Most days I’m lucky if I can remember to change my daughter’s diaper after her nap, never mind check a newspaper or one of the nightly news programs to see what’s happening in the world. If you know something’s afoot in Libya, but you’re not sure exactly what because you’re too busy helping your kids’ with their homework to read the ticker on CNN, here’s a rundown:
- It’s actually hard to get crystal clear accounts of what’s happening in Libya because Moammar Gadhafi, the country’s longtime ruler, has barred foreign press from entering the country, and the Internet has been shut down. However, reports claim that there have been revolts against Gadhafi for almost a week. Hundreds of protestors have died already.
- Libya’s Justice Minister has resigned, along with Gadhafi’s Ambassador to the Arab League.
- Libya’s United Nation’s diplomats have broken ranks with Gadhafi, calling him “a genocidal war criminal responsible for mass shootings of demonstrators protesting against his four decades in power.” They are asking for his resignation.
- Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, is under rebel control, and there were reports earlier today of violent clashes in Tripoli. Some of the tribes who have historically backed Gadhafi are said to have turned against him.
- There are eyewitness reports that say the Libyan navy is firing at civilian areas and helicopter gunships are firing on crowds of people.
- There were also unconfirmed reports today that Gadhafi fled the country for South America, but then his son went on TV and said, “We will fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet.” However, Gadhafi’s whereabouts are still unknown.
- At issue is the freedom of the Libyan people, who are tired of 42 years of Gadhafi’s tyrannical rule.
- Gadhafi came to power in 1969 following a bloodless coup.
- Gadhafi has long been accused of crimes against humanity, including the murder, and even genocide, of his own people.
- For years he has been known as the world’s top sponsor of international terrorism.
- The U.S. determined that Libyan agents were responsible for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Schotland, in 1988 that killed 270 people.
- In 1989, Libya was accused of the bombing of a French airline over Niger, in which 170 people were killed.
- In 1999, Gadhafi attempted to cooperate with the West by handing over two of his people charged in the Lockerbie bombing, and in 2003, the country accepted responsibility for the terrorist act and paid each victim’s family $10 million.
- Gadhafi ended his secret nuclear program after Saddam Hussein lost power in 2003, and then invited the United States and England to share Libya’s oil resources.
- In 2009, Gadhafi welcomed as a hero one of the men convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.
- Gadhafi has called al Qaeda a common enemy that must be defeated.
- It is unknown at this time if the United States will assist the Libyan people in helping to bring down Gadhafi.