Be careful what you wish for

The son of Moammar Qaddafi had this to say about the rising tide of democracy:

“The whole world is going through more freedom, more democracy,” he says, pumping the air in impatience. “We want to see those changes now, instead of 10 years’ time, or 15 years.”

It was very heartening to hear this, especially from the son of a dictator.

But there was one problem. He gushed about democracy before the people of his country took to the streets demanding reform –in a statement to Time magazine, last year! Like all sons of dictators, he was tipped to be the next leader, and (armed with a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics,) seemed like the kind of person the world could work with. Until he said this, this week.

“Libya is at a crossroads. If we do not agree today on reforms, we will not be mourning 84 people, but thousands of deaths, and rivers of blood will run through Libya.”

He wished for, and predicted, change. His Ph.D. Thesis talks of a ‘democracy deficit.’ But he probably never foresaw the rivers of connectivity between his people that would make that happen.

Be careful what you wish for!




Image is everything –until you tick off the media

This is the flip side of my last post on image management –the futility of trying to control things.

The British journalist removed from the scene of a protest in Beijing on Wednesday can undo much of gains China has been making in the first few days of the Olympics.

The hand-covering-camera-lens tactic worked in times gone by. Today there are too many cameras that don’t look like cameras. There’s audio. There’s Twitter. And as we have seen only too well, reporters don’t have to be credentialed to cover a story. Images like this will gain more currency when mainstream people are ticked off.

As I more or less predicted last month, media rights mean nothing if someone has a story to tell and an audience.


This comment from David Wolf, on a post on Digital Watch, a blog out of Ogilvy China sums it up well:

“the IOC has yet to come to terms with the Internet and what it means to the way people enjoy – or at least “consume” – the Games.”