, they stand for secular Islam, and not fundamental Islam. Among the 11 whom I know, and are known, no-one belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood or anything like that. Secondly, they are favourable to a sort of democracy. It will not be a Churchillian democracy overnight, of course, but it will be a step forward. This step forward, this move to democracy, in a country that has been broken by 42 years of dictatorship, will be a blessing. Thirdly, I think they represent all of Libya. Inside the council, you have members who come from tribes faithful to Gaddafi, and even the tribe of Gaddafi himself.”
If you have any doubts that the Gaddafi regime is not ruthlessly killing people, the following video should make it clear. The video was taken in Misratah, which is still under heavy, indiscriminate shelling by Gaddafi’s soldiers. The video has appeared on many sites and has been attributed to being in someone’s home. I think it more likely to be at the Children’s Hospital which was shown in other video sequences with a large hole in the wall from an artillery shell.
The image is very graphic. The children have suffered a direct hit by an artillery round.
Here is a link to the Libya 17th February site showing more of the artillery shelling in Misratah. See Here
This press release from Representative Coffman (R-CO) sums up the attitude of those who would just as soon we let Gaddafi continue to slaughter innocent children but apparently support our intrusions into Iraq and Afghanistan. Apparently Mr. Coffman conveniently forgets that it was Republican president George W. Bush who was the first to set such a precedent. Perhaps he is too young or too immature or too hypocritical to remember those events. I must assume from his remarks that Representative Coffman is a supporter of Muammar Gaddafi and his repressive regime.
Coffman Statement on President Obama’s Libya Address
(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) released the following statement today in response to President Barack Obama’s address on Libya:
“In tonight’s speech President Obama was not honest and forthright with the American people. This mission has already expanded from implementing a ‘no-fly’ zone for humanitarian purposes to attacking Gadhafi’s tanks, artillery, and ground combat support elements,” Coffman said. “The Libyan mission is all about regime change and it sets a dangerous precedent for setting the United States on a more interventionist foreign policy.”
Here are several articles from around the world on the politics of supporting the Libyan “rebels.”
From informed COMMENT
By Juan Cole
I am unabashedly cheering the liberation movement on, and glad that the UNSC-authorized intervention has saved them from being crushed. I can still remember when I was a teenager how disappointed I was that Soviet tanks were allowed to put down the Prague Spring and extirpate socialism with a human face.
By Mitchell Plitnick
Sometimes, even an indecisive stance can be wrong. When it comes to the international intervention in Libya, until recent days, I was indecisive, and I was wrong.
In the Twitter pages there is a category called “gadafficrimes,” and there are many tweets with that hash as part of the subject. Here are a couple of articles that have been referenced.
The Christian Science Monitor
By Scott Peterson
Tripoli, Libya – Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi decries Western airstrikes as a “new crusader battle” and calls upon “all Islamic armies” to assist in a momentous fight. On the eve of the air campaign one week ago, the regime issues a statement: If attacked, Libya would “expose all air and maritime traffic” in the Mediterranean Sea to counterattack.
By Evan Hill
Five brothers held in Libya’s most notorious prison describe how they hope to overthrow the regime, or die trying.
By Marc Burleigh
BENGHAZI, Libya (AFP) – Their bodies are broken — as broken as their loyalty now to their one-time leader Moamer Kadhafi, whom they say lied to push them into battle against rebellious compatriots in eastern Libya.
One of many tragedies of the campaign was the assassination of a young man who never picked up a gun, but used his camera and cell phone to inform the world of what was happening in Libya. Mohammed “Mo” Nabbous used his knowledge to set up a television station in Banghazi. He was shot by a sniper on March 18. He is remembered as a hero, risking his life to report the news.
Perhaps the best description is from part of an article in Mother Jones where Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery contrast James O’Keefe to Mo Nabbous. Here is what they say, “Now let’s contrast the O’Keefe saga with the story of another “citizen journalist” with a video camera: Mohammed “Mo” Nabbous, a 28-year-old engineer in Benghazi, Libya. In February, Mo joined the uprising against Muammar Qaddafi; but instead of taking up weapons, he grabbed his cellphone and started broadcasting. Day after day, he live-streamed everything from phone interviews to footage he’d gathered around town, becoming a key resource for many of the other journalists covering the rebellion. Watching him was a visceral experience—this smart, funny, Oxford-accented guy who looked like he hadn’t slept in two months, pointing his camera at burning power plants. Like O’Keefe’s videos, Mo’s work was “underground,” but there the similarity ends: Mo didn’t conceal what he was doing, despite the obvious risks. His reporting was uncut, unvarnished, and unfiltered by anything except his own anger and hope, and it was clear watching him work that he wanted the truth, wherever that took him.
On March 19, the day after Qaddafi had declared a cease-fire, Mo heard explosions. People said tanks were advancing on Benghazi. But Mo didn’t want to just pass that along; he went out to report. He recorded himself as he rode around on the back of a pickup—you can hear minute after minute of the thud of artillery shells, the crack of machine guns, Mo’s rapid-fire voice in English and Arabic. Then, suddenly, silence.
Mo’s widow, who is expecting their first child, released the tape a few hours later.
That’s journalism. The other stuff is hackery.”
There have been many, many memorial videos placed on You Tube. I will give you the link to one. If you want to see the others, just search for Nabbous.
As I read the tweets and the Face Book pages of the Libyan Youth Movement I am struck and heartened by the the support for the United States and what we have done. There are plenty of detractors writing on those pages, militant Arabs, Serbs, and other people who hate the West. Yet the Libyan youth come to our defense every time. This is a momentous opportunity for the United States. We have destroyed our credibility in every other spot in Africa and Asia, but if we live up to our ideals, this democracy movement in the Middle East could usher in a whole new era. Perhaps there could be peace in my lifetime.
Gary WamsleyPrint This Post