Gaddafi Should Step Down Gently to Allow Political Reforms in Libya


I disagree with people who argue that the international community should have let the Libyans deal with Muamar Gaddafi in their own time, their own way because this argument means that the atrocities committed by him didn’t amount him to a global criminal. If anything,we should not support any despots that shoot protesters in the streets if we are to change the face of the world for better. The ‘big boys’ should also not be sending military aid anymore to such leaders who crack down on the changers or demonstrators. The ‘small boys’ should also be encouraged to spend more on developmental projects instead of the military hardware, afterall, whatever they buy can easily be destroyed by the ‘big boys’ in case of a war, for less than 4 days as we have seen in Libya.

The war in Libya is not over yet, and if the Libyans can eventually get rid of Gaddafi themselves without excessive bloodshed that would be the best outcome. Actually I do have some sympathy with that argument(Libyans getting rid of Gadafi themselves) but bear in mind that tyrants like making it difficult for outsiders to build a clear picture of what is happening inside their countries. That way some may say things like “maybe those inside [insert tyranny here] are making it up” and use that as an excuse for inaction. Also let us bear in mind that there is more at stake here than just Libya. If Gaddafi’s brutal methods for crushing the revolt succeeded where the comparatively less brutal approach failed in Tunisia and Egypt it might have given other despots in Africa and Arab world the wrong idea.

Libya and Qaddafi have been the finest example of terrorism as long as I can remember. Gaddafi used to send mercenaries in the 1980s to kill his opponents abroad. Lots of people were lost in the Scotland plane. Some people may have the goldfish-like memory that would allow them to forget Libya and Qaddafi’s terrorist history, but hopefully most good people do not. US’s Reagan bombed Colonel Gaddafi some years ago, and in response Colonel Gaddafi blew up a 747 and killed hundreds of civilians. Colonel Gaddafi has never been punished in any way for those murders.

There is a paradoxical argument that the Americans and British are in Libya because of oil, which looks so true, but at the same time I think there is a humanitarian side to this story. The people of Libya need the ‘big boys’ to help them become free. Everybody wants to feel free in their home countries. Yes, Gaddafi has done a lot of good things economically for the Libyans but at the same time he has chained them politically. There is no political freedom in Libya and I think this is the reason why they are fighting him. I equate this situation to a woman married to a billionaire but when she is not free in her house. In most cases, such a woman tend to be miserable and can easily cheat on her husband with a poor man. So, going to war with Libya involves toppling yet another of the dictator dominoes who was actively butchering his own people!

I was worried when the international community delayed coming out with an agreement on no-fly zone. It seemed as though all the EU leadership bodies had regressed into becoming The League of Nations all over again: Ineffectual, bumbling, mumbling, endless discussions of definitions and little or no action on anything at all, more like our African Union (AU). Libya was burning, the people crying out for help, but AU was doing nothing at all. They have only come put recently mainly to criticise the actions of the ‘big boys’ through press statements because that is what they are good at.

Yes, the ‘big boys’ should stop their double standards when it comes to solving conflicts in Africa and Middle East. For instance, Hussein the late king of Jordan killed about 20,000 Palestinians (according to Yasser Arafat) in the Black September massacre of 1970 but The Western “liberals” did or said nothing in condemnation. Hafez Hassad of Syria in 1982 massacred 30 to 40 thousand of his own people in the city of Hama but again the ‘’corrupt’’ UN was silent. In September 2009, President Museveni ordered the killing of 33 demonstrators but nothing was done by the ‘big boys’. Then there were the horrendous African massacres like Rwanda and Darfur with nothing being done by the sententious UN and EU.

Personally, I can only excuse the Americans on non-interference in only one country, which is Saudi Arabia. As a Muslim, I believe that an overthrow of the Saudi government by the US or UN would be greeted with ‘issues’ due to the two holiest cities being in Saudi Arabia, one of which non-Muslims are not even allowed to enter. But I don’t feel the same about Libya despite what Gaddafi has done for Muslims in Africa. I confess that I don’t want Gaddafi to die like Saddam Hussein because he is a fellow Muslim and he has done a lot for Africans but he should step down gently and set Libyans free. 42 years in power is such a long time without political freedom.

