Be Happy, Feel Beautiful
Perhaps before recent headlines, the North African country of Libya never even crossed your mind. And, no, it’s not exactly what you would see in a scene of The Lion King. Libya is actually covered mostly by desert, but belles, as much as we’d like to think that this desert is like the scenes of Sex and the City 2, the idea of looking cute on a camel ride is last on a list of worries for Libyan belles. There is currently a civil war and revolution occurring in this nation that has been all too overlooked. For us belles in other corners of the world to easily obtain the straight facts and essence of the current lives of the Libyan belles, here’s the Libyan Lowdown.
Muammar Gaddafi: He’s the all too powerful guy who has been leading Libya since September 1, 1969 (that’s 42 years of the same man in power!). And it’s not like this “mad dog of the Middle East,” as Ronald Reagan referred to him, was brought to power through popular demand- he forcefully took power by means of a military coup.
Atrocities: He claims under his power Libya was a democracy. But he forgets to acknowledge the extreme neglect for human rights under his administration. He removed the freedoms of expression, assembly, and association and enforced it by publicly broadcasting the executions of the disobedient. He told girls how to act by creating ‘moral codes’ and would send them to ‘social rehabilitation’ for straying from these laws. He even legalized discrimination of the Amazigh minority of Libya by banning their language from official documents and schools. Well, from his resume, it’s quite clear that this “democracy” he speaks of was a hallucination in the heat of the Libyan sun.
Protests: In the second week of January, Libyans took the streets to protest the delays of housing units being built and of government corruption at large. The government reacted with a large investment in housing and development. However, by the end of the month, with the revolutions in nearby Egypt and Tunisia, the Libyan people, more inspired and courageous than ever, began to protest and demand the rights that they have been denied for far too long. In the city of Banghazi on February 15th, a violent confrontation between protestors and police occurred in which many were injured. Two days later, however, an even larger protest was to transpire, a day of rage. The police reacted by releasing live ammunition into the crowds as protestors set ablaze government buildings, hoping that the endured years of oppression would be buried with the architectural ruins.
Response: “Those who do not love me do not deserve to live,” is a statement that Gaddafi has made in response to the outbreak of the civil war. Gaddafi employed men to drive around with weapons and attack those who show signs of opposition to his regime. On March 19 a multi-country military intervention arrived in Libya to carry out the resolution of the United Nations Security Council. In the last two weeks of August, rebels have gained momentum and are seeking to regain control of their homeland with a provisional government established in parts of the nation. The fighting, however, continues and the rebels face challenging circumstances in their efforts to achieve peace and sovereignty for their beloved homeland.
Tell Me More:
More on Gaddafi, a timeline with article clippings and photos: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/02/24/world/middleeast/20110224_qaddafi_timeline.html
To follow the rebels, here’s an interactive map of their successes: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/02/25/world/middleeast/map-of-how-the-protests-unfolded-in-libya.html
Human Rights in Libya: http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/libya