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Gaddafi has no official government function, and prefers to be called “Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution” (Elgood, 2011). Furthermore, he has unflinchingly ordered the violent repression of dissident citizens, prompting the UN General Assembly to pass a resolution allowing member states to intervene on behalf of the Libyan people. In this paper I shall examine the decision Gaddafi has so far pursued but may still revise, regarding his response to his people’s clamor for democracy. I shall examine the moral dilemma, and arrive at a moral solution pursuant to the decision procedures of Utilitarianism and Kantianism. However, I shall first relate the background of Gaddafi, the type of leader he is, his decisions and actions, so that these may be made the basis for discerning his motivations. Factual details In 1969, 27-year-old Col. Muammar Gaddafi successfully led a bloodless coup against King Idris to take over the reins of power in oil-rich Libya. Gaddafi was born to nomadic parents, the son of a Bedouin herdsman, and dropped out of college to join the army; despite his humble beginnings, he had been able to maintain absolute dictatorship over his country for the past four decades (Al Jazeera, 2011; Elgood of Reuters, 2011). Gaddafi’s rule was and continues to be oppressive towards the Libyan people, having imprisoned countless dissidents and putting thousands to death, as reported by Human Rights Watch. During the 1970s, he publicly hung student demonstrators who marched and demonstrated for the restoration of their human rights. In another incident, Gaddafi ordered the execution of 1,200 unarmed prisoners in the span of three hours (Al Jazeera, 2011). The media remains under tight government control, as does all large businesses. Gaddafi has been openly anti-US and anti-Israel, and he is strongly associated with terrorism due to his role in the 1988 bombing of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland which was perpetrated by Libyan intelligence agents. However, in 2003, in a seeming act of reconciliation he accepted responsibility for this act and indemnified the families of those who died, although his admission remained guarded. He also relinquished his complete inventory of weapons of mass destruction (MacLeod & Radwan of Time, 2005). Due to these acts, Libya assumed normalized relations with the West, allowing the oil industry to flourish and the economy to grow. In 2009, however, Gaddafi spoke at the UN General Assembly, at which he tore a copy of the UN Charter in protest, accused the United Nations and the US of being a terrorist group like the Al Qaeda, and demanded $7.7 trillion in compensation from past colonial rulers. Nor was his contempt directed solely at the US. In a two-day visit to Italy in 2010 to strengthen Rome-Italy ties, Gaddafi unabashedly invited thousands of women to convert to Islam as he was accompanied by a dozen female bodyguards (Al Jazeera, 2011; Elgood, 2011). In the recent spate of civil unrest that has spread throughout the Arab states, Gaddafi showed he has not changed his militaristic dictatorship. Human rights protesters have been gunned down in the hundreds within the span of a few days, and even those attending funerals were not spared the carnage (Elgood, 2011). Libya has never held free elections under Gaddafi, and his sentiments on the matter became clear during a Time interview in 2005: “Elections? What for? We have surpassed that stage you are presently in. All the people are in ...Show more
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Moral Problem Introduction First in Tunisia and then in Egypt, peaceful popular uprisings have unseated long-time dictators and established more democratic regimes. Encouraged by these successes, the people of Libya have made their own bid to claim their right to a free and democratic state…
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