It’s easy for some people to take a hollistic view and blame the USA, France and Britain but we don’t know what would have happened had they adopted a no-interference policy. The most important thing today is to prevent them to intervene with some lame excuse in future conflicts, like in Iraq, to cover-up stealing of oil. At least, this time they went through proper channels before they intervened in Libya and this was very remarkable. We don’t want UN to be used by them in the same way Russia used to in the 1960s.In 1969 socialist Russia was pursuing a policy of stirring up problems all over the world, using the united nations as a surrogate.

The latest reports coming from Libya sound more hopeful but the question we should ask ourselves is: what happens when the bombing ends and Gaddafi is or isn’t still in power?

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba
United Kindom

press release on Tropical Bank 25 March 2011

Comments

10 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. mubezi dan,

    i thank lybia’s president has seen how the mwanainji is tormented and since those are his mother country mates let him cool down and agree for the piece talks with the rioters for proper classification to establish the country to development and avoid miss conception by citizens and the whole human race.

  2. Fazhil,

    Assalam Alaikum Abbey.

    Allow me to disagree with you on this one.

    When 5 boys go through the classroom window and the teacher picks on the 5th boy only, beats him into comma. One can ask, why only him? It would be absurd to argue that “just because the first four were not punished does not make the 5th one right”. Nobody has said the 5th boy is right, but the big question remains: Is going through the window the cause? NO, it can’t be, otherwise, the other 4 would have received an equal reprimand.

    Therefore, if up to now you were genuinely convinced that there is a humanitarian side to the coalition intervention in Libya, it is not yet too late to re-align your mindset. America and Europe do not and will never care how many Africans or Asians have died and how they have died. Their bombing of Libya is a purely political, economic and strategic move which unfortunately has been so carefully wrapped in a humanitarian package.

    · If you think ‘Libya and Gadaffi are the finest example of terrorism’, i must say you have not done the reading exhaustively. Firstly, the question of terrorism doesn’t arise because that is not the reason they claim they are bombing Libya. But even if it did arise, did you say Gadaffi used to send mercenaries in the 1980s to kill his opponents abroad? Could you kindly mention for us some? Besides, who has killed more? Do you need to be reminded of what Kermit Roosevelt with hundreds of CIA mercenaries did in Iran in 1953 on behalf of President Eisenhower? (The good thing, this operation is officially declassified). The only difference is that when the west kills, they do it openly and legitimise it via the media. When a plane was flown into the WTC, that is terrorism but when it was flown into Gadaffi’s palace by a Kamizake defected pilot, it was “a pro democracy heroic act”.

    · The plane Gadaffi bombed in December 1988 over Lockerbie in Scotland had 270 deaths and it is not true that ‘he has never been punished for those murders’. The truth is that Libya paid USD 1.62 billion (10 million dollars per victim’s family) in exchange for the UN lifting sanctions over the country and the US lifting trade sanctions. Besides, you conveniently forget to add that it was the British government which ensured the release of the alleged bombing master planner, Abdulbasset Al Egrahi, a Libyan in what is alleged was a trade deal between Libya and the UK – another pointer to the massive hypocrisy of your so-called humanitarian powers. There has always been political intercourse between Gadaffi and Europe/west! Bomb a plane, pay us some money and we go back to business as usual!

    · In addition, Gadaffi did not do that out of the blue, first, there was the Gulf of Sidra incident (1981) when two Libyan fighter aircraft were shot down by the Americans. Then, two Libyan radio ships were sunk in the Gulf of Sidra. Later, on 23 March 1986 a Libyan Navy patrol boat was sunk in the Gulf of Sidra, followed by the sinking of another Libyan vessel on 25 March 1986.

    · But are you also aware that 4 months earlier on 3 July 1988, the USS Vincennes, in violation of Iranian territorial waters (straits of hormuz) fired a missile at Iran Air Flight 655 killing all 290 people on board? It was the highest death toll of any aviation incident in the Indian Ocean and the highest death toll of any incident involving an Airbus A300 anywhere in the world. Was Iran at war with the US? What was a US war ship doing in Iranian territorial waters? Do you know that Captain C Rogers III, the commanding officer responsible for the deaths of 290 civilians was awarded the ‘Legion of Merit’ “for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as commanding officer … from April 1987 to May 1989” notwithstanding that horrendous act of murder?

    · Why is the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 an act of terrorism but the downing of Iran Air Flight 655 “exceptional meritorious conduct”? Do you still think that the west cares about civilian deaths? (to be fair to the Americans, they paid 61.8 million dollars for the 248 Iranians killed – compare that 250,000 USD per death to the 10 million USD per death that Gadaffi paid).

