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My Nikkel's Worth

Watching international news these days can give a person the impression that this can be a really scary world sometimes.

Watching international news these days can give a person the impression that this can be a really scary world sometimes.

What's alarming is when you get multiples of really scary stuff going on at the same time; most recently, the weeks of violence and unrest in Egypt finally ended - and then it spread throughout the Middle East, including Egypt's western neighbour, Libya.

Under the iron hand of Moammar Kadhafi (or Gadhafi) for the last two or three decades, the man has shown himself to be even more of a heartless dictator than ever with his epithet-ridden speech of violence and defiance, and by closing off his country to everything and everyone, even shutting down the Internet (to an extent).

Amateur videos still manage to seep out, even from a repressive regime like Libya, and they show what a scary and dangerous place it is right now.

I couldn't but notice a historic parallel to another series of events that occurred when I was younger, namely the fall of communism and how it spread, once it got started.

This latest round of "revolutions" are similar in that they are also about demanding an end to repressive regimes and giving power to the people through democracy. It took Mubarak an awfully long time and a lot of violent protest to get him to budge, even though he kept promising there would be elections in September.

Other places, like Yemen and Jordan and Bahrain, are also now demanding a more democratic form of government than what they currently have. The levels of violence varies, but it seems worst in Libya (or at least, the perception we have of the situation seems that way) where Kadhafi is entrenched. It will seemingly take nothing short of assassination or extreme violence to remove him forcibly.

Even with all the lessons of history that show these movements are powerful, men like Kadhafi, and like Saddam before him, and despots like Idi Amin, don't seem to want to bow to the overwhelming tide of history, and they are forced to capitulate, with the result huge numbers of people die as a result.

There's a saying that if one doesn't learn from history, one is doomed to repeat it; many people think of this as a trite and empty saying, but really, history proves it true, and will prove it true again before it's all said and done.

Democracy maybe isn't perfect, but people want it precisely because it gives the average person a say in how it works; thankfully we don't have to have a bloody revolution to go vote - think about that next time we have an election and you don't "feel" like voting.