20 February 2011

It's the End of the World as We Know It

You'd think in a blog titled, "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité" that I would have already addressed the rash of protests that the world has witnessed in North Africa and the Middle East.  I meant to, I really did.  I even made it most of the way through a draft about the situation in Egypt a few weeks ago.  What happened?
Don't look now, but there are a lot of changes taking place.
Simply put, I found myself favoring Twitter for sharing my thoughts about this wave of revolution.  Contrary to what I once believed, 140 characters is conducive to expressing a clear, articulate thought.  I've seen many such tweets in the last several weeks.  The nice thing about Twitter is that I don't feel the compulsion to expand my thoughts, to make sure my argument in paragraph seven is still on topic, to find appropriate photos, etc.  There's no formatting to a tweet.   I simply offer a remark and that's that.  Sometimes I find responses, occasionally a question and periodically my humble observations are even re-tweeted by others, shared with people who otherwise have no idea I exist.

There's a participatory element to Twitter that I appreciate and that I think is the most appropriate venue for discussing something as important as the uprisings of 2011.  This blog--much as I appreciate having it--rarely receives feedback.  I'm not on the front lines, so it's not like I'm going to be sharing anything new here that you can't find elsewhere.  Dismissing Twitter and online social networking websites as vapid is something left to the troglodytes who neither use nor understand them.  Today's protest in Morocco was organized on Facebook.  I don't know how often I look at a news website, but I can tell you this: I only do it when a tweet or wall post on Facebook brings to my attention a subject I find interesting.  I suspect I'm not alone.

As for the nature of the protests themselves, I'm all for 'em.  I operate under no illusion that the protesters want American-style freedom.  The governments that will eventually arise from these revolutions may not be built on the model we would choose, or that we would recognize as a free democracy.  That's okay.  Self-determination is the right of all societies.  So long as the societies themselves are content with their next leaders, we must respect their choices.

Gaddafi: Dead man walking?  I hope.
On a personal note, I'm specifically rooting for the Libyans to succeed in ousting Muammar Gaddafi.  Like most Americans, I feel like there's still a score to be settled with that guy and I take great pleasure in his downfall being of his own doing by his own people rising up to say that they will no longer allow his iron-fisted will to be imposed upon them.  My thoughts and prayers are with the demonstrators and the loved ones left behind by the 200 murdered today by Gaddafi's thugs.

"I am crying.  Why is the world not listening?"

Those words were spoken by a physician at a hospital so overwhelmed by the casualties it received today that they ran out of supplies with at least 70 patients untreated.  The article I read did not provide that doctor's name--perhaps out of concern for his safety--so I cannot attribute it more specifically.  I doubt he will ever know of my little blog, or that he will ever know what I have to say but I'm going to say it anyway:

The world is listening, and we are moved by the courage of your countrymen who have taken steps to oppose a dictator who does not value life.

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