Libya: Obama Speaks, Tweeps Heckle

This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.

United States President Barack Obama broke his silence on Libya in a speech at the White House on Wednesday, but his words did little to satisfy the listening masses on Twitter who for the most heckled the president in tweets throughout the speech.

Without mentioning Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi by name, Obama condemned the violence unleashed on Libyans since anti-government protests began on the night of February 16 (#Feb17) and offered condolences for those killed.

Obama said that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would soon be meeting with the Human Rights Council in Geneva, and offered the following condemnation:

The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous, and it is unacceptable. So are threats and orders to shoot peaceful protesters and further punish the people of Libya. These actions violate international norms and every standard of common decency. This violence must stop.

The United States also strongly supports the universal rights of the Libyan people. That includes the rights of peaceful assembly, free speech and the ability of the Libyan people to determine their own destiny. These are human rights. They are not negotiable.

On Tuesday, Gaddafi delivered a furious, rambling speech, calling for death to anyone who threatens his rule.

Below, is a selection of tweets made during Obama's speech.

@mafouad: Obama condemns use of Violence n Libya adding “The entire world is watching”. Isnt the “watching” piece that got us where we freekin are!

@Abdulla_AlAthba: Obama offered nothing to Libya, he is just selling nice words in silly way, and insulted us #Libya #Gaddafi #Obama #SecClinton #Tripoli

@Kim_AE: Is it a coincidence that Obama waited to condemn the violence in Libya till the UN did so on Tuesday?

@JacksonDiehl: Gaddafi was surely worried about US military intervention–instead, Obama announces a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council #Libya

@PressSecret: After 9 days of silence, commenting on Libya Obama fails to condemn or mention genocidal Gaddafi by name. Strange. || #Obama #Gaddafi #Libya

@MassimoBianchi1: I am tired to see obama speech he need to take actions in LIBYA RIGHT NOW!

@bangkolo88: It is a nice thing that Obama has finally involve in the crises in Libya. But we wish he was clearer on his plan of action.

@ranty_man: Obama finally comes out with a statement on Libya now that the outcome looks certiain

@tristamsparks: hey #Obama the world has been watching #Libya for 8 days. #hardlydecisive

@EmyDib: @seedsown the thing in times like these how soon is soon enough!? #Feb17 #Libya #Egypt #Obama #Algeria

@obamafoodorama: #Obama took no questions after he made his statement on #Libya. #Clinton made no statement.

@alienmedia: #Bahrain & #Yemen were NOT in Obama's speech on #Libya. Urged for peaceful transition to democracy in #Tunis & #Egypt.

@Algerian_Dude: President Obama didn't say suffering and bloodshed in #Gaza is “outrageous & unacceptable” #Libya

@Pkatt: @aldamario Lets see what Obama does… Im bettin nothing but a stern look and a tongue lashing.. YOU? #p2 #tcot #ocra #teaparty

@MagButter: One common thing between #Obama & #Gaddafi: Both speeches are useless! #Libya #Feb17

@klaus_eduard: #Obama basically said US won't irritate #Gaddafi until US citizens are out. Should have been out long time ago. Will he ever act? #Libya

@StephenMullen: Dear Obama, Gaddafi is respecting the rights of Libyans. It's a dictatorship, they have none. That what the protests are about.

@AliTweel: so, Obama has no deal with Libya, but Gaddafi says this revolution is all made by “the west” as he described! who is right and who is wrong?

@RuwaydaMustafah: #Obama didn't mention #Gaddafi by name, why? #Libya

@aishes: Maybe Obama refusing to mention #Gaddafi was his way of delegitimizing him? I'm still trying to glean something substantial from his speech.

@TheGaryRuppert: Gaddafi mentioned murdering protesters 17 times in his speech. But Obama thinks they can go to Geneva and have a peace summit? #tcot #p2

@Abdulla_AlAthba: @PhoenixRising4O I'm not after Mr. Obama speech, I wanted free fly-zone in #Libya right away, to make sure #Gaddafi wont bomb his ppl.

@Jim_Gardner: #Obama speech on #Libya didn't mention #Gaddafi by name. Not once. Is he trying to safeguard Americans living in Libya? Could be.

@Afterseven: If Gaddafi's not careful, Obama could write him a very sternly worded letter of rebuke. Framed of course, with an accompanying iPod

@shablibi: To be fair I think that @obama's statement was smart, he distant himself from #Gaddafi and talked simply about #Libya therefore no cause

@RamsayShort: Obama talks crap.He has not mentioned the word Gaddafi once.He is buying time, ignoring the reality.His nation supported Gaddafi.A joker.

@mattklewis: Obama must show leadership. Should call on Gaddafi to immediately step down. Should work with UN to set up a no-fly zone to protect citizens

@Doylech: Obama has finally decided to say something re #gaddafi. Several thousand lives too late #libya

@bengalbabydaddy: But suffering elsewhere is okay. @foxnews: #BreakingNews: Obama Calls Suffering and Bloodshed in Libya ‘Outrageous’ and ‘Unacceptable’

This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.


  • Murkle

    Was Obama holding an umbrealla? Just wondering.

  • […] actions violate international norms and every standard of common decency. This violence must stop," Obama said. "The United States also strongly supports the universal rights of the Libyan people. That includes […]

  • Craig

    Amira, it’s far more important for Obama to protect Americans stuck in Libya from being used as hostages by this lunatic than it is for him to make a statement of condemnation that wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans anyway, considering how little influence the US has with Qadaffi. Sorry if you find that unacceptable but as an American I’m perfectly fine with it. We need to look after our own, first and foremost, and this guy in Tripoli has a long history of terrorism against American nationals.

  • hopefultoo

    It’s absurd to complain that Obama is doing nothing. Most of the time US Presidents are blamed for doing something. The US is told it must not be the world’s policeman, until, of course, people decide it should. That’s hypocritical.

  • Izzie Tobyn

    Empty words from the poorest ranking president of the USA.

    Condemnation is not enough. Nor is waiting to try to get ex-pats out before deciding what to do. Western governments have to act if they want to be credible. UK and Germany have ships out there. For the sake of the Libyan people and the future of their country – please do something concrete. Not to act now, means more chaos later.

    • hopefultoo

      If western governments intervene in any way they will be accused of being manipulative and the political system that follows will be denied legitimacy by its association with them. This is stupidity, of course, but the conspiracy theorists have won the day in these matters.

      The West should do nothing except look on. Just possibly the Egyptians might intervene.

    • Craig

      Western governments have to act if they want to be credible.

      Credible? Credible at what? When did it become our job to “do something” about Arab dictators? I’ve spent years reading Arab blogs filled with nothing but complaints about US interference. I’m tired of it, personally. We are NOT the global police.

  • don

    What is it that people expected? We begin bombing in five minutes? This is Obama, not Reagan. Libyans can finish this. They deserve the right to do it themselves, and they will grow as a nation while doing so.

  • hopefultoo

    Don is right. Too many politically naive people believe the left-wing propaganda that western countries ‘control everything’ and manipulate everything from behind the scenes. They do no such thing and it can’t be done – no-one has such power – it doesn’t exist. The Libyans will have to do it themselves. No doubt the result will be less than satisfactory but with luck it will be better than they have now provided they are able to keep religion and the religious out of it.

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