In the face of ongoing protests against his regime, Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has refused to leave the country despite growing violence and a steadily increasing death toll.
In a televised statement Tuesday night, Gadhafi encouraged his dwindling number of supporters to take up arms against protesters and “attack them in their lairs.” Vowing to neither back down nor leave the country, Gadhafi said, “I am a fighter, a revolutionary …I will die as a martyr at the end,” and stated unequivocally that he would fight “to [his] last drop of blood.”
In an attempt to subdue the protests, Libyan security forces have resorted to increasingly violent measures, including firing tear gas and live rounds into crowds of people. Two Libyan fighter pilots flew to Malta and requested political asylum after allegedly refusing orders to fire rockets on protesters, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Despite his refusal to yield, the embattled Gadhafi would be wise to consider similar dictators whose regimes were brought to an end as a result of public uprising.
— After three weeks of unrelenting protests starting on Jan. 25, the Egyptian people succeeded in forcing the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and bringing an end to his 30 years in power.
— Following the disputed election in 2000, Serbian protesters successfully brought an end to Communist Slobodan Milosevic’s decade of unending war, corruption, and bloodshed.
— In 1979, the people of the Central African Republic overthrew the nearly 14-year reign of Jean-Bedel Bokassa, who stood trial for the torture and murder of thousands of men, women, and children.
Libya’s scene of riots and tear gas is reminiscent of the night when Serbian protesters pushed past the few remaining militia and took a bulldozer to police roadblocks to force Milosevic into hiding. Gadhafi’s insistence that he will not leave or surrender power echoes the recent statements of Hosni Mubarak merely a week before the Egyptian citizens secured his resignation. And Jean-Bedel Bokassa, who like Gadhafi came to power through a coup, disregarded the will and the welfare of his people until the end – much as Gadhafi seems to be.
The message is clear, and Gadhafi would do well to consider it. When the majority of a nation’s population begins to revolt against a leader or regime, history suggests it is a matter of when, not whether, the overthrow will take place. Despite his protests, Gadhafi is rapidly loosing support and territory, and the end of his rule seems eminently likely.
“Gadhafi’s vow: Will fight to ‘last drop of blood'” FoxNews.com
Bob Drogin and Jeffrey Fleishman “Libya’s regime launches military assault in Tripoli” latimes.com
CNN Wire Staff “Interior minister resigns rather than carry out Gadhafi orders” CNN.com
“Ex-President Jean-Bedel Bokassa rehabilitated by CAR” bbc.co.uk
Julius Strauss “Milosevic the Balkans Butcher overthrown by his own people” telegraph.co.uk