Somewhere between revolutions in more media-enticing oil-producing states, Sudan got lost in the shuffle. Remember Sudan? Yeah, Darfur, that Sudan.
When I was younger, the Haggadah we used at Passover had a farcical play in the back, jocularly re-enacting the story of the Exodus from Egypt. We used to perform it every year around the Seder table as our version of telling the story of Passover. There is one line from the play that has stuck with me through all these years, a line my sister and I quote to each other throughout the year, and one that seems particularly relevant as I look back at what I’ve just written:
“Woe to us, we are in trouble.”
Important internet fact #1: When the end of a URL is .il, .uk, .us, .jp, etc., that tells you the country in which that URL is registered.
“As it turns out, the “.ly” suffix is a top-level domain that’s under the control of the Libyan government, in the same way that “.uk” and “.jp” domains are controlled by the U.K. and Japan, respectively….Because the Libyan regime retains ultimate control over the domain, it can unilaterally decide which sites or services can use it. “
Somehow, until listening to NPR this morning, I hadn’t quite grasped the sheer humanitarian scale of Libya.
Independently, all things I knew about. But taken together, the scale of this is seemingly unprecedented.
Snipers, shooting civilians in the streets? Mercenaries from throughout Africa and Eastern Europe? Body clean-up cars removing dead bodies from the streets before the families can recover them? Soldiers (can we call them that if they’re guns-for-hire?) going into hospitals, removing the injured, and taking them off to god knows where?
My god. Gaddafi has gone beyond the pale. Does he think he is so special, so much more immortal, more gilded, than the deposed dictators before him? Take a lesson from Ben Ali, from Mubarak. Put up your fight, then step down.
Qaddafi, as deranged as you are, there is one thing you must realize, and that is this: you are no longer Libyan.
A quote: “On Monday, we buried 17 of our neighbors. On Tuesday, we buried 20 of our neighbors.”
As thousands of Libyans and foreign nationals try desperately to flee the country, where can they go? Italy is in crisis, Greece is bankrupt, Tunisia is clearly not an option and nor is Algeria, similarly about to blow its top.
A request from Southern EU states has been put forth, acknowledging their shortcomings in capacity for dealing with the potential refugee influx and requesting help from the entirety of the Membership. But this needs to extend beyond the EU. People – not governments – people throughout the world must demonstrate our humanity by standing in solidarity with the Libyan people and providing them refuge. If they are good governments, our governments will follow. Libya is not a crisis of Libya, or North Africa, or the Mediterranean. It is a crisis of humanity, perpetrated against humanity. And it is up to humanity to stop it.
This is the message I see emanating from the Middle East. We, the people, all humanity, have the power, and if we don’t hold on to it for dear life, it will be wrenched from our grasp.