On Feb. 22, 2011, reports continued to surface about the political turmoil that is unfolding in Libya. The dictator of Libya, Muammar Gadaffi, took a firm stand and refused to step down from power, in spite of protests from angered citizens. Reports of Gadaffi’s guards shooting protesters, mass outcry demanding Gadaffi’s removal and Gadaffi’s outright refusal to step down have ignited fury in Libya and beyond. Some of the more serious offenses Gadaffi is facing include genocide of the Libyan people.
Perhaps the most shocking detail of this crisis is the speech Gadaffi gave before citizens. In a strange and scary address, Gadaffi promised to die a martyr, and refused to step down like other leaders have. Muammar Gadaffi is certainly not the first dictator who refused to leave office. Read on for a summary and analysis of three other world leaders who did not leave quietly.
Hosni Mubarak is the former long-term leader of Egypt who was recently ousted from his political office by angry civilians. Under Mubarak’s long reign, an Emergency Law Rule had been forced upon civilians. Under this rule, civilians can be censored, rights stripped and voices silenced. Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11, 2011, after weeks of angry protests and demands for his removal.
Jean Bertrand Aristide
Jean Bertrand Aristide is the former leader of Haiti who was forced out of office in 2004. Aristide claimed that he was forced out of office by United States forces. It was later discovered that the United States only advised Aristide that they could not protect him if he remained in Haiti. At the time, rebels and protesters were calling for his arrest for corruption and murder.
Ben Ali (Zine El Abidine Ben Ali)
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is the former leader of Tunisia. Ben Ali was forced from his political post in January 2011 due to accusations of corruption and greed. Ben Ali and his family fled the country after mass protests and rioting. The Ben Ali family is reported to be living in Saudi Arabia.
The citizens of Libya can learn much from the experiences of other countries which have endured under treacherous rulers. When basic human rights are stripped from civilians, sometimes there is no other option but to stand tall and speak up for your rights. While other leaders have appeared as stubborn as Gadaffi, they all have had their breaking point. It appears Gadaffi is running out of supporters and will only remain as long as he has their unconditional support. A people can rise above oppression and persecution if they remain steadfast and united.