The month of October saw Libyan rebels capture and execute the nation's autocratic ruler Muammar Gaddafi in brutal style. They then proceeded to bury him along with fifth son, Mutassim, at a secret location to prevent any remaining loyalists from making a shrine, thus effectively ending the dictator's oppression of his people. Although the people are celebrating now, one cannot help but wonder whether it truly is cause for celebration. There is no doubt that Colonel Gaddafi committed many wrongdoings - he practiced the divide and conquer method to maintain his authority over Libya, tortured many who opposed him and most importantly denied the people of his nation their freedom. But aside from liberty, Gaddafi took little else. Freedom is surely important, but arguably so too are housing, food and jobs. All of which Gaddafi provided his people with. One Libyan teacher from the town of Tawergha was quoted as saying "We had everything but freedom," which in fact neatly sums up the transition that Libya has now entered, and the price they had to pay for that change.
The coming months, maybe years, will be filled with trouble, tension and pain. In order to gain that freedom that Gaddafi had denied them, Libya opted for a world where tensions between neighbors and races can easily escalate and lead to all-out conflict. The lack of governance and plentiful weapons will surely mean fighting, and some Libyans may soon decide the price wasn't worth paying for what little they got out of it.
This dilemma over whether certain rights or wants are worth the price that must be paid is something that is experienced to a lesser extent in other places around the world. A good portion of the people in Korea, especially the younger demographic, apparently desire leadership from a "man (or woman) of the people," rather than some "corrupt businessman." What they seem to forget is that this corrupt businessman has done what he's good at: business. He also has yet to commit suicide to bring international, CNN-level embarrassment. He also doesn't seem intent on turning South Korea into North Korea with a head full of socialistic ideals. The truth is that Korea has survived difficult times quite well with our current president at its helm, and despite having achieved key things, he is still the target for much criticism and ridicule.
To blindly support something or someone, almost zealously, without fully comprehending all that is at stake is absurd, and that's putting it mildly. It's something Korea must learn just as much as the Libyans or people of any other nationality must. It doesn't help that Korean society has tendencies to rashly and fiercely react to any stimuli, or that they tend to unquestioningly follow popular opinion that is "in vogue." But that only serves as more reason for us to try. A scale only works correctly if it's left up to gravity to tip it one way or another. We must let our minds consider each option carefully and without bias if it is to act like gravity in helping us decide what is truly best for us.
Jae Young Byon
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