Date Published: 09/29/11
Libya: The return of colonialist bondage By Hakeem Babalola
Libya’s destruction, a victory for the west; a defeat for ordinary Libyans
The suffering of Libyans has just begun. For there can never be true liberation when your oppressor is the one who defines what your freedom should be. The ousting of Colonel Gaddafi, Libyan leader for 42 years, by the rebels backed western forces especially NATO is indeed a victory for the west whose fixation on Gaddafi’s Libya has become worrisome.
It’s definitely not a victory for ordinary Libyans who would continue to suffer a lot of nervous strain and shock after the destruction. Neither is it a victory for the rebels who have been in excess jubilation since capturing Gaddafi’s official residence. “We are free,” they proclaimed in wild happiness. But they have forgotten one important thing: that they are now slaves to all the countries that helped them kick out Gaddafi.
Apparently the rebels are not ordinary Libyan but a group of people who want the share of the oil with the help of foreign forces. Gaddafi’s main crime may be the fact that he refused to let the west control Libya’s resources, hence he must be eliminated by all possible means. In their euphoria and in their haste to get rid of him, they forgot that none of the countries that backed them has the interest of Libyans at heart. Let them for once re-visit Iraq.
As for Gaddafi, nothing lasts forever. The man should have known that 42 years of single- handedly ruling or administering a nation is more than too long. There is no doubting the fact that Gaddafi always means well for Libya unlike America, Britain, France, NATO, UN and other bereaved organisations claiming to love Libya more than God loves the Israelites. Ok I detest dynasty rule, and this seems to be Gaddafi`s undoing. A nation can never be the personal property of any man or group.
He should have relinquished power at a point in time and becomes the Father of the Nation or something similar. At 70 and having ruled for 42 years, Gaddafi should have embraced the uprising tactically no matter how painful it might be – at least to prevent his own legacy which the west actually wants to destroy. But then power corrupts absolute power corrupts absolutely. He should have known that America, Britain, France and others still consider themselves as the Alpha and Omega of this world – the owner of our earth.
And so they cannot tolerate any opposition from an Arab-African in the spirit of Gaddafi. This man should have realised he was not fighting the "rats" within his own environment but "desperate and hungry lions" outside his environment who have surreptitiously waited to devour him. Perhaps Gaddafi should have been more careful, especially when his colleagues in the African Union (AU) do not like his gut.
Gaddafi should have known that neither America nor its allies forget and forgive. He should have known that the oil in his background is enough to eliminate him by all means. He should have learnt a lesson from Iraq, a nation destroyed by Obama's predecessor on the pretence that the late Iraqi leader possessed Weapon of Mass Destruction which turned out to be a ruse. It was simply a ploy by Mr. Bush to invade the oil rich nation. There is always an excuse to invade certain countries especially when the rulers of such countries refused to be a stooge.
Attacking a sovereign nation
I have stopped worrying each time the American or British or French government issues public propaganda justifying the need to attack Iraq or Afghanistan or Ivory Coast or Libya etc in order to protect the people. I have stopped worrying because it is now obvious to me that this so-called "developed nations" must use ideas or statements often exaggerated or false intended for a political cause. They need to sound as people oriented leaders to gain the much needed support otherwise they become irrelevant. They must use the empty rhetoric of politicians as an excuse to justify the partial occupation - of less powerful nations - especially Africa.
One wonders why United Nations has not ordered the attack on North Korea! And why it is so easy to bombard Libya under the pretext of protecting the civilians in that region. Even though more than 20,000 have lost their lives in the civil war, what’s coming out of people like David Cameron of Britain, Hilary Clinton of America and others is disturbing. “I pledge support for a new era,” says Mrs Clinton, US Secretary of State. In what I consider a sinister statement, Mr Cameron says we would like to see Gaddafi punished for his crimes, adding: “We need a swift transition to a democratic and inclusive Libya,”
Inclusive Libya? Is it that necessary to include Libya in Libya’s affairs? Ah, to include the Libyan people is to further disrupt the agenda of a purpose. Let America, Britain and France take over Libya completely and divide it among themselves. For this would be the true picture of the main objective. Libyans and Africans in general aren’t capable of taking care of themselves hence the need to bombard every independent African State.
