The Libyan Tragedy: History will avenge

by Nilotpal Basu

It was a grotesque spectacle. The picture of a mutilated face – almost flattened like a piece of parchment paper – and that was flashed all over the world – beamed to millions of television viewers and newspaper readers. It was the living proof that the “dictator” was gone. The way the campaign blitzkrieg reached a crescendo, it is quite certain that in millions of homes there would be relief over the ‘elimination’ of the Libyan supremo – Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

But are the facts so simple? Is it a mere case of getting rid of a hated ‘dictator’ and a signal for ‘triumph of democracy’? Is it a part of the same sequence of the Arab people’s uprising for freedom and democracy – the ‘Arab spring’? Even before a week has passed since the death of Gaddafi – questions abound. And they are not being raised merely by his lawyers, friends, relatives, followers. It is being raised by the legally recognised international bodies. The UN human rights body and organisations functioning internationally and reputed enough and not to be ignored are vociferously raising these questions. Was the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime and his eventual elimination really the outcome of the Libyan people’s uprising for ‘democratic freedom’?

The chain of events, are now falling into their place. Unlike the Egyptian or Tunisian or Yemeni popular uprisings – even the most diehard pro-US pro-Nato television channels could not actually televise popular gatherings in the run up to the final end. Neither could they show celebrations by the Libyan people at large over this grotesque outcome. It is clear that the battle for power in Libya continued for almost eight months. If the ‘dictatorial regime’ was so tyrannical and so aggressive in persecuting not just political opponents but the Libyan people at large -why would the regime be so resilient so as to fight not just armed to the teeth opposition forces but also full fledged attacks by the most modern Nato forces including its air-borne firepower?

It is true that Gaddafi was no holy angel. Neither does that description fit Saddam Hussein. They were no Ho Chi Minh – or Salvador Allende. But does that qualify the US and NATO forces to run over Libya or Iraq? In the case of Iraq – it is already established that the excuse which was rigged up by the Bush regime with able accompaniment from Tony Blair’s Britain and others from the ‘coalition of the willing’ – the whole claim about Iraq’s nuclear arsenal was nothing but a damn lie. Nobody has heard a word of regret from Bush and his cohorts. But Saddam Hussein is gone. Over a million people – innocent people – women, children and the infirm in Iraq are also cold and dead. A couple of millions have become refugees. But perhaps the silent victims of that war have been American people themselves. Recently, in a brilliant expose on the financing of the Iraq war – Joseph Stieglitz has shown how the American parliament was duped by the regime to spend many more times than was originally budgeted for the military invasion of Iraq. And Stieglitz went further to show that it is this funding of invasion in Iraq and Afghanistan that has contributed significantly to bring the US economy to the brink; a disaster which happens to disarray 99 per cent of American’s daily life and livelihood.

Libya seems to be headed for a similar future. The international human rights bodies have already questioned the manner of Gaddafi’s death. Initially, the Libyan ‘National Transitional Council’ (NTC) claimed that Gaddafi was killed in a confrontation. But now there is evidence that he was killed after having been captured by the armed opponents. There is further information that Gaddafi’s convoy was hit by NATO airstrikes. No wonder that the NTC initially refused to conduct post mortem of his dead body. In the wake of global public opinion and questioned by human rights bodies – the postmortem was carried out, but there is hardly any credible authority in changed Libya whose claim of authentication will be accepted by anybody anywhere. And of course now more serious charges have surfaced. 53 dead bodies with hands and feet tied have been discovered in a hotel in Sirte – the city which was considered Gaddafi’s stronghold. These have been identified as Gaddafi supporters. That they were killed in captivity is clear from the state in which the bodies have been recovered. Nothing could be more damning in terms of violation of human rights and perpetration of war crimes.

Who said Obama was different? Who said that his ancestors came to the ‘land of liberty’ from Africa? The operation to remove Gaddafi for his alleged ‘dictatorial behaviour’ was the prerogative of the Libyan people and Libyan people alone. But, in the most brazen reenactment of the Bush regime’s infamous precepts of ‘regime change’, the Obama administration did not show any sign of qualms. It was imperialism and its quest for hegemony, writ loud and clear over the entire Libyan episode. One doesn’t know what would those gentlemen in the Swedish Nobel Academy who decided to confer on him the Nobel for peace in the second year of his presidency now have to say?

Actually, the empire is distraught and of course desperate. The four decade long process of globalization and the hegemony of finance and international finance capital have embarked on a policy paradigm which today finds them at war with their own people. With an economy which is at the brink – not just all across the United States but all over in many countries of the developed world – the people are on the streets. They celebrate the arrival of the 99 per cent. Libya was not about the ‘triumph of democracy’ and the dismantling of a ‘dictatorship’ it was about greed of the empire. The current defining feature which characterizes the empire’s every contemporary move marks their zealous enthusiasm for the control of natural resources – particularly energy resources. So, Iraq was all about oil – and so is Libya. Libya has the highest oil deposits in Africa and 9th highest in the whole of the world. The empire thinks that to contain the present financial and economic crisis that sweeps North America and most of Western Europe, physical control over the oil resources of the extended Arab world is absolutely imperative. And additionally, with such pressures on the US dollar this control over crude oil deposits – it could make a hell of a difference in releasing the pressure on the green back.

Therefore, come what may, the military expedition should go on – regardless of the forces they unleash and regardless of its impact on the people in Iraq or in Libya. The NTC in Libya is a conglomeration of disparate forces. Even through the closely filtered information coming out through the western mainstream media – the truth cannot be completely concealed. Among the commanders who ‘enrich’ the galaxy of the ranks of fighters for democracy are people with self-claimed Al Qaeda connections. These were people who were earlier released by the Gaddafi regime to dispel the notion that it was persecuting the opposition. President Obama surely has no qualms. But history will be testimony to the tragedy that Libya will be faced with for times to come. And perhaps, the American people, the western world and all those who cherish the values of a modern human civilization would find that greed for control over resources of an independent country has unleashed forces belonging to medieval ages who are running berserk. Today, that eventuality may suit the immediate interests of the empire. But future will show that it hurts everybody – including well meaning majority of the US citizenry.

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