As imperfect and things are here, and as weird & contentious as our politics has gotten lately, reading stuff like this is a sober reminder of how really good we have it compared to other places in the world.
Update: BTW, you wingnuts who whine & carry on about the tyranny of government and what an horrible wannabe dictator President Obama is? Here’s what actual tyrants like Gaddafi use to shut up their citizens:
The round second from right is standard 5.56mm - of the type used by NATO forces, as the photo illustrates. The round on the far left is .50 caliber and has reportedly been used against protesters. Sources in Tripoli who have spoken with doctors in the capital also said some believe explosive rounds are being used.
We need to complain less and be thankful more. Seriously.
(CNN) — Sitting in a dark, abandoned sports complex with the constant crack of gunshots and the cries of angry protesters ringing in his head, Mounir Benzegala decided he had to leave the bloodshed in Libya once and for all.
The 23-year-old American basketball player had tried several times to get to the airport, but his efforts were repeatedly derailed by mercenaries, soldiers, and bureaucratic red tape.
Now safely on a U.S.-chartered ferry bound for Malta with about 300 other passengers — 167 of them fellow Americans — Benzegala said Friday he’ll only let himself feel relief when he’s back in the United States.
For Americans Erika and Franz Fearnley, the sound of protests and gunfire that kept getting closer and closer to their neighborhood just outside the Libyan capital ultimately forced them to make a dash for the airport in hopes of leaving the violence behind.
“The crowds sounded as if more and more people were joining in, (and) just hearing the gunfire and just knowing that people were probably losing their lives” finally made them pack up, Erika Fearnley told CNN’s “Parker-Spitzer” on Thursday.
Salah Gamoudi, 24, returned to Oregon on Tuesday from Libya, where the dual citizen was working with Ernst & Young as an auditor of oil companies.
As security forces started cracking down on protesters, Gamoudi said he, like other Tripoli residents, became fearful for his life and the lives of his family members. He picked up a baseball bat to use as a weapon, if he needed one; his neighbors fortified the streets and guarded their homes.
George Sayar, who was in Libya with his Florida-based construction company building roads and bridges, described the airport scene as “utter chaos.”
“I would say there was approximately 30-40,000 people, most of them without tickets, trying to get into the three entrances to the terminal,” Sayar told CNN on Friday. “We pretty much had to push and shove our way through thousands of people, and myself and two of my colleagues finally made it after about three hours of pushing, shoving, and kicking.”
Another contractor who managed a tight escape was Cyrus Sany, who was working as an electrical engineer in Libya for a Virginia-based firm. He said it took him six hours to get from the airport parking lot to the ticket counter.
Sany said it was a “very extreme experience” that he’ll never forget.
More at CNN…