    · I am sceptical about the use of the term ‘international community’ because it is a vague expression. 10 countries do not speak for the world, especially when you and i know that the UN and its security council are controlled by a number much less than 10. You remember when Israel bombed Palestine in 2009 (including the use of phosphorus on civilians, something that is outlawed under international law for use on even enemy soldiers) but when the Security Council drafted a resolution to (imagine) ‘to condemn Israel’s actions’, the US vetoed that resolution.

    · If like you said, tyrants make it very difficult to know what exactly is happening inside their countries, then you should not conclude based on everything you see on CNN bearing in mind that its not based on full information. Whereas they tell us snipers are shooting randomly at Libyans, it could actually be that they are shooting armed rebels but the propaganda machine that is CNN, BBC and Sky News is just doing what they normally do (swear to the world that there are WMDs in Iraq!). This is a man who abolished UK and US airbases from his country, do not expect that they will speak kindly about him.

    · The question ‘why haven’t they intervened in Ivory coast, Bahrain, etc’ is one that very many of you conveniently sweep under the carpet with a simplistic assertion that ‘but that does not make their intervention in Libya wrong’. Why shouldn’t it make it wrong? Abbey that is a simple question but one which has a most complex answer. Unless you can find a convincing explanation as to why the so-called humanitarian powers have not/never intervened in situations where the humanitarian situation was more horrible, there is every reason for any objective observer to conclude that ‘maybe humanitarianism is not the main reason’!

    · I agree we should not support any despots who shoot protesters in the streets, but Gadaffi didn’t do that. In this particular case, Gadaffi was shooting rebels; these are armed combatants who were attempting to forcefully overthrow a legitimate government. It was a legitimate government under all applicable law in Libya at the time (i hope you know that western-style democracy is not a mandatory model for the world and there can be other forms of government). FYI, there are Libyans who want change but there are also other Libyans who are satisfied with the current regime. It is like thinking that 2,000 angry youth can walk over to Nakasero and take over government and the president simply walks out, forgetting that there are millions other Ugandans out there who are comfortable with the same government. If that were the case, every gathering of 10,000 people would swiftly induce a regime change, but such needs to be dealt with and you don’t just ask them to walk away, you use force!

    · You say that ‘the powers should stop giving military assistance to such despots’ – that’s ideal, but it is wishful thinking. They will never stop that habit because they are hypocrites. They will always assist any despot as long as he does what they ask.

    · You advise that ‘African leaders should stop wasting resources on military and invest in useful infrastructure’ – but that’s what Gadaffi did! Libya had oil refineries, free education from nursery to university, the best roads, a litre of fuel cost approx 17% of what it costs in Uganda, every little thing that makes life comfortable was there and there was surplus money which could then be used to build mosques in Uganda, finance the AU and buy some good military equipment. NO Libyan has said they are dissatisfied with social service delivery in Libya, the uprising is purely political and not economic.

    In conclusion, if anyone wants to force a regime change in Libya because the regime is anti-west, to stabilise oil prices in Libya, etc let them pronounce themselves clearly. Nobody is going to be fooled into believing that the reason is to ‘save Libyan civilians’ partly because there other civilians dying elsewhere and partly because the party claiming to protect civilians is actually a cat asserting its right to protect milk.

  3. abbey Semuwemba,

    Waraikum musalamu Brother Fazhil,

    I agree with most of what you’re saying here, except your conclusion, and I’m wondering why you started your message with a statement as:’’ Allow me to disagree with you on this one.’’ Let me ask some questions, may be it may help:

    · Do you disagree that Gaddafi should step down or not?

    · Do you disagree that despite the well known ill intentions or double standards of the west, we should always accept their help,like in case of a dictator killing his own people?

    · Are you sure that USA or Britain or any of the big nations have never done any humanitarian mission in developing nations where there is no oil?

    · Would you support a leader that intentionally orders the police and army to shoot at demonstrators expressing their feelings to the govt for banning a traditional leader from travelling to Kayunga, as it happened in September 2009 in Uganda?

    Look, I’m not a pro-west activist as some of you may end up portraying me. I love my religion and my country, and I would like everybody to feel free and be able to do anything in their country without silly threats from leaders. I admit that I have got a lot of issues with most African leaders just like I have got issues with some western policies towards the developing nations.

