As the situation in the Middle East degenerates, and the democracies of the first world continue to ignore the pleas of the people trying to break free from tyrants, rendering our talk of human rights and democracy somewhat hollow, I suddenly realised that what was (or, more accurately, was not) happening was partly my fault. By keeping silent (one solitary blog post on the issue weeks too late aside), by failing to apply any kind of pressure to my government on the issue, I’ve been part of the problem, not part of the solution.
We say everyone deserves to live in a democracy because that’s the only way that governments will do what their people actually want.
Well, our governments are doing absolutely sweet frak all about the massacres in Libya and Bahrain and elsewhere. (Yes, Australia probably can’t do a lot without the aid of other countries; but we’re not even doing as much as we can.) So, the young Arabs who believed our talk, must be wondering – do we really have democracies ourselves? And if so, then isn’t our governments’ utter failure to act really an indictment not on them, but on us, the individual citizens they supposedly represent? Which is it – do we advocate for representative democracy we’ve as yet failed to achieve for ourselves; or do we have it, but just don’t really care what happens to them?
At the very least we can make sure our representatives know that we support Australia doing everything it can to support the people of Libya. I will make a point of contacting my local MP today. If you’re not comfortable sitting back and averting your gaze while Libyans are slaughtered for daring to try to break free from a tyrant, you might consider doing likewise.
UPDATE: Likewise Bahrain – seriously, click the link, it’s unbelievably serious and unlike Libya, the West really does have some direct influence there. (Maybe don’t click on this video unless you’ve a very strong stomach.)