"Who are you?" the late Muammar Gaddafi once rhetorically asked in a famous speech of his towards the end of his reign; (rightly) questioning the legitimacy of those seeking to overthrow his government at the time, calling them extremists, foreign agents, rats and drug-addicts.What he may not have known is that they (euphemistically identified as "rebels" by Western corporate media) were another Empire sponsored terrorist army organized to overthrow his government. This was a tried and true US strategy first successfully employed in Nicaragua using the "Contras" and then in Afghanistan using the Mujaheddin, which were the antecedent of al Qaeda and now ISIS, to overthrow the pro-Soviet government of Afghanistan in the 1980s.
He was laughed at, unfairly caricatured, ridiculed and incessantly demonized; a distasteful parody video poking fun at the late Libyan leader even went viral on social media; evidently the maker of the video, an Israeli, thought the Libyan colloquial Arabic word Zenga (which means an alleyway) sounded funny enough that he extracted it from one of Gaddafi’s speeches, looped it on top of a hip-hop backing track and voila …, he got himself a hit video that was widely (and shamefully) circulated with a "revolutionary" zeal in the Arab world. We shared, we laughed, he died.
But the bloody joke is on all of us; Gaddafi knew what he was talking about.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up