    For instance, USA has more than 761 Military Bases across the planet. When Romans were commanding the world, they had 37 while Britain had 36. It is true that USA is building an empire around the world and some countries are gonna fall victim to this but we should not even attempt an inch to defend leaders oppressing their own people just because they are doing some good things for us. Ever since UN was formed, USA has been involved directly in wars in Iraq, Haiti, Panama, Grenada, Laos, Cambodia, North Korea, Nicaragua, Lebanon, Somalia, Dominican Republic , Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya(twice), Lebanon, North Vietnam,e.t.c. Some of these interventions are clearly because of USA interests , particulary oil, but some have helped to create better conditions for the citizens of those countries.

    Basically,all this proves that there is some ”bullying” and double standards going on in some of these interventions but we must also admit that some of these leaders where US and others have been involved in action, do not deserve to lead any human being on earth.

    Yes, I’m aware of what brother Gadafi has been doing for Muslims in Uganda and Burundi and other countries, and I’m sure the guys at old Kampala are feeling more of this saga financially than anybody else, but the guys fighting Gadafi in Benghazi are Muslims too. May be , it’s high time some Muslim leadres at old Kampala started establishing contact with the National Council in Benghazi to let them know that they have got a religious obligation to continue with Gadaffi’s financial support and pledges to Muslims in Uganda. What the outcome will be, I don’t know, but it’s not worth crying over spoilt milk.

    You ask:…. did you say Gadaffi used to send mercenaries in the 1980s to kill his opponents abroad? Could you kindly mention for us some?’’

    In 1980, Faisal Zagallai was shot at by a Libyan agent in Colarado and he ended up blind.In Britain, during anti Gadafi demonstrations, 10 Libyans were shot at by Libyan diplomats that ended with the death of a police woman, Yvonne Flecher.

    There were other plots that were foiled if you bother to do some research on your own. I know that there was a plot to kill some dissidents in Mecca in 1984 but it was foiled. Fathi Eljahmi was imprisoned in 2002, released in 2004 and ‘eliminated’ in 2009 for being a political activist.

    The truth is that Brother Gadaffi is not milk and honey. May be Libya will become more developed and better when he goes. May be Muslims will benefit more from the changes in Libya than before.

    Allah knows better. Wassalamu

    Abbey

  4. Fazhil mwesigwa,

    Wa’alaikum Ssalam Brother Abbey,

    It is good you ‘agree with most of what i said’, but interestingly disagree with the conclusion i drew there from. Now, to your questions:

    1) Yes, i disagree with the suggestion that Gadaffi should leave office under the current arrangement, merely to ‘make those who are tired of his 42 yr rule happy’. We don’t change leadership just for the sake of change. Yes, he has overstayed (i am even already tired of Museveni’s 25 yr rule, what about 42 years!) BUT, handing over power to an American or French puppet will make the Libyans worse off than they were. The most important asset to preserve, over everything else is sovereignty.

    FYI, Americans are NOT interested in Democracy in Libya or anywhere else in the world. They are interested in their own comfort and having all countries in the world under their feet and building their 762nd foreign airbase. Gadaffi had a system of directly elected councils from village to national level (the head of state is then elected by representatives of the people’s congresses). I too have my doubts whether the system was transparent all through (which country in Africa conducts free and fair elections anyway?). But isn’t that better than Brunei, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland, and Western Sahara where there are NO elections whatsoever and all positions are on appointment by the monarch?

    Why is Qatar in bed with the Americans bombing Libya to establish ‘political freedom’ when there has never been a sham semblance of an election over there? And they are stupid enough not to see that they will probably be next!

    2) Yes, we should never accept (i don’t want to call it ‘help’) because it is not and will never be help! The west does not ‘help us overthrow dictators’. They help themselves consolidate their position over the world, and if by coincidence it involves murdering an anti-west pan-African leader, they conveniently call it ‘help’.

    In 1954, Kermit Roosevelt and a bunch of CIA & MI6 agents overthrew a democratically elected government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq and replaced it with a dictatorship of Mohammad-Rezā Shāh Pahlavi that marked 25 years of no elections and daily killing of civilians until the 1979 revolution when Iranians took back their country. The reason Mosaddeq was overthrown was because he nationalised the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company that was stealing from Iranians (giving the govt less than 20% of profit on Iranian Oil and did not allow government any access to their audited accounts to verify their due share).

