Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Arab Spring Protests Are Ongoing—Protests Started With One Act

There have been large protests in Yemen in recent days and renewed protests in Morocco as the so-called Arab Spring continues.

(Above–Protests in Syria earlier in 2011. Photo by Syriana2011.)

These events take place as the very brave protesters in Syria keep up the presssure despite Tiananmen Square style brutality from the Assad government and as a new government takes over in Libya. 

Longstanding repressive governments have previously been toppled in 2011 in Tunisia and Egypt. 

One of the best sources to learn about these uprisings and revolutions is Global Voices.

Global Voices offers reports from bloggers and non-governmental social media users from all around the world.

Here is a Global Voices report about bloggers running for the Tunisian parliament.  Two of the 7 candidates profiled are women.

There is no way to be certain if the changes in the Arab world will lead to expanded freedoms or to new forms of repression. It may take years for any accurate appraisal to be given.

Yet the alternative to Arab citizens finding out for themselves what they will do with newfound liberties would have been more long years of dictatorship.

How could that be acceptable to any freedom-loving person?

It should also be recalled that while there are many underlying causes to the Arab uprisings, it is also so that all this started with one act by someone who had not before been widely known.

On December 10, 2010, a college educated 26 year old Tunisian named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire.

Like many Tunisians, Mr. Bouazizi had not been able to find steady work despite an education. Mr. Bouazizi had a number of rough encounters with local authorities in his town of Sidi Bouzid as he tried to peddle goods on the street.

Mr. Bouazizi reached a breaking point and set himself on fire with gasoline. This attracted attention all over Tunisia and led to the toppling of the Tunsian government.

From Tunisia these protests have spread to much of the Arab world.

Please don’t set yourself on fire—But who can know when or where the next act of defiance or despair will set in motion great change.

Hope and change that is more than a campaign slogan is always possible.

Yet just as we are seeing in the Middle East, it is up to everyday people to force change with brave and strong words and brave and strong deeds.

Below–Mohamed Bouaziz

September 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Instead Of Reading This Blog, Go And Read About Events In Libya—The Work Of Freedom Is Up To Each Of Us

Instead of reading this blog, go and read about events in Libya.

After many years of brutal dictatorship, it seems hopeful that Muammar el-Qaddafi (Above) is on the way out.

Though, as I write this post, the battle is not yet over.

Here is live blogging of events in Libya from the BBC.

The excellent Global Voices has reports from Libyan bloggers and a live Twitter feed from Libya.

Global Voices has reports from people all over the world who are working for freedom from repression.

Here is a history and some demographic facts about Libya from the BBC. 

Here are links to a number of articles about North African politics from The Economist.

Events in Tunisia, Syria, Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan and Libya have led the global news for months now.

It is up to each of us to learn about the world.

It is an open question if the events in this part of the world will lead to freedom, or only to dictatorships or repression of a different kind.

Given the brave sacrifices made by so many in Libya, Syria, and other places in recent weeks, the least we can do is understand what is taking place.

An additional form of respect for the courage we have seen in North Africa, would be for each of us to take part in politics here in the United States, or wherever it is you are as you read this blog.

As we have seen globally in 2011, the work of freedom is up to each of us.

August 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

How Do We Have Money To Attack Libya?—We Can Always Ask More Of Ourselves As Citizens

How is it that we have the money to attack Libya?

Each Tomahawk missile we have launched on Libya cost $569,000 in 1999 dollars.

Then there are all the costs of fuel and manpower and whatever else involved.

As of 3:37 PM EST, Sunday, March 20 , the U.S and Britain had launched a total of 124 Tomahawks in Libya.

Britain has a big austerity program going on.—Still, the U.K. also found the resources for war.

How much will this all cost American taxpayers?

I don’t know.

But given that the President has said we must cut even programs that help the poor, whatever the Libya mission costs would seem to be more than we have.

Or at least more than we told we have by both major political parties.

Maybe the alleged budget crisis we are so often told exists is in fact something of a fraud.

Here is the United States Navy website for the Tomahawk Missile.

The full term is Tomahawk Land Attack Missile. The Tomahawk name is trademarked.

(Above–A Tomahawk missile product.)

Just because your tax dollars bought the things, does not mean you can call the missile you build in your garage a Tomahawk.

I support the Libya mission. I think we need to act to prevent a massacre of Libyan dissidents and rebels by Colonel Gaddafi.

Hopefully, I’d see the question the  same way if a Republican President had ordered the attack.

It should be noted though, that President Obama does not see the authority of a President to order combat without the approval of Congress in quite the same way candidate Obama saw the question.

How do Republicans feel about the Libya mission?

It is hard to view Republicans as credible on this question.

In the years since 9/11, Democrats and liberals have often been attacked for being soft of terrorism and for not supporting our troops.

This despite the fact that draft-dodger George W. Bush and draft-dodger Dick Cheney did not provide proper body armour to protect our troops fighting in our wars.

From the New York Times of January 7,2006

“A secret Pentagon study has found that as many as 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to the upper body could have survived if they had had extra body armor. Such armor has been available since 2003, but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials.”

Here is a useful website to see which Republicans have avoided service and how Republicans and Democrats are rated on issues impacting veterans.

I recall how back in 2002 Democratic Senator Max Cleland of Georgia, a triple amputee from combat in Vietnam, lost his seat after being attacked by his Republican opponent as weak on national security. Television ads were run in that campaign picturing Mr. Cleland with Osama and Saddam.

In regards to Libya, I imagine Republicans believe we should support a sitting President at a time of conflict. I’m sure they feel that to believe otherwise would be to put our troops at risk.

Right? Did I get the standard Republican line correct here? Or does it only apply when we have a Republican President?

I’m concerned the allied troops fighting for a better future in Libya. I’m concerned for people in Libya. I hope rebel forces in Libya have democratic aspirations.

It seems sometimes the best you can hope for on these type issues is that you get at least some measure of truth from people in power.

It does not have to be this way. People do not need to be helpless.

Our leaders from both parties know that often what we appear to want most is to avoid military service, avoid taxes, get cheap gas, and to blame Muslims for our problems.

We always have the ability to expect more of ourselves.

If we asked more from ourselves, we would get more from our leaders.

( Below–Senator Cleland in Crawford, Texas in 2004. Mr. Cleland was attempting to deliver a letter to George W. Bush asking that attack ads on John Kerry’s Vietnam service be stopped.)

March 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments