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Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Writing on the Wall

Our first chapter deals with the concepts of freedom and democracy, which are easy to take for granted -- unless they are absent. The Los Angeles Times reports:
On walls across Libya's second-largest city are the same scrawled graffiti: Game Over.

Days after protesters took control of Benghazi after fierce attacks by Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi's militia and alleged mercenaries left many dead and injured, demonstrations continued at the courthouse where they began a week ago. People called for Kadafi's resignation and expressed support for anti-government efforts in the capital, Tripoli, and other cities.

"From the first day, from the 17th, there was no more fear. We fought fear; the revolution's youth taught us courage," said Abdulmutalib Bashir, 51. "We are a people who won't surrender; either victory or death."
The idea that "the writing on the wall" can spell doom for a regime is an ancient one. From Daniel 5: 25-28 (King James Version):

And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.

TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.