Thursday, October 27, 2011

Libya: When 'Democracy' Violates Human Dignity

Libya - When ‘democracy’ violates human dignity

Thursday, 27 October 2011 00:00
Zimbabwe Herald

The Arena Hildegarde

Last week's Arena commemorated the life and works of former Mozambican leader Samora Moises Machel who perished in a mysterious plane crash on then apartheid-ruled South African soil. I ended the piece thus, "To Cde Machel we say, A luta tem que continua! (The struggle MUST continue!)", and Africa will never be colonised again. However, I digress on part 2 of 21st century revolutions.

That day, another African leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, his son Mutassim and an unknown number of aides were captured and killed in his home town of Sirte by rebels of the National Transitional Council assisted by NATO allied forces.

NATO forces were the first to bombard Libya on March 19 claiming they were implementing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973's no-flying zone, and protecting the

Libyan people against Col Gaddafi's onslaught

After the eight-month battle for the soul of Libya, it was clear that the world is a stage. William Shakespeare's tragic play, Julius Caesar is an expose of the vicissitudes of the power game: those who wield it; the abusers; opportunists who live in the conspiracy theory fast lane.

At the bottom of the heap are the "the people", the downtrodden who are manipulated and swayed into believing that everything is done to save their poor souls.

Julius Caesar formed part of how best I could analyse the most bizarre way a nation whose civilisation dates back to Biblical times could stoop to such levels of ludicrousness, pandering to the whims and caprices of nouveau riche empires.

As people question the manner of how Col Gaddafi met his death, with human rights organisations calling for a transparent probe, I have told myself that if extra-judicial killing of prisoners of war and the macabre display of their dead bodies in a meat locker for public view is the democracy that the West says it is still bringing to Africa, then God help us.

No one needs a democracy that dehumanises people's common decency. Former Cuban leader Cde Fidel Castro was incisive: NATO's "brutal military alliance has become the most perfidious instrument of repression the history of humanity has known."

He expressed ire at the killing and said he was "kidnapped and exhibited like a trophy of war, showed a conduct that violates the most elemental principles of Moslem norms and other religious beliefs."

Long before his death, in the court of public opinion, Col Gaddafi had been tried, and found guilty. But just as many argue that Col Gaddafi had himself to blame, Africa also has itself to blame for not investing in the generation, management and dissemination of news.

We ended parroting the "weapons of mass disinformation" - exactly what the West wanted us to believe about Col Gaddafi and his 42-year rule. The narrative is so one-sided and devoid of objectivity. The voices that have told a balanced story about Libyan history before and during Gaddafi's rule are a drop in the ocean, and on the Internet you struggle to find it.

Isn't it an important democratic tenet that there is no one side to a story, neither two, but many? This week as certain sections commemorate Open Sources Week, shouldn't we have the full story of what transpired last Thursday, including ALL the images?

When the uprisings started in Benghazi and Col Gaddafi reacted to them heavy-handedly, the United Nations was quick to intervene with the UN Security Council passing Resolution 1970 and 1973.

However, the same UN Security Council did not raise its voice when Libya's interim government allowed the "grisly and undignified spectacle" of Col Gaddafi's body. As one Islamic activist argued on BBC News on Tuesday, the NTC which should have demonstrated that they were their own masters and ready to be Libya's next government, did not have to wait for directives from the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Human Rights Watch to start an inquiry.

The NTC, if at all they were the once in charge of these grisly events, did not need international outcries even from people who have been fighting Islam to tell them that the manner in which they treated those bodies was a violation of Islam, for in Islam a person should be buried within 24 hours, and 48 hours at the most.

We don't know how long Osama bin Laden's body was kept before it was dumped in the sea, but another Western "trophy", Saddam Hussein was accorded a decent burial by his family, despite the weapons of mass destruction myth.

No one has turned his marked grave into a shrine unlike Col Gaddafi who was not only buried in an unmarked grave, but buried deep in the Libyan desert because there are fears that he might be turned into a cult, and also made a hero. Why should they be afraid of the dead? And, African leaders are not perturbed? Should an Arab Spring desecrate its own value systems?

When the NTC fails to respect its own religious rites for want of pleasing friends, then we wonder, especially after they declared Libya an Islamic state, governed by Sharia law.

Which Islam? Two wrongs do not make a right.

The democratisation of Libya also meant the abuse of children's rights. The queues of people who lined up for four days to see Col Gaddafi's decomposing body included children. Where were Unicef and other child rights organisations?

TV channels and the Internet fed into the frenzy by supplying video footage of those ghastly pictures, and they are still there on the net, a home for young people especially. Let history be the judge.

The desire to mete out revenge was also too humongous. The NTC wanted the Gaddafi's family extradited, but according to a report, a source in the Algerian government said they would not: "Algeria will not extradite Gaddafi's relatives either to Libya or any other country," Le soir d`Algerie newspaper quoted an informed government source (on Monday). "They were given refuge (in Algeria) on humanitarian grounds, and their status has not changed.

"The world has seen how Col Gaddafi was slaughtered. We have respect for human life, and the ensuring security of Gaddafi's family is a matter of honour for us," the source said.

Africa's leaders independently and through the African Union expressed their views. However, the AU is in the court of public opinion. People feel betrayed by a mother body that should stand up to defend their rights against an Anglo-Saxon world which is making it very clear by each passing day that Africa is for the taking.

Africa must explain to its people why UNSC resolution 1973 became bloodier and destructive, when it was meant to restore peace and order in Libya. The West is facing unprecedented economic challenges, but Africa becomes so blind and in some cases is bought off by 30 pieces of silver in order to give away its future.

When people like Julius Malema, leader of the of the ANC Youth League speak out, they are demonised, although they seem to understand the bigger picture for Malema saluted Gaddafi's saying he was a brave fighter, who stood firm against "imperialism".

Floyd Shivambu also said Gaddafi was an "anti-imperialist martyr", "a brave soldier" and "fighter against the recolonisation of the African continent."

Another South African colleague e-mailed: "Today has been a wretched day. The front page of The Star and the posters of all the papers have been obscene. How can I go on living in a country like this? It was just the same in Britain when Zimbabwe was fighting for its freedom.

"The media filled me with impotent rage. I could not wait to get out. But that was Britain. This is Africa, this is my country! It does not seem like my country.

What happened to the Geneva Convention?

What do the celebrators know about Gaddafi or the ‘rebels'? What do they really know about the whole situation in Libya or anywhere else for that matter except what they have been fed by the Western media?

Can they really not see the writing on the wall?
Last Thursday, all those Western journalists who gave a blow-by-blow account of events on the ground in Libya, were they really journalists?

When they gave so many conflicting reports turning the whole event into a charade and a weapon of mass deception what was the motive?

Taking the world for a ride, Africa in particular?

Shakespeare is right after all: "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Now, just like Iraq and Afghanistan, the "saved" look like they want their liberators (NATO) not to leave Libya. Is this what Resolution 1973 stipulates? Nigeria, Gabon and South Africa voted in favour of the treacherous resolution 1973. Libya is back in the AU. Is the silence an endorsement of Africa's re-occupation?


No comments: