A system “that stands as the ultimate rebuke to Gaddafi’s dictatorship” By Kiflu Hussain
The ubiquitous Americans as introductory remarks
For the second time in my exile life, a fellow refugee broke important news to me while I was taking a brief respite from news outlets. Thus, my compatriot called and advised me to tune in for a breaking news on Col.Muammar Gaddafi.He did the same thing in 2009, albeit he was a harbinger of sad news then by breaking the demise of a renowned Ethiopian musician called Tilahun Gesesse.
And so, I turned on my TV whereupon I found CNN live on WBS.Just as I predicted in my piece “Benghazi; Libyans in rebellion mood in the spirit of Omar Mukhtar”, the news almost confirmed what I concluded in February that “his end/Gaddafi’s/along with his sons can be much the same like Saddam Hussein.” Since it didn’t require clairvoyance or an IQ of a rocket scientist, numerous other scribes too opined to this effect.
Consequently, therefore, I began to watch to the news thinking that nothing would pique my interest like the initial stages of the Arab Spring which elicited a series of missives from my laptop. However, the time it took to confirm his capture or death; and later the conflicting reports about how he died along with the entire circumstances immediately before his capture; and the worldwide reactions it generated prompted me to pitch in again.
As the news of the ignominious end about the flamboyant colonel finally sunk in, my mind inordinately went back to one incident which the world little noticed, nor cared about. It occurred in Ethiopia during the height of the civil war wherein the secessionist insurgents, Eritrea and Tigray “liberation” fronts closed in on Col.Mengistu Hailemariam.Mengistu was considered as the archenemy of Western civilization, not because he brutalized Ethiopians but because he allied with Soviet Union during the era of the cold war, thus denying the West hegemonic advantages. Typical of a megalomaniacal dictator who cringes with abject cowardice when the day of reckoning strikes, Mengistu was desperately looking for an exit in May 1991. Unlike his peers who fell before and after him such as Samuel Doe of Liberia and now Gaddafi, he was the second despot next to Idi Amin who was smart enough to grab the first chance that provided an opportunity to escape with life and limb. Interestingly, during the final hours where the state owned TV announced Mengistu’s receiving of a Zimbabwean delegation, I remember vividly seeing Robert Houdek.This bearded guy who looked like a character from the story of Vikings appeared on the screen sitting with members of the Zim delegation.Houdek was then the US Charge de affair in Ethiopia.Naturally,therefore,I muttered to myself “why did a US diplomat be with a Zimbabwean delegation at Mengistu’s office?Well,weeks later it became crystal clear that the safe passage Mengistu enjoyed to Harare was brokered by America. And now on October 18, 2011, approximately 48 hours before the intransigent Gaddafi was captured and killed, Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State made a surprise visit to Tripoli. BBC dubbed it as “the first US cabinet-level official visit since Col.Muammar Gaddafi was ousted.” During her visit she hoped aloud “diplomatically” that “Gaddafi would be captured or killed.” Sub-Saharan Africa that seems to have been created for the mere purpose of catering to the whims of powerful Western personalities, did not disappoint Madam Clinton.Hence,on October 20,Gaddafi who had been such an elusive target got captured and subsequently killed in a “crossfire.”
World reaction to Gaddafi’s capture and killing
Let me start off from my own reaction.Gaddafi along with all despots including the current one in my own country, had been amongst the detestable personalities I couldn’t stand. Yet, in contending with these devilish personalities, it’s my belief that one should always keep in mind a precept given to us by Frederick Nietzsche. He said “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.” Unfortunately, even in the United States where they pride themselves of having strong institutions capable of guaranteeing human rights including rights of suspects at all times—repeat at all times, we witnessed egregious torture and extra-judicial killing with impunity. Remember how terror suspects had been tortured at Guantanamo Bay while being denied a day in court? Remember how the Bush/Cheney clan outsourced their “enhanced interrogation techiniques”to tyrannical regimes known for their depravity? Remember how the Obama administration chose to liquidate Osama bin Laden knowing fully well that he was unarmed, defenceless and with no manifestation of resisting arrest? Worse, his body was dumped into the sea stripping all burial rights from his family. In the process, the international law that requires autopsy on persons who died in violence such as this one was disregarded.
Against this backdrop, there came Gaddafi’s and his offspring’s inevitable end expedited by none other but themselves. Be that as it may, it became clear from the footages unfolding slowly that Gaddafi was very much alive, notwithstanding the minor injury he seemed to have sustained.Reportedly,he even pleaded for his life at some point. One can infer from this that his son too might have been in the same or even better condition at the time of capture.Yet,they both died in circumstances whose account is becoming more sordid by the day. No matter how sordid and contradictory the accounts are, all indications are pointing to the direction that Gaddafi was not killed by a stray bullet in crossfire. Rather he was executed in a manner that satisfied the vengeful mind of both the Libyan rebels and their NATO allies, especially the people in the Obama administration who wants to be seen as atoning for the blood of the victims of the Pan Am bombing at Lockerbie. It is recallable how President Barack Obama and Premier David Cameron denounced the decision of Scotland to release Abdel Basset Ali-al-Megrahi.He was a Libyan secret agent convicted of planning the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 that killed 270 people out of whom 189 were Americans. Anyone familiar with the story of Orlando Bosch, a Cuban exile who died recently in America despite a track record of terrorism in his background, would find the brazenness of American officials to criticize Scotland over Megrahi baffling, to say the least. Among the litany of terrorist acts to Bosch’s credit was the bombing of a Cuban commercial aircraft in 1976.Seventy three civilian passengers perished. He allegedly plotted the bombing in Washington D.C under the direction of or with the knowledge of a CIA agent. Yet, George Bush, the father not the son, against the opinion of his own Attorney General and FBI, pardoned this dude and allowed him to enjoy life in the United States until the day he was summoned by his maker. Incidentally, Bush was a top brass in the CIA when Orlando Bosch did a series of dirty works as an Operative of CIA.
