Libya in Blood, Italy unmoved
Libya is in blood. Gadaffi is killing his own people. The wave of Arab Democratic Revolutions will be one daystudied in history books and their transition in political science. And so will be studied the response of the democracies. One of them shines so bright at this moment – Italy saw nothing wrong in the mass killings on squares in Bengazi and Tripoli.
The response of Italy, the closest Europeanneighbour of Libya was: let Gadaffi do good and he will make constitutional reforms. In the words of Italy’s foreign minsiter and (oh, such a shame) EU’s former deputy president of the Comission Franco Frattini:
“Italy as you know is the closest neighbour of both Tunisia and Libya so we are extremely concerned about the repercussions on the migratory situation in the southern Mediterranean,”
Appealing. This is all I can say.
Hours after this statement Gadaffi’s sent military aviation against the protesters, bombing his own people and his capital at random.
You will not find a human rights activist that has not been calling Libya’s madman to step down. In the last years he has been trying to trick the democratic world and re-establish good relations through lucrative defence contracts. Countries with strong oil-exploration and extraction industries bought it. France, notably, got very lucrative defence contracts. So now this great country can boost for having its Mirage fighters shoot civilians from the deadly sky above Tripoli.
Not only Gadaffi should go, but also Frattini and Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg who also refused to condemn Gadaffi’ s handling of the crisis. It is time to learn that those who allow themselves to get corrupted by dictators will go with them. Sooner or later.
Democracy cannot be bought off. Only greedy politicians and those who do not have the 85 IQ to understand that stability without democracy is short-sighted and that in the long run stability cannot exist without democracy and freedom. This is the best crisis management tool.
Read on about Libya’s state of freedoms and European shameless support for it (as of Sep 2009)
It has been more than 40 years since the socialist-nationalist-Islamic revolution in Libya, which brought to the top the eccentric colonel Muamar Gaddafi. Since then the country has sank in the arbitrary rule of a small circle close to the leader. As many other states who take pride in their “rule by the people for the people”, the North African country also subdued to harsh and authoritarian practices. Just to mention a few instances, political association is punished with long prison sentences or even capital punishment, while peaceful protests against the government result in forced disappearance. Female victims of abuse and violence are detained in prison-like rehabilitation centers. On top of that the country suffers trade and arms embargos because of its blunt and intimidating anti-Western policies, including sponsored terrorist attacks.
Recently the undemocratic regime in Libya has shown some willingness to change and restored diplomatic relations with US and other countries. The UN also lifted the trade embargo after Libya took the responsibility for the Lockerbie terrorist attack. But how much can a sworn despot really change? Does admitting after 10 years that you ordered the murder of over 200 innocent people reconcile you with the international community? Or it is the cynical package deal for lives, military trade agreements and lucrative oil contracts that does so?
Let’s not be deluded so easily – Muamar Gaddafi is still the same despotic leader who wrote the Green Book of political inspirations for his nation 40 years ago. He only sometimes puts on sheep’s clothing in international negotiations. Sometimes.
Last week he embarrassed Switzerland one more time by not letting 2 Swiss citizens and former detainees leave the country. They had been detained with no charges for about a year as a response to the arrest of Gaddafi’s son in Switzerland last summer. He was then charged with physical assault and later released on bail – a normal situation in a country with respect for human rights and the rule of law. The Libyan leader however called this a provocation and demanded that Switzerland’s political leadership overrule the independent judiciary. The Swiss president had to apologize for this recently, but it was not enough and the Swiss were only released from prison, but not granted exit visas.
We should not forget how last week the Lockerbie bomber al-Megrahi was welcomed in Libya as a hero, after having been sentenced for the terrorist act in 1988. By the time Gaddafi took the responsibility for the deadly blast, he was committing another terrorist act. Between 1999 and 2007 five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were detained, tortured and twice sentenced to death for supposedly deliberately starting an HIV epidemic. Although numerous international HIV experts proved that the epidemic had started due to poor sanitation in hospitals and before the convicts even arrived to the country, Libya only released them after gaining international trade concessions.
So the morals: authoritarians do not change easily. After 40 years Gaddafi keeps on tantalizing the world with his cheap tricks. And he even dares blackmail democratic countries to abandon their principles. This does not deserve trade contracts and lifting sanctions, but out loud condemnation.