The world is going mental; and certainly not for the first time. Last year it sat there in its chair with a wry smile on its face, like a boy given a catapult for Christmas, as it considered what it supposed to be a very clever joke. It reached down, giggling softly, found the cork embedded in itself, pulled it out with a loud pop, and began laughing hysterically as it started spewing its insides into the ocean. For a long time it laughed like this, tears streaming down its face, cheeks red to the point of explosion, heart pumping like it was running a triathalon until its eyes were bloodshot and straining from their sockets, its laughs turned to wheezes and coughs and everybody else in the room looked upon it with worry and concern. Finally, regretfully, it could laugh no longer. It leant over with visible strain, picked up the cork and plugged it back in. Who needs friends when you can amuse yourself this much? It thought, and it drifted off to sleep with a pained yet contented smile on its face.
For a long time the world was quiet. It slept there in its chair and did nothing. For six whole months it did nothing, and the people that lived on the world started to get bored. They say that an idle mind is the Devil’s playground but suprisingly, the minds of these people thought only of good; of freedom; revolution; democracy. In December 2010, Tunisia decided it’d had enough of its dictatorship and started going mental at its leader of 24 years, Ben Ali, who promptly stepped down. The Egyptians saw this, thought yeah we’ll have a bit of that, and then went mental at their own leader, Hosni Mubarak who also promptly stepped down.
It was a beautiful time. The rest of the people that lived on the world were happy for them, and things that they took for granted – the right to vote, freedom of speech, uncensored media – were now suddenly, instantly within the grasp of millions more people. Of course, the Libyans saw all this happening and decided that they too would like a bit of democracy thank you very much, but their leader saw things differently. When the Libyans began to stage peaceful protests against Muammar Gaddafi, their dictator of 42 years, he ordered the removal of all foreign media and opened fire on his own people. Hundreds of peaceful protestors were mown down by machine guns and heavy artillery, while the rest of the world listened and watched in horror as videos and stories of these atrocities slowly leaked their way out of the country.
After this there was a lot of talk. David Cameron was the first person to say that he would not hesitate to use military resources. Many people in Britain groaned, murmuring “Tony Blair” and “Iraq” under their breath. High-ranking politicians in the U.S. government made pointed remarks about there being a lot of “loose talk” around the use of military force, and people continued to cite Iraq and Afghanistan as direct comparisons, saying how we should have learnt from them, and how we shouldn’t get involved in other peoples’ wars blah blah blah, etc.
What a lot of nonsense. The situation in Libya is incomparable to that of Iraq or Afghanistan. Here we have a country that has been ruled by a murderous regime for 42 years, and which has no weapons of mass destruction (thanks to bad, nasty Tony Blair who demanded their disarmament in exchange for a removal of UN sanctions in place at the time). Here the similarities with Iraq end. Iraq was an illegal war which we started. We had no approval from the UN, we were not invited by anyone, and we shouldn’t have gone. The situation in Libya is not a war, but a revolution started by the people. Where peaceful protests against dictatorship should have been enough they were instead turned into a massacre by a madman intent on holding onto power.
The Libyan people and the Arab League have requested Western air support, and it has taken a week for it to finally be sanctioned by the UN after having to be forcibly pushed down their throats by Britain and France. A lot of innocent people have surely been killed in that time but we’ll ignore that; this is a step in the right direction.
Right now I’m going to draw a deep breath, fight through the pain and say “well done David Cameron.” He set the stage for a world fraught with indecision, and had he dillydallied like everyone else we might well be looking at genocide, and many more years of oppression for the Libyan people who would undoubtedly be punished for their “insolence”. At least now there’s hope, and maybe soon they’ll get the democracy we’ve been taking for granted for so many years.