Another One Gone

Yet another African dictator has been toppled. In this case, Blaise Compaore, 27 year long dictator of Burkina Faso, has gone down in a series of events that have been favorably compared to the Arab Spring.

From what I can tell, it looks like this bastard took power in the 1980s, following a coup, and was anti-Communist, so I’m sure we propped him up while he did miserable and unpleasant things to his people, because standing up for freedom is something we do only when convenient. He also kept company with Charles Taylor and Qaddafi, so…yeah. Hell, as recently as two months ago, this is what he was doing.


Hopefully Burkina Faso can move forward and have a better existence. It would be nice to have another African success story, as there are way too few currently.


Have Some “Africa” Today!

That’s nothing that a hundred men on Mars could ever do!

Events in Libya

I’ll return to talking about Gallifrey later today, but I cannot let events in Libya go unnoticed.

Basically, the regime there is doomed, they know it and they aren’t going quietly. The other day Qadaffi’s son was on state media threatening every one, and now reports are coming from Al Jazeera that military pilots have defected to nearby Malta rather than follow orders to attack civilian protesters. Jesus, what a mess.

I take some solace in the fact that this is, perhaps, the last set of acts of a desperate man. It didn’t need to be this way. The uprising in Tunisia was largely peaceful, and even in Egypt it wasn’t this horrible. I hope beyond hope that this simply angers the people of that region further and that the protests, now happening in places like Algeria, Morocco, Bahrain, Iran and Jordan, continue until all the people there enjoy democracy.

And to oppressed peoples around the world, please remember: your countries belong to you, not to the evil people who claim to rule in your name. If they won’t give you the rights you’re entitled to, go take them.

So What’s Next?

Bye-bye, ya bastard.

Professional bastard, all-around jerk and the man who puts the “dick” in “dictator”, Hosni Mubarak, has resigned. At last.

What’s next for Egypt? The military is currently in charge. I sincerely hope that won’t last, and I don’t think it will. They don’t strike me as being stupid enough to try and maintain power. If they have free, democratic, internationally-monitored elections soon, that will be wonderful.

What’s next beyond that? In the short term I expect more hand-wringing on the part of the Right in America, paranoid that Muslim terrorists will be elected to office. That is possible, but I think it’s unlikely. I also think that in the short term we’ll see a hell of a lot more “revolutions” in the region. Watch for Yemen, Algeria, Libya and possibly Iran to have major problems in the next few months. In my wildest and wettest Saudi Arabia also has massive protests and their evil regime collapses.

In the long term, I think we’ll see a real move towards democracy in the region. This is a part of the world with a young population that’s starting to realize what a major screw-job their leaders are giving them. I imagine that from Iran to Morocco we’ll see a real shift in power from the dictators to the masses. It won’t always be pretty and it won’t always give us a result that we in America want, but it’s going to happen.

A couple other thoughts on the broader issues here. We need to stop propping up evil, repressive regimes simply to make ourselves feel safe. It is entirely unethical and certainly goes against American principles. We cannot continue to allow millions upon millions of people to live in terror simply to provide ourselves with an illusion of security. Even if it were giving us actual security to have the vast majority of the Middle East run as a police state, that’s still not good enough. We have to help them as much as we can to have the same rights and freedoms we enjoy. If along the way that makes our short-term security situation far more interesting, well, such is life.

And lastly, I was listing to someone on CNN talking last night about torture being used by the Mubarak regime, and it saddened me on a couple levels. Obviously, it’s quite sad and horrific that people were being tortured in Egypt. But it’s also very sad that we haven’t a leg to stand on with this issue. Thanks to Bush and Cheney we became a nation that used torture. We claim we did it for the “right” reasons and that the people who were being tortured essentially had it coming. I’m sure that’s what the Egyptian police said, too. But we can’t condemn it anymore. No one will listen. They’ll just point out the fact that we did it, too. It’s a great shame for this nation and one of many reasons we need to put Bush and Cheney on trial.

I wish the Egyptian people great success in the upcoming weeks! Keep an eye on your military and don’t let them have a hand in running the country once things are stable. One of the best, smartest things George Washington did was to resign from the military when becoming president. Don’t let your new leadership replace one dictator for another.

Right Now, Egypt. Next Up, Yemen!

We’ve all seen what happened when Tunisians took the streets and took their country back from the authoritarian regime that was controlling it. Now the same appears to be close to happening in Egypt where CNN is running non-stop coverage of events unfolding there. With any luck, by the end of the week Hosni Mubarak will be gone and a democratic government will be taking control. Also over the last couple days there’s been protests in Yemen. This is wonderful news, since that’s a state that harbors a lot of terrorists and its reform would be a great blessing to the world.

Now there’s been people here in the USA complaining that we shouldn’t be supporting these movements in case the new democratic governments wind up putting Islamic extremists in charge. Well, bollocks to that. First, it’s not likely that will happen. Second, if it does, well, democracy isn’t always pretty and doesn’t always give us what we want. We have to accept that as a possibility. It’s more important that the people of these nations (and Algeria, Libya, Syria, etc), get the same sorts of rights we enjoy than it is that they exercise those rights in a way that will make us happy.

Good luck to those in Egypt and Yemen! May you guys get the governments you deserve instead of the ones you have.

As Ever, it Must Suck to Live in Uganda

I’ve written before about an anti-gay bill in Uganda that would call for the murder of anyone who is gay. It’s a charming little notion, and I see, at least some people in Uganda have decided to get a head-start on it. A gay rights activist was recently beaten to death. This same activist’s picture was published by a Ugandan magazine a while back. It was there with several other activist photos and the caption “Hang them”. Charming.

Ugandans, I want you to listen up. Yous a barbaric, backward nation that won’t advance forward anytime soon unless you cast aside this evil, stupid nonsense. You can and should be doing way better than this.

As for anyone who is gay and living in Uganda, if you have the means, get the hell out! Get to South Africa if you can. There gays enjoy probably the best lifestyle in Africa and gay marriage is legal (thus making South Africa more progressive on civil rights than most of the world, including America). If you can’t escape, then please be careful. Even one death is too many.

!حظا سعيدا، تونس

Things are getting interesting and unpleasant in Tunisia where protesters have been trying to get the same sort of democracy and freedom that much of the rest of the civilized world enjoys. Some progress seems to be happening, as the President has resigned, but there’s also been reports of a lot of arrests and shootings, in addition to the usual crimes perpetrated against people agitating for freedom.

I wish the people of Tunisia the best of luck. I long to visit there one day, to see the ruins of Carthage. Hopefully by the time I’m able to afford to do so, the Tunisians will have a better country. It didn’t work for Iran, but popular uprisings in places like Georgia and Ukraine resulted in quite a bit of change. I hope it’s the same with Tunisia. We shall see.