D 17.04.11 Fra Bashy Quraishy <bashy@ mail.dk>
I am sending you an article, which looks at the Libyan situation from a critical perspective.
Can you please send it to your contacts? We need to be more nuanced.
Libya: Is Gaddafi a mad dictator?
According to the US Department of State’s annual human rights report for 2007, Libya’s authoritarian regime have a poor record in the area of human rights. Some of the numerous and serious abuses on the part of the government include poor prison conditions, arbitrary arrest and prisoners held incommunicado, and political prisoners held for many years without charge or trial. The judiciary is controlled by the government, and there is no right to a fair public trial. Libyans do not have the right to change their government. Freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, and religion are restricted.
Keeping in mind, how one sided yet affective the American and western propaganda machine usually is, I often take such reports with a pinch of salt, especially when it deals with countries and leaders who are not in good books of the West. But if we take this USA assessment at face value, this Libyan situation can be found in many states in various parts of the world. So let us pause for a minute and go behind the picture being presented to the world by BBC, CNN, Agency France and Danish media.
By the way, my apprehensions about the Libyan situation should in no way be taken as an endorsement or defend the horrible suffering attacks on the civilian people by the Libyan government. I just want to look at the development with open eyes and not the customary knee jerk western reaction.
After popular movements overturned the rulers of Tunisia and Egypt, its immediate neighbors to the West and East, Libya experienced a full-scale revolt beginning in February 2011. By 20 February, the unrest had spread to Tripoli. In the early hours of 21 February 2011, Saif al-Islam, oldest son of Muammar Gaddafi, spoke on Libyan television of his fears that the country would fragment and be replaced by anarchy if the uprising engulfed the entire state. He warned that the country's economic wealth and recent prosperity was at risk, admitted, "mistakes had been made" in quelling recent protests and announced that a constitutional convention would begin on 23 February. That was dismissed by the rebels.
Ever since, the public protests in Libya turned violent and practically divided the country in to rebel held area in the East and government controlled west, including the capital Tripoli. On 17 March 2011 the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1973 with a 10–0 vote and five abstentions from most important non-western countries. Resolution 1973 sanctioned the establishment a no-fly zone and the use of "all means necessary" to protect civilians within Libya.
On Saturday 19 March 2011, the first Allied act to secure the no-fly zone began when French military jets entered Libyan airspace on a reconnaissance mission heralding attacks on enemy targets. Allied military action to enforce the ceasefire commenced the same day when a French aircraft opened fire and destroyed an enemy vehicle on the ground. French jets also destroyed five enemy tanks belonging to the Gaddafi regime. The United States and United Kingdom launched attacks on over 20 "integrated air defense systems" using more than 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles during operations Odyssey Dawn and Ellamy.
Why did the West so quickly started bombing Libya? Was it to settle scores or topple the legitimate government of Libya? After all, the present Libya is a member of UN, has diplomatic and economic and commercial relations with 95% of the world.
The real problem in the equation is that in spite of all the oppression Gaddafi may have committed against his opponents, his services to his people, his stubborn resistance to Western interference in Libya's affairs and his taking charge of oil assets from USA and Britain and raising the oil prices should not be forgotten.
According to many world leaders like the president of Uganda Yoweri Museveni, Cuba’s Fidal Castro and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Gaddafi is a nationalist, a Pan African devotee and feels deeply about the plight of poor people in the world. He has poured billions of dollars as aid in various countries in Africa and the Arab world.
As far as attacking the rebels is concerned, any government when challenged by rebellion, especially supported by foreign elements would do exactly what Gaddafi did. From American civil war and its murder of Black panthers in 70ies, Spanish civil war, Biafra conflict in Nigeria, Sri Lanka civil war and Russia's war against Chechen Republic are but few examples. It is not only Gaddafi but all governments want to keep power by all means necessary. I am absolutely against all kind of oppression, no matter who commits it, but we should not be selective. Israel massive use of air power and artillery fire killed 1500 civilian in Gaza in response to crude rocket attacks from some idiotic Palestinian youth is an other example.
If he was such a bad a dictator, a monster and a devil as USA officials are now painting him, how come all the western leaders were hobnobbing with him, negotiated contracts worth tens of billions and even paid visits to Libya after he discarded his nuclear program and open the oil fields to Western interests. Why was the West completely quite all these years and did not think or speak of human right and democracy in Libya? Besides this is exactly the kind of labels, Western media and governments used against Saddam Hussain before attacking him in 2003 and taking over the oil fields there. Why the United States removed Gaddafi's regime, after 27 years, from its list of states sponsoring terrorism. No one seems to answer these questions.
The sad reality is that no one in the developing world believes the West anymore, if they ever did. They have bitter memories of many double morals and hypocrisy being practiced, when western commercial and geo-political interests are at stake. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are two good examples, how the West picks and choose these favorite dictators. It was Franklin Roosevelt who famously noted, "They may be sons of bitches, but they are our sons of bitches
The main frightening aspect of this Libyan affair is that Americans and Europeans are very ignorant of what their governments do behind their backs, what kind of schemes, their leaders make and that USA, UK and other big western powers have never forgiven Gaddafi for his nationalist policies.
When USA claims that Gaddafi has lost the legitimacy to govern, one can ask, how do you know this. Has USA asked all the Libyans and is it not interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country to demand regime change. On top of this, western media and experts have also taken sides. People sit in their armchairs in USA and Europe and describe the situation in Libya. Journalists travel with rebels, send reports and give opinions but none goes to Gaddafi forces and ask them, how they feel.
In spite of furious bombing, Gaddafi is still in power. Should not this fact awaken some sensible people in the West? There is no alternative to a peaceful solution. Many countries and organizations are working on it but arrogant politicians like Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron do not want a solution, which will fulfill the aspirations of the Libyan people. They want to grab the high quality oil of Libya as they did in Iraq and would one day do in Saudi Arabia and Gulf states.
Secretary General - EMISCO -European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion - Strasbourg/Copenhagen
Chair-Advisory Council-ENAR - Brussels
Mobile; 0045 40 15 47 71
Phone; 0045 38 88 19 77
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