    Madeleine Albright and Barack Obama are the ONLY 2 senior Americans ever to ‘come close’ to apologising for this unfortunate disruption to Iranian democracy by a power that claims to stand for democracy the world over.

    Therefore, the west will remove a dictator if it suits their interests (Gadaffi, saddam) and they will install one (Pahlavi) if it also furthers their interests. Where there is no clear gain, they will just sit back (Kenya, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe). They will supply guns to dictators (Saudi Arabia, Qatar) when it serves them better. Etc. You should not be ‘fooled’ during those few instances when they remove dictators into believing that they did it on principle. No, they always do it for convenience.

    3) If ever those countries undertook a humanitarian mission in a developing nation where there was no oil, there was another strategic reason for doing so. Nobody said they always act for oil; they also act when it involves eliminating Islam, building coalitions for future lobbying, etc. Can you compare for me the level of awareness creation and humanitarian campaigns that were run by the west when Haiti was hit by a natural catastrophe and those that were run when Pakistan was hit?

    4) No, i would never support a leader who shoots at demonstrators expressing their feelings to the govt for banning a traditional leader from travelling to Kayunga, or asking for a 42 year old regime to institute reforms. (But paradoxically, why would the Kabaka want to impose his rule over the Banyaala in Kayunga (the Benghazi of Buganda) when they are OK with their own king, a Sabanyala? That’s off the point though.). However, if those demonstrators overrun a barracks and arm themselves, they become rebels and i deal with them the way governments deal with rebels. If the annoyed youth start walking towards Nakasero to overthrow a ‘legitimate’ government under applicable law, i deal with them the way insurrectionists are dealt with.

    Abbey, freedom is not absolute. There is nowhere in the world where freedom is uncensored, the degree of censorship varies across countries and it is unreasonable to expect that the same rights people enjoy in America should exactly be the same rights people enjoy in the rest of the world. Holland allows people to dress anyhow, Saudi Arabia prescribes dress. UK allows people to insult the PM, Uganda does not.

    All my adult life, i have never voted NRM. I even confessed to my wife that i attempted to tick a certain NRM candidate because he was Muslim but ‘my hand failed’ and we laughed about it. However, whereas 2 million people may want Besigye as their president, 3 million people (after allowing for all alleged theft) want Museveni as their leader. This, coupled with the fact that the law allows for it, makes it justified for the government to shoot dead 5,000 people attempting to overthrow it – whether women, children or men. This is because they are trampling onto the rights of others. Therefore, people who take it upon themselves to disguise as demonstrators and overrun a government will always get fired at – anywhere in the world.

    5) Tell me of a country (among those you mentioned America has gone to war) where that war by America “has helped to create better conditions for the citizens of those countries” like you explained. Iraq? North Korea? Lebanon? Somalia? Dominican Republic? Afghanistan? Sudan? Serbia? Bosnia? Kosovo? Libya(twice)? Vietnam where 2 million lives were lost? You sincerely do not want to see Libya like any of the countries you gave as examples, do you?

    Allah knows best what is good for Libya, and like you said, ‘maybe Libyans will be better off under a new arrangement’ BUT the history of such aggression has shown that Libya will become Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Serbia, etc and as such, our scepticism is totally justified.
    My warmest regards,
    Fazhil.

  5. amisa kayondo,

    Haji Abey, pliz explain in some detail on the term international
    community and where it applies.
    Libya did not bomb the belin discotheque that let to its bombardment
    by Ro-Mad Reagan and his sex mate, Britain’s Mad-grate thartchesque.
    secondly, Libya Embassy staff were not involved in the killing of a
    british police woman Evon Fletcher. i was in london in the late 90;s
    and watched a doccumentaly on the BBC which absolved the libyans, and
    there is a gentleman in Australia who witnesed her madder by Mosad and
    The CIA with cnivennce of British MI6. and lastly, Al Maghrahi nor
    Libya was never involved in the Pan Am bombing. thats why one of the
    judges at the trial resigen saying that the conviction was more
    political than legal and urgued that no one should be convicted on
    circumstancial evidence. these are arguments for another day.
    amisa/Rahim

  6. Raja Kikuma,

    May I come in here?
    I would like to give my quick responses to these questions much as they are meant for brother Fadhil.

