A sleeping giant has awoken in Libya.

Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, the country’s odious 42-year dictator, has repeatedly crushed peaceful protests, including funeral marches, by firing on and ultimately killing the unarmed protesters.

The people of the country have responded in true revolutionary style by fixing their description as ‘unarmed’. In the eastern area of the country, where Gaddafi’s power was already weak, the former jamahiriya, or “state of the masses,” has turned into an actual rule by the actual masses. Eastern towns like Tobruk, Bayda, and Benghazi, the nation’s second largest city, were the first to revolt, and are the strongest holdings of the rebels.

Recently, central and western cities of strategic importance like Brega, Ras Lanuf, Misrata, and Zawiyah (only 33 miles away from the Gaddafi-held capital of Tripoli) have been claimed by opposition forces despite multiple attacks by pro-Gaddafi mercenaries. The colonel’s strongholds now consist of Tripoli and his birth town of Surt, with almost every other area still under Gaddafi’s control seeing fierce liberation attempts.

That the peace of Egypt’s revolution could not be sustained across the border is deplorable. But with his hard-line tactics and callous disregard for the lives of his own people, that is the fault of none but Gaddafi himself. This struggle in Libya, besides determining the fate of the country’s own 6.5 million, will show hard-line governments around the world whether a response of violence to peaceful protests is a viable strategy.

It seems only natural that the news media would report on the revolution for Libyan freedom, especially in America, since freedom was won here in the same manner. But inspection of articles in the media shows a rather… different approach to reporting.

Libya turmoil drives up oil prices

CRUDE oil prices raced higher at the weekend, with the New York contract closing at a fresh two-year peak as traders watched heavy fighting in Libya, particularly in the oil-important east.

New York’s light sweet crude for April delivery closed at $US104.42 a barrel, a hefty $US2.51 gain.

Libya produces about 2 per cent of the world’s crude oil.

It typically pumps about 1.6 million barrels a day, but the head of Libya’s National Oil Corporation, Shukri Ghanem, said last week that oil production had been halved.

– Sydney Morning Herald

Japanese Shares Fall as Oil Surges, Libyan Conflict Escalates

March 7 (Bloomberg) — Japanese stocks fell as oil prices surged amid escalating conflict in Libya, deepening concern that higher fuel costs will weigh on an economic recovery.

– San Francisco Chronicle

And everyone’s favorite reporting source, FOX News, had this to say:

Oil Rises on Libya Clashes, Mideast Unrest

Brent oil prices pushed back above $116 a barrel and U.S. oil hit its highest since September 2008 on Friday, as fighting in Libya intensified and threatened the country’s oil sector.

Investors feared extended supply disruptions as rebels fought Libyan security forces in Ras Lanuf, a major oil terminal, and as fighting broke out in Bahrain and Yemen and top-exporter Saudi Arabia, where Saudi Shi’ites staged protests on Thursday.

Even in news reports about Libya refreshingly unrelated to oil, at least a mention is slipped in – “Remember, this is a country that exports 2% of the world’s oil, so this could affect us! somehow.” But more deplorable than just this focus itself on a chemical commodity rather than on the actual rights of actual human beings is the pervasiveness of this entire ideology.

If the Year 2011 Revolutions were taking place in, say, Latin America, where a refugee influx could possibly have negative consequences for the United States, would we see such broad political support for freedom? Would the American public know about the entire issue? Would the major news corporations even report on it? Or would resources trump rights, the true indifference to people who are Not Like Us supersede our common human bond?

For if there were truly massive protests in Chicago or New York or Houston tomorrow, demonstrations surpassing the size of those in Madison and actually reaching the levels of Cairo or Alexandria, there would be nothing else in the news. And Americans would be outraged if Chinese headlines read “US Protests, Corn Prices Skyrocket”. But this is exactly how some conservative politicians, foreign policy analysts, and especially media institutions are seeing the Libyan fight for freedom.

I cannot speak for the people of Libya. I know what I do partly from the same news media that I have just decried. But I can assure you that the Libyan people are fighting for freedom, not oil. #


2 responses to “Corruption

  1. How sad it is when all we see are our gas prices instead of human lives at risk…
    Thanks for your research and well-written essay.

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