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Today the U.S. is facing its fair share of crises, with effects rippling nationwide, but overseas a radical wave is spreading over the Middle East.
Following the developments overseas is important in order to stay informed, but is also significant in showing Americans the importance of gratitude.
In this country, an individual possesses many freedoms and rights. But everyday, we take for granted our extensive freedom, an attitude that ultimately disrespects countries without such liberty. Across the globe, but particularly in the Middle East, thousands are fighting and dying in struggles for just the most basic of rights.
A movement of unrest and reform is hitting country after country of the Middle East as though it’s contagious, each movement so notable that the spotlight hasn’t stayed in one place for long.
In Libya, leader Moammar Gadhafi has refused to step down despite overwhelming protests.
Unrest began in January, but has just recently taken a violent and unnerving turn. According to CNN witness reports, Libyan government forces have responded to opposition by firing at demonstrators, crowds and people in the streets.
More alarmingly, one Libyan man reported that there were men with automatic weapons stationed “at every major intersection or traffic light,” according to CNN.
Living in a place with violence literally on the streets is an unimaginable lifestyle to the average American. Our substantial freedom has ensured dependable peace, and thus public safety poses a small threat compared to the corrupted public safety in Libya.
The violence only intensifies with Gadhafi’s increasing refusal to step down. Last week, Zawiya rebels, of the Libyan city Zawiyah, fought pro-Gadhafi troops; both sides were armed with tanks, machine guns and anti-aircraft guns, according to the Huffington Post.
The only place I’ve ever seen a tank is in museums, and I’m probably not the only one; yet I stand freer than Libyan citizens, who stand determined before tanks and firearms with limited freedom.
Desperate for freedom, and perhaps even democracy, Libyan citizens have been forced into bloodshed and brutality against their own leader.
Last Monday, Libya’s ambassador to the U.S. approximated the death count at around 2,000.
Thousands of lives have been lost for hopes of freedom, many taken by actual government officials. The mere thought of our federal government turning on us in such a maniacal way constitutes as crazy talk, but for Libyan citizens it’s a deathly reality.
Citizens of Libya have run away, cowered in their homes, or died for the liberties we are so accustomed to that days or weeks go by without even our acknowledgment of the freedom we are fortunate to have.
Libya is only one of the countries wrought with unrest; others include Algeria, Sedan, Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Yemen and others.
We watch the protests on the news and discuss the rebellion, yet Americans fail to connect the fact that the individual freedoms we hold in our hands are exactly what those people are fighting for.
Protesters and civilians may not be fighting for a notion of freedom identical to ours, but surely they strive toward a similar foundation – one of “power to the people.”
In response to the overseas violence, oppression and unrest, we have a humanitarian responsibility to be grateful for the stable democracy we are privileged to have just by being born as Americans.
By no means does the U.S. have everything figured out; there’s plenty to be fixed nationwide in every sector. But our national problems still permit vast freedom and individuality, an allowance that many other countries cannot claim.
The simple expression of gratitude of our freedom honors the thousands of people elsewhere fighting for their own. Exercising our freedoms without acknowledgment is ultimately taking our freedom for granted, which is an unjust and disrespectful attitude when compared to those in perilous struggle.
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Devon Barrow at Devon.firstname.lastname@example.org.