    1. Of course Gaddafi should not step down. If he does, Libya will go to the dogs.
    2. Why should we accept “help” from people whose intentions we know are evil? You mention ill intentions and double standards.
    3. ‘Dictator killing his own people’ is what the imperialists say. The question is is it the truth. I think Gaddafi is not a fool to kill his own people. His people are still with him. They are converging in his compound I personally have not had reports of him shooting at them. These are his people. So what “his own people are you talking about?”
    If you are talking about the gun wielding former Quantanamo Bay detainees paid by the crusaders to kill Gaddafi; those are not Gaddafi’s people. They are Obama’s people. They are US citizens with US passports. Obama knows them personally. Many of them are now in Libyan custody.
    5. They have never done any humanitarian mission any where in the developing world. And what they are doing in Libya is NOT a humanitarian mission. It is a crusader mission. It a mission against a strong Muslim leader who wants a stronger Africa. It is a mission for oil.
    May be it is high time we really came down to understanding what a humanitarian mission is? I do not think it is about indiscriminate bombing and killing on a large scale.
    By the way, the purpose of the so called humanitarian mission as you call it was to stop Libya Aircrafts from fly over Libya, not to kill Libyans and destroy Libya’s infrastructure. Not even a Libya soldier should be killed by these killing machines.
    The west has never and will never do anything unless it gets something in return. It may not be oil. It may be an opportunity to destroy or weaken Islam, to get access to a sea port or any other valuable mineral. They always have a materialistic motive behind their moves.

    I leave the last question to the forum because it seems to be about Uganda here.

  7. KIWANUKA SSENOGA,

    You all have good points and indeed persuasive arguments. so at the threat of appearing irrelevant, let me try to give my own perspective.

    it is true the western allies are after Libyan oil. It is also true that they are not there because they love Libyans but because they love the Libyan oil. But we must ask DO THESE DOUBLE STANDARDS STRIP THE WHOLE MISSION OF ITS HUMANITARIAN CHARACTER?

    We must remmeber that the ultimate “excuse” for invading Libya was the Nd which was given by Arab countries for the UN to authorise the no-fly zone project. How come we now blame only the Americans and neither of the Arab countries? Before this campaign was started, the American generals made it absolutely clear that enforcing a no-fly zone amounts to a full millitary operation. some circles within the American “Cheeriocracy” even openly observed that the ultimate objective of the mission in Libya would be a regime change. When all these signals were sent out what did the Muslim countires do about it? NOTHING. the Arab ountries just gave a nod for a no fly zone. so if we are to blame Americans et al for their Hypocrisy, then arent they better hypocites than ourselves?

    we all know that the cost of any humanitarian mission is immense. if this was an individual choice, such operations would ultimately be directed to areas where either the cost was far low or areas where the cost of such a mission would ultimately be recovered. This is what the Americans are doing.These guys are from a recession(or still in one depending on which school of thought you ascribe to). do you honestly believe they would spend their dime anywhere without the hope of recovering it? i guess not.Neither would you. But lets not assume that their humanitarian tendencies are tied purely on oil. if this was the case, these fellas would already have invaded Sudan by now under the flag of Humanitarian assistance in Darfur.

    i know Ghadaffi is a darling to many muslim including myself. but we also need to acknowledge that what Ghaddafi did was wrong. totally wrong. you dont just fire live bullets amongs civillians simply because you can. you dont just go on national television and declare a cleasing campaign of all houses and streets in Libya simply because you can. Human life in whatever form must be respected without any qualification. i particularly dont ascribe to the notion that simply because people were protesting and trying to topple a regime then they should be fired at. For God’s sake do you even hear youself say those words? Have you ever heard of the notion “excessive force?” well i have heard of that notion and i will tell you how it works. Simply because one man has pulled out a stick and declares his intention to kill does not give you reason or justification to pull out a Gun and shoot him. that is the worst form of humanity i have ever known. if crowds gather in libya to topple a government, then there are less violent means to keep these crowds at bay. Must i point out that the millitary’s core duty is to defend the nation NOT THE REGIME while the issues of law and order are for the police. if there are demonstrations, then send out the police to stop them. if the police fails then send out the millitary to restrain them but not to disperse them. Crowd control and in this instance Dispersing of crowds, once entrusted to the millitary, then live bullets wil come one. that is why i have used the words restrain and not disperse. if these two methods fail, then sure as hell you know that your regime has lost legitimacy and you need to go. but issuing such blankent and blunt statements that “you don’t just ask them to walk away, you use force!” is the worst form of humanity and democratic dispensation. If you believe the way to go is to use force, wait till this phenomena is applied in you home town, to your own relative, sons or daughters. maybe that is when you will appreciate that nothing is worth human life.