Rhapsody of Gaddafi's elimination
In February, the trouble barely started in Libya when America, France and Britain began to campaign for Gaddafi's exist. Their rhapsody of Gaddafi’s elimination was so soon then that it backfired; because discern minds wanted to know why these three countries were so fixated on Libya. Is it because like Iraq, it is an oil producing nation? Why was it so easy for these three countries to back the rebels? Did they know before hand that Libya was to face uprising? What was behind their open support for the rebels? Why did they start freezing Libya's asset immediately the trouble started?
Can any African nation freezes Britain or US assets in any circumstance? What happened in Libya at that time was just unfolding but these nations had gone to town calling for the head of Gaddafi, saying he was killing his people. Will American or British or French government fold its arm if a group of rebels come together to topple the government?
"Oyinbo" always right mentality
I suppose it is easy for the western countries to attack or occupy African continent because they have mastered the art of colluding with African rulers. African people it seems hate their own image. Majority still probably believe that "Oyinbo" is always right. This mental slavery is reoccurring in different forms: it may be the process of "protecting the people of Africa" from their dictators (as if there are no dictators elsewhere) whenever it pleases the western countries to destroy any African nation of their choice. Can't they leave African people to fight for ourselves? Or are we forever tied to their apron?
Destroy & build doctrine
It is interesting how easy our so-called intellectuals often blame their own rulers without asking the occupiers to leave Africa alone. Sad as it is, it's amusing many African intellectuals are yet to understand the game – the game of destroy and build. Let them go read "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein. That book reveals America’s brutal tactics in dealing with whomever or whatever nation it wants to deal with. Africa has to be destroyed to enrich the western nations who are always the benefactor of such destruction.
Thereafter they would send their businessmen to get the contract to rebuild. The notorious International Monetary Fund (IMF) would offer to loan in order to further enslave the "protected civilians" even the country at large. Of course with the collaboration of the locals – governments included – whose thinking faculty is all about money.
How long will it take Africans to realise that no other nation or continent – no matter how powerful or rich – would sincerely volunteer to help Africa develop, or help build Africa? Each man to his own problem! It’s only Africans that can genuinely build Africa if we want. I salute Germany, Russia, China and others who have been diplomatic cautious and not aggressive in this regard.
Probing NATO forces
There has always been a double standard policy by the international organisations. Why is NATO spear-heading/spear-headed the attack on Libya while creating the impression that the rebels are acting on their own in the attacks in Tripoli? I agree with South Africa's deputy president, Kgalema Motlanthe who has called for probe against possible human rights violations committed by NATO forces in Libya. Reports have it that NATO conducted 46 strikes sorties in area around Tripoli. The question is whether the (court) will have the wherewithal to unearth that information and bring those who are responsible to book, including the NATO commanders on the ground. NATO says target is not to kill Gaddafi and that it’s not coordinating with National Transition Council. Oh, really? Did NATO back the rebels with intelligence, logistics, ammunitions, training and aerial cover or not? Is this a violation of the letter and spirit of the UN charter or not? NATO nations clearly contravened UN arms embargo on Libya
Disappointing United Nations
As for the United Nations, the organisation has achieved very little in terms of solving conflicts around the world. It is hard to see what is united in United Nations. Why is the organisation always sending what it calls “Humanitarian Aid” only after the damaged might have been done?
I think the UN should cultivate the habit of preventing conflicts – by all means possible rather than sending aids. The United Nations seems to be failing in its responsibility to inspire peace among nations. The presence of UN since its inception in 1945 should have made the world a living place to live. Unfortunately, nations have been divided more than united. Perhaps this organisation needs to change tactics.
The UN resolution should be to protect and not to take side. On what principle did the UN back the rebels? Malam El-Rufai of Nigeria puts it succinctly: The swiftness at which the UN passes resolutions that water the grounds for the West's intervention in any country is directly proportional to the oil reserves in that country, as well as history of past grudges. The United Nations must not be seen as a partial or stooge of certain powerful countries.
Where is the African Union & Arab League?
African Union ke? The AU is becoming embarrassment. It’s supposed to be the mouth piece of Africa but has since become useless since the destruction started in Libya. The organisation is so much in slumber that foreign organisations like European Union had to take charge, dictating the pace of the uprising. AU has further tarnished its image and disgraced the whole of Africa by not being the one in charge of an affair concerning its member state. It doesn’t matter its tactical approach, saying it will not “explicitly recognised the rebels”. Whatever that means! Arab League on the other hand is quick to say it is in “full solidarity with the rebels”. The position of these two important organisations added to the impunity with which the western countries violate Libya’s sovereignty.
