Trying to find meaning in the mess


Some things are  just beyond my normal experience and therefore my comprehension; yesterday Harry Reid took his attention from the major issue facing the United States Senate and focused instead on the  Nevada legislature encouraging them to eliminate term-limits and ban propositional.  Senator John Ensign  was kicking off his re-election campaign yesterday; today he found time to take an anti-Reid stand – he came out in favor of prostitution in opposition to Reid.  Is that because Reid is a member of the Democrat Party and Ensign is a member of the Republican Party and they are sworn to oppose each other? Or is because one likes prostitute and the other does not?  Is this a precursor to debates  in the United States Senate?  I  cannot find a single  category of knowledge or information or way to think about this or any convenient cubbyhole in which this fits – can you?

I started this thread not so much because of the Reid – Ensign debate over prostitution, but over Libya; but I did not want to ignore anything so important as that debate.  In watching the events in the Middle East, I thought I understood some, certainly not all, but some of the issues in Egypt; I know something of the history of the country, the history of Muslim Brotherhood and something of the current economy, at least enough to follow the  events and the commentaries.   However, Libya is different – different in its history and different in the details of the events – but it is more than that – Libya is different; maybe it is because of 42 years of living inside of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s head.  At this moment, I am listening to a speech, only it is not a speach, Gaddafi is broadcasting from his cell phone, and just talking in a conversation tone as if he and I or he and the people of Libya were have a telephone conversation.  This is the second or third of his speeches I have heard – I don’t understand the Arabic, but I can follow the emotions, the changes in tone and consistency of the logic and length of time he spends on each bit of his discourse.

The translators for Al Jazeera know the Arabic,  they also know the country and the man, at least his public persona – they do understand the nuances of what is said and what it implies.  Today, Gaddafi is not raving, that is emotionally he is not out of control the way he was in his last speech; he is calm and using a great deal of logic, moving slowly through his argument, with asides to explain some of the concepts.  He is explaining how he knows the Muslim Brotherhood is not involved – usually he said they are his first suspects – he is explaining the nature of his authority and its limitations.  Gaddafi says he has analyzed the forces behind the unrest and knows who the actors are and who the leaders are; to me it is simply startling – actually more like dumbfounding.  First the demonstrators and fighters are all under 20 years, and feel free to do as they wish because they are not legally responsible.  He further knows they are under the influence of drugs, otherwise they would go home and do as their parents bid them (possibly feed to them without their knowledge through milk, coffee or some other suspect beverage.  But, the most startling conclusion is about the leader or instigator of the entire crisis; it is not related to Egypt or Tunisia, nor civil rights or the economy – it comes from the evil mind of Osma bin Laden.  Gaddafi says he has no power to change anything, to control anything and he has turned the country over to the citizens of Libya and it is their responsibility to fight the forces of bin Laden and to regain control of their drugged, wild children.  The people should arrest those behind “this mess” and take them to court – “it is out of my hands, now.”  Okay, maybe he is rambling, ranting and raving.

There is another major difference – Libya is a country of tribes; and regardless of which person comes to power or whether Gaddafi retains power, it will only be with the cooperation of the tribes and a kind of coalition – the way European political parties form coalition governments.  Even within the army, tribal loyalties can be more important than national loyalties.  It appears that it is tribal leadership that is directing the fighting in eastern Libya; they have their own organization and arms and they have some defecting members of the armed forces fighting with them.  Oh, the end of Gaddafi’s speech – that was it  he told the citizens and particularly the parents and other family members of the disobedient children to take charge of the country and the children, restore order and punish to offenders – except of course old Osma, who seems to be a bit out of the area of control of Gaddafi and the Libyan people.

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2 Responses to “Trying to find meaning in the mess”


  1. 1 Jason February 25, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    I haven’t been keeping as informed as I normally do regarding the changing situation in the Middle East, but your analysis seems well reasoned. Egypt and Tunisia I understand. It appears that Gaddafi is as divorced from what most people, regardless of background, would refer to as reality as was feared prior to the protests.

    As for Reid and Ensign, I’m fortunate that I don’t have the privilege of these two representing my interests. If they truly believe that these actions are in the interests of their constituents, I would be shocked. However, perception is reality and it is quite possible that they are convinced that they truly know best and that the their personal interests mirror the best interests of the state of Nevada.

  2. 2 Ken Adams February 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Jason – You are right about Gaddafi and today’s speech makes it more apparent. He was ranting, but it was an open air venue and he was projecting his voice, but his logic and thought process was very random. Somethings simply don’t match reality. He claimed to be part of the movement, one of the youth in the streets and together they would bring about a revolution and then he made more threats against the perpetrators. He also said that if he was not loved by the people of Libya he deserved to die – he even said if he was not loved by the Arabs he deserved to die. This would be great theater if it was not real life and worse a life and death drama. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and commenting. ken


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