    Finally i may sound naive but i must ask- those who believe that the coalition is doing the wrong thing kindly advise us on what should have been done. do you really mean to say that ghadaffi should have gone ahead to kill Libyans(Rwanda style) without the international community doing a thing?You may say that ghaddafi was killing rebels who were armed. It is true rebels were armed in benghazi but they were not in tripoli. why were people killed in tripoli? in any case, the shooting started in benghazi way before the protesters ever took arms. the protesters actually took arms after massive defections by the Libyan millitary.

    In any case, i find oil a small price to pay for the protection of human life. If ghaddaffi loves Libya the way he claims he does, then after 40 years in power he should be able to gracefully leave office. His actions of killings innocents civilians are actions of a very selfish person and a pure despot who must leave office. If muslims want to control their own destiny, they should take charge of their own affairs and stop the habit of waiting till the western powers have acted so that they can condemn them.

    Kiwanuka M. Ssenoga

  8. Yusuf Serunkuma,

    Thanks Brother Abbey,

    It is a very tight corner that Gaddafi plunged the world into when he quelled dissent brutally! Although if we were senstive enough, and if we cared to read, at least Richard Faulk, “it is probable that the revolters had weapons from day one, and Gaddafi had the legitimate right to defend his country.” All this may be specualtion! But if you visted history and look at the politics that sorrounded the Iran CIA coup in 1953, you may be mazed by how strange things can be and how naive the media can be! Brother Abbey, if I were bitter with your article, I would have quoted Ebenezer Scrouge and shouted, “bah and hamburg” but I am not. Forgive me my brother, I am bitter with the west, and I maybe with you, at the end of the stream!

    Let me start with making some clarificatons on war and violence: Perhaps it is here that you showed your emotinal imbalance and well, forgive the term, some naivity. It is a sad fact that war is good for growth and security. War cliams lives whichever direction it emerges from, be it from a tyrant or a military interventionist! There’s difference to it though, a tyrant does it for his very country, while a interventionist does it for humanity, as they often claim, and then the strategic interests of that his descendant country. This is why the American congress was asking Barack Obama to tell them about the American interests in Libya! Of course Congress was being naive to, for America’s foreign policy has been as if its life is powerd by overthrowing Gaddafi. At least Obama confessed this while in Chile. But again, let me ask, do you think the west or UN is doing this for free!? The imbalance aside, (because even the American have tilted the scale ro faviour the rebels) who should effect regime change in an independent country? I do not know if it easy to have the west stop meddling in a countries politics after halping one group acquire the presidence
    You write that Gaddafi has been one of the leading world terrorists. Agreed, and this has been so bad about him. But I seem not to understand your later clarification on American terror which makes Iraq, Vietnam, Palestine, Somalia look like small inconviniences. Now, if you are unware, America during the gulf war used weapons of mass destruction, starting from using sanctions against medicines for children to Napalm and Mark 77. Israel killed 1400 civillians in the 2008 shelling of Palestines, and these were no humans!? For me, as I read your article, killing is not the big deal, I am just bothered by the way you treat them as if they were small things when done to countries where leaders have been portrayed by western media as despotic. And what makes a regime bad? Being undemocratic!? Is democracy the other term for growth, human rights, justice, opportunities, security! Come on!

    This takes me to the other point, intervention. Of course, this is not an atempt to condone Gadafi’s highhandedness, he has been both good and bad. As all other leaders across the world have been. But if wanton killing of humans is the cause, then you surely have no point, plainly everyone is killing!

    Intervention: this approach looks at the numbers of the dead, but does not interrogate the issues at hand. I suppose your thought that there should e intrevention is borne of the fact that you have been anglofied a great deal, and you think the west ought to come and save Africa. The same is the talk behind the aid loby. I hope you are no beneficiary! Abbey, who has asked and answered why a section of Libyans were protesting, away from condemning Gaddafi’s long spell in office, and do you think Gaddafi has been rullling his country only by dissent? No, by consent, too.

    This is the mistake that Americans did with Somalia, and now, it is close to two decades, and this country is known for exporting piracy and terrorism. It is the highest level of carelessness too treat western powers as if they were God’s hand punishing evil on earth!

