Thursday, October 20, 2011

Moammar is No-a-more.

He's dead.

Wow, finally. After forty-two years as supreme ruler of the nation of Libya, after scores of shady undertakings and downright murder, Colonel Moammar Gadhafi has succumbed to the same violence he nonchalantly doled out since clamping down on the dictatorial reins in 1969.

I realize that my information originates from the same sources as nearly every other citizen of the free world... so what qualifies yours truly, a middle-aged white man, someone who's never set foot on the African continent, let alone wandered into Libya, to discuss the implications and provide analysis of today's events?

Imagination, I suppose.

I can only imagine, after four decades, what sheer desperation and misery must have precipitated a nation's citizenry to rise up against a ruthless regime.

What emotional place need you occupy to affirm a desire to risk your family's lives, your freedom and your possessions, to assume arms against an overwhelming and highly trained incumbent power?

Perhaps the Libyan people procured slight comfort and confidence in their despot's glaring buffoonery,  a trait demonstrated time and again among those who have fallen prior to Gadhafi.

Who can forget those images of Saddam Hussein parading around Baghdad, clutching that massively phallic cigar and firing his sidearm into the sky while being tailed by twenty or thirty mustachioed, yes-man look-alikes? It looked more like initiation night at the Baghdad Beta house than an impressive display by a defiant strongman.

Or how about North Korea's Kim Jung Il, who reportedly injects himself with the blood of virgins to remain youthful, and has actually attempted to rid North Korea's capital, Pyongyang, of short people (except for, you know, one small exception—him)? Those coveralls and platform heels he wears make him look like he fixes really tall boilers part time.

Mr. Gadhafi was certainly no newbie to the world of eccentric beliefs and outlandish behavior, either. He employed an all-female staff of body guards; lobbied to eliminate Switzerland—yes, the whole country, and let's face it—his wardrobe often resembled something Mrs. Roper from "Three's Company" might throw on for a quick trip to the Piggly Wiggly.

But can you actually fathom your city or town reaching the point of civil war? What about your neighborhood, the most welcoming area of them all?

In the bat of an eye, it's not so welcoming.

"Kids, I'm afraid you can't play with the Johnsons down the street anymore. I noticed a loyalist flag on their Prius's bumper, so you're going to have to stay away from them until this whole thing is resolved."

"How long will that be, Dad?"

"Shouldn't be too long. Probably just a week or two after total regime change, and you should be out riding bikes again with Justin and November.

"Now, if you wouldn't mind, son, if we hurry, we can stash most of these rocket propelled grenades in the back tool shed before Jersey Shore comes on. Thanks, buddy." 

Let's hope that this transition in Libya, plus other Arab Spring blooms in Yemen, Morocco, Bahrain, Syria, Tunisia and Egypt manage to see themselves through with a minimum of violence and a maximum of constructive dialogue.

I'm not optimistic, but that's what imaginations are for.

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