David Cameron of the UK has stepped up to the plate. He has essentially retracted the UK’s foreign policy in the middle east for the last 60+ yrs – that of supporting dictators and autocrats at the expense of the people. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/feb/22/david-cameron-uk-muslims-democracy)
A couple of days ago Britain revoked arms licenses to Bahrain and Libya. Hopefully they revoke arms licenses to all other dictatorships in the region. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/17/us-britain-bahrain-arms-idUSTRE71G5ZL20110217)
Why isn’t the US doing more? Why haven’t we revoked arms licenses, or frozen the assets of Gaddafi or Mubarak or the Khalifa’s or Saleh or any of the other dictators in the region – or the world for that matter.
The protesters in Tunisia and Egypt have inspired the world – they’ve inspired a generation of young people who were formerly written off as the ‘lost generation’. The least we can do is to support them. The least we can do is stop selling their governments weapons with which to oppress them.
One of the most ironic bits of news heard in recent days is that the largest arms dealers in the world are holding a trade show in the Middle East right now in Abu Dhabi, UAE. While the very weapons on display are being shot at protesters in Libya, Iran, Bahrain, Yemen and elsewhere. And yet we do nothing. (http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=317)
The United States of America is not hated throughout the middle east because we (Americans) “are free”. We hare hated throughout the region because we have, for decades kept *them* from being free. Because for decades our policies have held “stability” above all other priorities. Because we have chosen to support dictators rather than to support the people.
Even now, the silence from the USA is deafening. While the voices of thousands wring out on Twitter and Facebook from Libya and Yemen and Bahrain, begging for our support, we do nothing. The president can’t even be bothered to give a speech condemning it. To be sure, Hillary Clinton has done so. But not the president.
And we don’t dare piss off the military industrial complex in the USA who develop and manufacture many if not most of the weapons being used against protesters. We don’t dare revoke arms licenses. We don’t dare cut funding to these regimes.
And still we wonder, ‘Why do they hate us?’ ‘Do they hate us because we are free?’ No. No they do not. They admire much about our country – not the least of which is our freedoms – of speech, of assembly, to protest and to speak out as I am doing now.
So, I am calling on everyone now, to do what they can – congressmen, congresswomen, senators, the president, judges, governors and ordinary people like me and you. Lets do something whatever that is, to support these people. Its the least we can do. So do something. Do something real. Call your representatives, call the media. Lets demand change. If they are brave enough to stand up and die for freedom, the least we can do is demand that our governments support them.
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