    Let me finish on this. I am a Muslim, and if elections are the key markers of a democracy, the way I have seen them happen in the west and Africa, I do not think then Islam is democratic! Anyway, I didn’t take part in any election to decide on how many times I should pray, but I think five is best! We will expound this if we find time, insha Allah! But, briefly, Islam is a religion governed by knowledge, not mass appeal! Those who know better, the words of Allah and the world, provide leadership and the criteria of selection is is very clear.

    Let me stop here, for there are so many reasons we can nullify intervention in Libya, just that we are not as powerful as the west is–especially America, and we do not have much power in the media. Of course if Libya were to be as strong as China, there would have been some thought before intervention. China drove tanks over its citizens one time. I do not remember where NATO was.

    Try to read harder brother Abbey, especially world history! Forgive my language, I told you I’m bitter!

    Yusuf

  9. abbey Semuwemba,

    Brother Yusuf,

    Thanks for yours below.

    You write:’’ Although if we were senstive enough, and if we cared to read, at least Richard Faulk, “it is probable that the revolters had weapons from day one, and Gaddafi had the legitimate right to defend his country.”

    Now that is pure speculation because this is not something that has been verified by anybody up to now, something you also seem to agree with when you say:’’ All this may be speculation!’’.

    You ask:’’ do you think the west or UN is doing this for free’’

    Oh no. there is always a price to pay for freedom. Those advocating for the removal of dictators in Africa and Middle East, and at the same time seeking western help, should be ready to ‘pay’ something in return. The west always asks for a return on their investment in any foreign venture. In the case of Libya, therefore, it isn’t reasonable to say it has absolutely nothing to do with oil, since practically all of the ‘big boys’ politics in the Arab region revolve around keeping the crude flowing. But at the same,Let us not lose the focus of fact, that these people in Benghazi and other parts of the country are yawning for political freedom more than anything else. No argument can possibly convince conspiracy theorists but as someone who wants every Ugandan to feel free while in Uganda, I know what how much it means a lot to people pursuing this agenda.

    You write:’’……….But I seem not to understand your later clarification on American terror which makes Iraq, Vietnam, Palestine, Somalia look like small inconviniences….’’

    I hardly consider America or the west in general innocent. I try to keep a realistic attitude about most things. But I definitely come down on the side of determined military action against any leader that oppresses his people. For instance, When the US bombed the Red Cross building in Afghanistan they first claimed “human error”. But later the Senate claimed that it was on purpose because the Taliban were going into there to get food. so they bombed the place. But my major drive in all this is that everybody should be free in their country. I have no love for dictators at all whether they are fellow Muslims or not.

    Brother Gaddafi placed the target on his own head when he led a campaign to suppress any opposition in his country. I will weep no tears for his loss of power though I don’t want him to get humiliated or killed in the same way as Saddam Hussein. I do recognize that war inherently contains the irony that one cannot really remain morally pure when conducting it. I do think that the blood of civilians in Libya should be a responsibility of all forces involved in this war, and that the international forces need to win and win as quickly as possible to minimize the repercussion to innocents.

    You write: …………Of course if Libya were to be as strong as China, there would have been some thought before intervention’’.

    The big nations no longer fight their wars among themselves in the same way they fight the small nations. That is why we have got UN and other international organisations to avoid another world war. For instance, if USA is to put trade sanctions on Britain or China, it will have more effect on the leadership in Britain and China compared to the leaders in developing countries. In developing countries, sanctions means a punishment to only the poor people but it never affect the leaders themselves.

    They also do favours among themselves when it comes to taking decisons at UN.For instance, Russia and Germany may have abstained from voting for the UN resolution 1973 but they did not use their powers to veto it because they were promised something by those who voted for. This kind of word is mainly done by respective state UN ambassadors and international lobbyists. So, I don’t envisage any military intervention in China or any of the big nations as long as I live unless if we get another mad man like Hitler, again.

    Byebyo ebyange

    Abbey

  10. GADAFFI, SHOULD STEP DOWN. HE PUT HIMSELF INTO OFFICE WITH OUT THE PEOPLES APPROVAL. THE PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO PUT INTO OFFICE WHO THEY WANT.OTHERWISE GADAFFI SHOULD BE SHOT ON SITE .THIS MAN KILLED MANY PEOPLE TO GET HIS JOB.
    THE US NEEDS TO GET RID OF PEOPLE LIKE GADAFFI.

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