Freedom worth high gas prices
After the successful revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year, many other nations in the Middle East and beyond are following suit with protests for freedom.
The unrest in Libya, Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia is accompanied by protests in China against the government. The protests in Tunisia and Egypt were monumental because they were inspired by the poverty, unemployment, corruption and leaders who had been in power for decades. These protests inspired an entire region to demand change in its systems of government.
In Oman, pro-democracy demonstrators set fire to cars, houses, a police station and the governor’s residence in the hopes of opening up the ruling system of Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
Said has responded by raising the minimum wage by more than 40 percent.
Habiba al-Hanay, a 45-year-old civil servant, said, “the Omanis are not looking to oust their ruler,” according to an article published in the Guardian.co.uk
“We just hope he will hear us and make changes,”he said.
In Bahrain, the majority Shiites have been protesting the discrimination and other abuses by the Sunni dynasty that has ruled for more than two centuries. Bahrain is also the first region to be hit by the demand for reform in the Middle East.
Continuing even further, Saudis have answered the calls made on the Internet for King Abdullah to enact reforms and relinquish many of his powers.
Abdullah has tried to fight off the protests by offering temporary government workers permanent positions and by offering interest-free loans to Saudis for marriage, starting a business or buying furniture.
The most extreme situation, though, is in Libya. Moammar Gadhafi has been in power for 42 years, and demonstrations have occurred throughout the last few weeks in order to force his removal.
Gadhafi has a history of placing his family members in high-ranking positions, spending frivolously and committing heinous acts against those who oppose him.
The citizens of Libya have responded by holding rallies against his oppressive government — and he has made his intentions clear as to dissolving the protests.
The Libyan Minister of the Interior and an Army general, Abdul Fatah Younis, resigned and urged the army to join the people and respond to their demands, according to Al-Jazeera.
“Gadhafi told me he was planning on using airplanes against the people (in Benghazi), and I told him that he will have thousands of people killed if he does that,” Younis said.
Additionally, Gadhafi faced new setbacks with opposition forces preparing to dispatch a rebel force to his stronghold in Tripoli, along with the UN imposing military and financial sanctions. He could face charges for crimes against humanity.
With all that is happening today in the name of democracy and freedom in the Middle East, Americans are growing worried about the rising cost of fuel in our nation.
The price per gallon in the Houston area is around $3.40, and that is a concern. But in the grand scheme of things, freedom for these people not only creates a better opportunity for them, but also for us.
Maybe once these people have the right to make his or her own decisions, our current gas prices might drop because a country will no longer be controlled by one man’s desire for money or power. And freedom is definitely worth the extra $1.10 I have to pay at the pump.