Libyan rebels as stooges
My heartfelt sympathy goes to the Libyan people. Sure, people are always the victims in this circumstance. How can the rebels claim victory when it’s obvious the western countries fought the war? The rebels should have done it alone without the help of outsiders. By so doing they committed the same crime they accused Gaddafi of. The rebels like their foreign counterparts are misleading the people by claiming they’re fighting people's fight. I don't believe this.
The rebels are definitely fighting for their own share of the resources. Any insurgence that allows foreigners to attack own country cannot come clean of doing it for the same people they kill. How would they tell these nations to leave after they had helped them win the war? These "hegemonic" nations have come to stay and position themselves for contracts. Of course this is normal after spending a lot to help win the war. It’s the name of the game. Period
Lindsay German says Libya won’t be able to get rid of pro-west government. Ms German, Convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, London, adds that “rebels will form western imposed government”. The rebels in their murky acceleration for revenge or getting rid of Gaddafi disregarded post war trauma on the people and therefore committed the same crime they accused Gaddafi of. The rebels know quite alright that accepting the west to help fight Gaddafi’s forces would have adverse effect on Libya and its people. Yet no one cares.
Gaddafi & the western press
Gaddafi may not be as bad as being painted by the western press whose bias reporting about the uprising is alarming. Accordingly, every atrocity committed during the uprising is done by Gaddafi’s forces while the rebels are considered innocent. It is Gaddafi and not the rebels that destroyed Libya. It is Gaddafi forces that killed civilians and not the rebels.
Personally despite Gaddafi’s shortcomings, I prefer him to other African rulers who often cringe before America and Britain. For instance, I would choose Gaddafi’s eccentric and dictatorship over Hosni Mubarak and Olusegun Obasanjo’s conventional and “democratic” rule. When you report in a war that one side is killing its people then the discerning minds of course would like to know what happens to the other side. Is the other side fighting to embrace? The way the international media reported and reporting the happenings in Libya is one-sided which is regrettable.
Gaddafi is not as bad as is being painted by the west. He is much better than many African rulers who are in the good book of America and co. Mubarak who is now facing charges of corruption and murder in a country he once ruled for example enjoyed America’s backing and patronage for more that thirty years until the last moment. However if there’s evidence that Gaddafi killed his own people randomly, then of course he will have to face the charges
National Transitional Council
What is the principle behind the National Transitional Council when in fact many former aids of Gaddafi who had defected may constitute NTC? I predict that NTC will soon run into trouble. And I predict that whatever they do to Gaddafi is what they too will get. But before then, let them be cautious in dealing with the west.
The west obviously is concerned with their own interest. For instance, they have started telling us that Pro-revolt foreign states will get contract to re-build Libya, meaning China, Germany and Russia to lose out because they did not support the revolt. We are told that NTC needs 300 billion euro to rebuild Libya. The money of course would go back the west whose citizens will get most of the contracts. Most importantly, the National Transitional Council should ask itself when last America or Britain or France invited African forces to help them deal with their internal problems!
True freedom will come only if each African country can confront its own tyrants without the help of outsiders whose aim would always to turn Africa into a “burning volcano and a fire under the feet of invaders”. For me, the rebels’ proclamation of freedom simply because the west helped them destroy their country is false freedom never to be celebrated. It is bondage in freedom. Libya will now be ruled by their oppressors pretending to be friends. Iraq and Afghanistan are two examples.
Libya like Iraq will never be the same and that is the crux of the matter. Libya ’s destruction is a victory for the west; a defeat for ordinary Libyans. Sure Gaddafi has made mistakes but neither a monster nor a mad dog as being painted by several American presidents. As for me even with his non-conformity, he is not as bad as most jejune African leaders who conform to code of conduct. Gaddafi usually speaks his mind at the UN General Assembly meeting unlike other African representatives who just nod their heads in agreement with the so-called superpowers. Such “being-my-self” attitude is enough to mark him out as the enemy.
Attacking a sovereign nation is the hallmark of destroy and build principle employed by the west especially America to pave way for a stooge government in the African region. It is unfortunate that the international journalists allow themselves to be used in this regard. I consider NATO’s involvement; even UN as double standard. I believe passionately that the west cannot and will never give Africa and its people true freedom. It is Africans that can liberate themselves without outside help. How long will it take? That is what I don’t know.
Hakeem Babalola is the Managing Editor, African News Hungary