When it comes to struggles for democracy and human rights, solidarity is key, especially in today’s global culture. One of our current administration’s biggest failures in regards to the Egypt protests was a lack of verbal support. The Obama administration was slow and reserved when it came to supporting the rebels. Our anti-extremist hysteria clouded the wonderful, mostly peaceful, move towards democracy that Egypt was making with fears of The Muslim Brotherhood taking power. And now, the popular movement we failed to give our full support to has succeeded and we have found ourselves on the out.
It would be a mistake to allow this to happen again with Libya. The people are uprising against a dictator that has ruled for 41 years and, unlike in Egypt, the regime has responded with violence. As far as practical responses go, the U.S., along with all of the other countries on the UN Security Council have issued sanctions against Libya in the hopes of bringing humanitarian aid back to the country. Obama is meeting with Ban Ki Moon (the Security General for the UN) today in Washington in order to sort out a practical way to carry out the sanctions, but this isn’t enough. Not that I want to lend any credence to Bush’s policies in the middle east, but what Obama needs to focus on is winning the hearts and minds of the Libyan people, because when they win the revolution they aren’t going to remember Obama’s practical support with the UN, they’re going to remember his public silence on tv.