Libya is the latest country to be rocked by nationwide pro-democracy protests. However, the situation is much more volatile in Libya than in Egypt or Tunisia, as Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has engaged his military in violence against the protesters.
It is difficult to confirm reports coming out of Libya because Western journalists are largely banned from the country, but those reports from civilians indicate that the Libyan military has been shooting at and killing protesters in large numbers. Gadhafi's son spoke on Libyan television, stating that Libya is "different" from Egypt and Tunisia and that the protests would likely lead to civil war.
Some reports out of Libya indicate that military airplanes have been used to bomb protesters. Two Libyan pilots landed their planes in nearby Malta and sought political asylum because they refused to carry out Gadhafi's orders and attack their own people.
International organizations such as the Arab League and the United Nations are meeting to decide how to address the atrocities being committed in Libya.
Note: The first 3 minutes and 45 seconds of this video give an overview of the situation in Libya, while the rest is a discussion with analysts.
"There will be civil war. We will go back to the civil war of 1936. We will kill each other in the streets. Libya is not Tunisia or Egypt. Libya has oil, which has unified Libya." - son of Moammar Gadhafi
"We saw the airplanes go by over us. And it's really bad here. We still hear gunshots. And it's getting bad. One of my cousins had to go to the hospital. They were sent back because they were shooting -- they were shooting the doctors and people at the hospital." - Libyan woman
1. Where is Libya?
2. What is a dictator?
3. Why could it be especially dangerous for protesters to rise up in a country that's governed by a single dictator? Can you think of examples of such countries?
1. If you lived in a country without a free press where few foreign journalists were allowed, how would you get messages to the outside world about what was happening? How do you think Libyans are getting the word out?
2. What do you think Gadhafi's son means when he says that Libya is "different" from Tunisia and Egypt because it has oil?
3. Why do you think peaceful revolutions are harder to achieve in certain countries? Why were protesters in Egypt largely unharmed by the military, while those in Libya are in the line of fire?