To many, new technology means a simpler life. It means a new smart phone and a faster computer. But to some, it’s their only key to a virtual global library of free speech and public discussion: the internet. With the internet becoming more universally accessible, via laptops and smart phones, the world is consequently becoming a more open and shared place. The experiences, opinions, and feelings from people of different parts of the world are now able to be connected at unprecedented levels. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been the leading facilitators of this mass knowledge-sharing movement. While sites like Facebook may have originally been created with intentions of connecting American college students, they are now spawning global revolutions unlike any seen in decades.
As a result the Middle East is changing. Enlightenment has crept through the carefully built wall of oppression and propaganda established by a long line of dictators and totalitarians. The minds of the people are now changing. The tolerance they once had for their government is vanishing and being replaced with a burning desire for democracy and basic human liberty; human liberty denied to them for so long that many are willing to die fighting for it, if only so their children may one day experience what they never had. Middle Eastern rulers such as Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi have clung to their military power to save them from the liberty-stricken masses, but history is not on their side. With the emergence of sites like Facebook and Twitter, governments can no longer keep their masses uneducated by controlling and censoring their press. Certain Internet sites such as Wikileaks have made it their sole goal to expose international corruption. “(Our) Primary interest is in exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Sov bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East,” expressed Wikileaks executives. Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak even resorted to shutting down his nation’s Internet, but his efforts were futile.
Inevitably justice will always rise above corruption, but sometimes it needs a helping hand. As a people of a democratic nation which preaches virtues such as liberty, justice, equality, and the pursuit of happiness, we must help enable these revolutions by supporting the rebels in their fight for a better life. Irish philosopher, Edmund Burk, once famously said, “All that is necessary for triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” If we consider ourselves a good people, it is our obligation to intervene and disallow the triumph of evil in these nations around the world.
Americans should not only feel sympathy for those fighting for their freedom, but they should also feel empathy. The revolutions in the Middle East are remarkably similar to America’s fight for independence against monarchical Britain in the eighteenth century. Americans fought and died for the right to independence, liberty, and democracy, but it was not a solo effort. France played a decisive role in the American victory, and independence may not have been achieved without their aid.
Thankfully, the United Nations has collaboratively decided they will create a no-fly zone over Libya. But why stop there? Creating a no-fly zone does not establish an even playing field like several White House representatives have said. A civilian population does not have the war resources to fight a government-funded military, and Gaddafi has made it clear he will show no restraints on killing civilians if protests continue. The Libyan government has shown all warning signs that full-out genocide is a real possibility. It does not require an aircraft to slaughter masses of people, and history is a testament to that.
This is not solely an American endeavor, but an international mission of preserving liberty and fighting off genocide. President Obama and American leaders should initiate a United Nations ground force to protect the people of Libya.
America’s recent War on Terror has been questioned and scrutinized. America has been accused of having hidden incentives and finishing personal vendettas in starting the war. However, this would not be a fight over perplexing ideology, but rather a fight to help defend a people who wish for justice, liberty, and democracy. Americans should not let a previous mistake stop them from adhering to a present moral mandate.