This is the situation as we now know it in Africa and the Middle East. All of the below countries are clearly in a state of social unrest with some situations more serious and violent then others. Its interesting that these uprisings in different countries are occurring at the same time, as well as the fact that all these countries are next to each other geographically, creating a global protest zone that spreads from Morocco on the Atlantic coast of Africa to Iran in the heart of the Middle East.
Obviously, we are apprehensive, nervous even, about the extreme possibilities that could occur in one or all of these countries. Threats of civil war breakouts could spread into regional conflicts across the map, creating a far from ideal situation that could call for the UN Security Council to take measures to moderate the violent protests and the possible spread of war.
Public protests in Egypt, acts of violence in Libya, threats of uprising in Yemen, and even small attempts to derail dictatorship in North Korea. This is just a little taste of the restless global situation and the shuffling of power, in all of the above cases, power of a tyrannical nature. Cars are blazing in fire, civilians are shouldering missile launchers, and in many cases, people are not safe in their own homes and subsequently, are fleeing the country.
However, these acts are not just for show. Millions of people are being oppressed to such a degree that they would rather risk their lives protesting their unjust government in the streets than suffer another day without the freedom they see available to so many other people in the so called 1st world modern countries in Europe and in the United States.
For the average American, to sit back and watch other countries in this state is
interesting because we are so far removed from any such dire situation in our own country. It’s like trying to see through a pair of new eyes. This is not to say that America is not facing its own crisis (an economical one), but we are saying that the extreme situations these countries find themselves in are INCOMPREHENSIBLE to us. I honestly can’t even imagine. I see the footage on T.V., read the news reports, listen to the rebels talk of freedom, but I could never, ever imagine walking out my door to find cars on fire in the street or civilians clumsily shooting missiles at overhead aircraft. This, I pray, will never happen in America. We’ve already had our revolution and apparently its time for these countries to have theirs.
The underlying questions that these protests bring to light, besides what it means for the future of the region politically, is to consider what should other countries (particularly America) do now that globalization has brought us all together on a deeper, more humanistic level? True, not every country is there yet or may ever be there, but a great deal of countries in the world are standing up for the rights of its people and upholding these ideologies within government. We should DESIRE countries to seek political freedom and human equality across the board. But how far should we follow that desire? Enough to personally get involved?
If these revolutions continue unabated, Are we to sit back as a good chunk of the world enters yet another world war? This thought alone strike fear into the hearts of people across the globe, and America is directly involved because we are still the superpower. Honestly, I would rather just read the warped war stories in history books then watch one of these play out in my OWN life. Weirdly enough, it leads me to get caught up in a hypothetical whirlwind of the future, when my grandchildren may one day question me when they learn about the War on Terror and this possible world war (if it occurs), much like I questioned my grandparents about the wars they lived through, particularly World War II.
More importantly, this is a serious issue we should be discussing because it makes us ponder two deep ideas of humanity:
Is it better to let countries be independent and make their own unaided decisions about revolution, much like we did with ours 300 years ago? (establishing and valuing EQUALITY and RESPECT above all else)
Or is it better to value the survival of every human life and take it upon ourselves to protect those less fortunate and step in and get involved to take down the dictatorship? (establishing and valuing FREEDOM above all else)
The first argument, letting all countries go about their own private business seems like the logical choice to me seeing how the United States, speaking from our homeland perspective, is already on the verge of a federal government shut down resulting from arguments of what to do with our national budget crisis and “there has been a dramatic increase in hunger in the United States in the last three years, 2008, 2009 and 2010.”.
The fact is, we need to turn our attention back to our own people and admit that we cannot be the super power we once were perceived to be until we fix our own domestic problems in terms of health care, the economy, education systems, homelessness etc. What does this mean for the situation with the Middle East protests? Yes, there is concern for our gas prices and it does cut down on our sass game when we can’t even afford gas to fill up our stolen aka borrowed cars, but is it really necessary to stick our head into yet another conflict and tarnish our global image even more?
Then again, lives are at stake.
People are being murdered.
And when I see a Middle Eastern child being blown up into a million pieces, I realize that it could be me. It could be my child, my friend, my family.
At this point, you realize that all the things that divide us and separate us as people, like race, ethnicity, political ideologies, religious views, don’t matter anymore, because what if the enemy were me?
And I were the enemy?
We are in this together.
Which sucks, but does that constitute us sending our OWN people into the situation and threaten their lives as well?
Meaning we would intervene in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, etc.. based on a humans rights ideal. This again brings up a lot of questions, like: why are we selecting to focus on this crisis and not the continuous drama and violence in Central Africa? I believe this has a lot to do with economic assets such as oil. Are we going to choose once again to try and spread democracy to other regions of the world, or do we learn a lesson from past mistakes and realize that not intervening is the better choice?
As the protests continue, the United States will have to make hard choices. That is why its important to start talking about it NOW. With “opposition forces [calling] on the international community…to enforce a no fly zone over the country.” Libya is now asking for our intervention and help. So how do we answer their call? What are we even capable of providing as a form of support to these people fighting so intensely for change and freedom in their lives? Yes, we can supply guns, troops and more weapon power, but we must also consider what happened the last time we supplied weapons to specific countries (like the Iran-Contra Affair).
Unfortunately, we don’t have any clear cut answers. We’re just contributing to the discussion, and if anything, its the most important thing we can do right now: TALK about it, DEBATE it, DISCUSS it, and truly CARE about the situation. I just hope that when I wake tomorrow morning, the news will not have reports on a world war outbreak including America’s involvement. How far will we go to establish world order and tolerance across the globe? True, it is not our JOB nor necessarily even our duty to do so, but even I can’t help but be idealistic enough to hope that one day, men will have the freedom to live their lives without oppression, no matter what country or what color. Its interesting that even when everything directs me to believe the worst, I still choose to put my faith in people and humanity.