The millions who began this revolution won't be much impressed by a democracy defined only by inertia
The Observer, Sunday 13 March 2011
".....But the truth, since this Libyan phase of freedom's Middle East crisis began, is that there's no point in ruling anything out as Gaddafi's generals and their ground forces take stock. All they have to realise is that, in the end, they can't win – can't be allowed to recapture Benghazi, can't be allowed to carry on killing, can't be permitted to sell their oil or replenish their arsenals. In short, that they are doomed to lose (and see their leader carried off to face international criminal trial). Constructive ambivalence plus implacable resolve.
Instead, alas, we've only been offered the precise reverse.....
....And the Arab street, from Tunis to Cairo to Bahrain, is more than smart enough to discern the reality here. This is a regional uprising of young people seeking freedom, remember? Do you recall all the power of the tweet, as lauded only a fortnight ago?
The millions who began this revolution won't be much impressed by a democracy defined only by inertia. They won't thank the west – or China, India, Russia, the African Union – for letting this Arab spring die in a field of flowery promises. They won't buy the kind of freedom that sells them out at first test. Tripoli isn't Kabul or Baghdad. Libya – in population, terrain and tribal divisions – makes quite different solutions possible.
But the only response that matters now is a common position which brooks no more argument: not to say in divisive detail what may or may not happen just down the road, but to pledge, with the honest passion we affect to feel that, whether repulsed in time or not, this particular tyranny will not be allowed to stand. Libya is part of freedom's future: it must not be buried by a quavering past."