The massacres in Libya are a deeply shocking outrage. Hundreds of Libyans have been killed by armed forces acting under the orders of the government. This unfeeling brutality from the Libyan government towards its own people is something that the whole world should condemn in the strongest language. The Arab world should say a lot more, and Qatar at least should be congratulated on making clear its horror at what is going on.
But after days of silence from around the world, some necessary outrage is starting to make itself felt. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been forthright in condemning the violence, and the US and EU have also spoken out.
But these statements are matched by some failures to comment such as by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Italy has nurtured close relations with Gaddafi for some years and is one of the largest importers of Libyan oil.
And China where the foreign ministry only went as far as to say that "China is extremely concerned about the developments in Libya and hopes Libya will quickly restore social stability and normality".
This is not a time to sit on the fence. Even if Gaddafi was recently considered to be an esteemed friend, his unleashing of warplanes on his own people should force his friends to tell Gaddafi that he has to go.
The Geneva-based NGO UN Watch summed up the need for action when it urged citizens worldwide to pressure decision-makers to react more strongly against what is happening in Libya, where the regime "is trying to hide its crimes from the world to prevent international pressure.
The silence of the world powers is deafening. We cannot allow this massacre to continue. We urge the US, the European Union, and the UN not to turn a blind eye to this bloodbath."
UN Watch is right.