Coming back to Gaddafi, he had succeeded around 2003 to mend fences with the Western world by toning down his anti-imperialist/Zionist rhetoric.Accordingly, he easily clinched a series of deals, thanks to the perennial gargantuan oil need of his counterparts.Unfortunately,it didn’t last long.Incredibly, Libyans too inspired by their Tunisian and Egyptian neighbors whose revolt was sparked off by the self-immolation of a hitherto nobody Mohammed Bouaziz, followed suit and rose up against their ruler. The West, mainly the Americans, that had already buried the hatchet for the sake of lucrative business, would have continued to side with Gaddafi, had the resolve of Libyans been weak.Yet, in a manner that took everybody by surprise, Libyans were determined. To his own detriment, the man with the Green Book who had been accustomed to a demi-god status for so long couldn’t appreciate the magnitude of the wrath of his own people. He called them rats and cockroaches whom he threatened to wipe off the face of the earth.Personally,I had no doubt in my mind that Gaddafi was capable of committing a crime of genocide wherefore I differ for the first time from the journalist I admire; John Pilger.In his recent piece titled “The Son of Africa claims a Continent’s Jewels”Pilger made it sound like Gaddafi’s threat against Libyans was “a fabricated story” intended by US or NATO to make China evacuate its 30,000 workers from the oil rich Benghazi. It’s simplistic to assume that China poses as a formidable rival to the West without having a solid intelligence service that’s capable of verifying information; especially information coming from its rival. The bare fact is Gaddafi was a rabid dog one should have done anything to avoid being bitten by him. The Chinese knew it too, hence they packed and left. Having said that, however, does not mean that I bought the idea that NATO’s intervention was to protect Libyans from impending genocide or to help them build a democratic society. It dawned on US and its allies that the showdown between Gaddafi and his subjects was a deadly one with all the makings of a long drawn-out war unless help is given to one side to tilt the balance of power thereby clearing the coast for a smooth flow of oil. Since supporting Gaddafi was costly for various reasons; and since Libyans too made it clear to all and sundry that they would no longer be ruled by him, the West after having done its usual ruthless analysis dispatched its war machinery on the side of the “rebels.” In other words, it’s just a case of “power respects only greater power.” Libyans just like their Egyptian counterparts had proved themselves as power entity to be reckoned with, unlike the people of Bahrain whose uprising seem to have fizzled out. Incidentally, since the liquidation of Gaddafi, some Middle East commentators confined themselves to citing Yemen and Syria as the only remaining ones in the Arab Spring to succeed in unseating the old order. Bahrain for the most part has been consciously and conspicuously omitted from being mentioned in the mainstream media.Also while the people’s movement is more ripe in Yemen than Syria, you get to hear a lot of negativities about the regime in Syria.Certainly, it’s difficult to recall a scenario in Sana’a where the United States ambassador got cozy with the Yemeni opposition like his colleague in Damascus did with Assad’s nemesis.
Speaking about media, next to CNN, I switched to BBC since it’s available in Kampala on FM station round the clock.Naturally; I heard a lot of comment on the programme that was on the air before Focus on Africa. One comment read from the BBC face book page sort of said “Gaddafi’s death should serve as an eye opener to overstaying dictators such as Mugabe.” Encouraged by this, I too texted to Focus on Africa collating Gaddafi’s disgraceful end with the situation in my homeland like Chris Obore, a Ugandan journalist who did the same the next day in his typical down-to-earth fashion in one of my favorite programme, Panel of Journalists on KFM.And so, I indicated in my SMS that what happened to Gaddafi is “one more wake up call to the remaining dictators such as Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.” I also pointed out that the global powers that prop up dictators; those sycophants that flatter and make dictators believe that they’re invincible will not only abandon their masters at critical moments. But also hasten their ignominious end like Gaddafi.Well; since Zenawi has been doing well by only displacing indigenous Africans from their ancestral land in exchange for foreign land grabbers, unlike Mugabe who dared to expropriate land from former white colonialists, texts like mine stand no chance in the Bush House. That’s of course, until we Ethiopians prove ourselves as a force to be reckoned with.
On the other hand, even after proving oneself as a viable force of alternative, there are challenges that people in Africa and the Middle East will face for a long time. And that is the global powers, especially the West will never relent their effort to tame any ambition that’s desirous of achieving an equitable system for the full control of ones resources.Hence, they will use everything at their disposal starting from hijacking genuine people’s movements; sowing discord between them; promoting vengeance subtly while preaching dictums to their peers from Roosevelt’s “More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginnings of all wars.” While America and its allies helped Europe including Nazi Germany to its feet at the conclusion of WWII through Marshal Plan; and while these same Westerns never called for the blood of anyone in the Eastern Bloc after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, they encouraged Kangaroo courts established by victors such as the one in Ethiopia to witch-hunt former officials, members of the entire armed forces and other dissidents. From this perspective, therefore, the call Washington has made for an investigation after the deliberate execution of Gaddafi and his son along with the 53 other pro-Gaddafi Libyans whose summary execution Human Rights Watch exposed, as usual cannot be taken seriously. Also Obama’s “exhortation” to Libyans to come up with a system that is capable of standing “as the ultimate rebuke to Gaddafi’s dictatorship” cannot escape from being regarded as another fine speech but hollow rhetoric.Incidentally,the need to kill guys like Gaddafi,bin Laden and the like doesn’t only stem from vengeance. The motive to silence them so that they won’t stand a chance to utter in an impartial tribunal like Julius Caesar “Even you, Brutus!” cannot be ruled out.
An Ethiopian Human Rights Defender exiled in Uganda