First it was Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (Tunisia), then it was Hosni Mubarak (Egypt), now Muammar Gaddafi (Libya) is the latest leader to flee the wrath of the masses. His whereabouts are currently unknown. There is a revolution in the Middle East. A revolution caused by dissatisfaction with the status quo.
Revolution is usually associated with change. I believe that some of the things that cause a revolution include (a) corrupt leadership, (b) dissatisfaction with the current political system, (c) economic malaise and (d) timing. The next two paragraphs briefly address these four things.
Gaddafi, like his fellow dictators, craved and demanded absolute control, which he exercised during his 42 year tenure. He held it by virtue of his brutal military death squads who terrorised the people and intimidated them into submission. He helped make his family and cronies rich, consequently making the rest of his nation poor. The people’s fear of him kept him safe and secure until they finally had enough of him this year. This is because their anger and frustration became greater than their fear and this led to a change by revolution.
You usually don’t seek out change until you reach a breaking point. The worsening economic plight of the common man in Libya as a result of the global recession was a major factor. They felt empowered to protest on the streets despite the dangers of getting shot by Gaddafi’s paramilitary troops. It has to be acknowledged that the revolution in other Arab nations helped motivate, inspire and empower the people of Libya. They realised that it was time to seize their opportunity to break free from the Gaddafi’s stranglehold.
The main question now is what replaces Gaddafi’s regime? The nation has to build a democratic consensual political system, for which they have no structure in place. Also there are still pro-Gaddafi loyalists who would attempt to sabotage any attempt to build such a system. The result of the Russian Revolution was that one tyranny was simply replaced by another. I hope that this is not the case in Libya.