I saw a photograph of a piece of graffiti on a wall in Tripoli this morning. “Libya Free”, and had to shake my head in despair.
The concept of freedom is the centrepiece of all philosophy and I very much doubt whether anyone on any significantly deep level knows what freedom is. What is certain is that what was spraypainted on a wall in Tripoli represents an illusion in the mind of the spraypainter.
Freedom does not consist in killing one another, seeking vengeance, summarily executing people, torturing and screaming and dancing while firing salvos of bullets into the air. In fact it is in situations like that that Freedom is definitely not present in any form whatsoever.
Libya is in dire straits right now, they just don’t know it, and this is not a declaration of support for Ghaddafi, far, far from it. And NATO is largely responsible for the dire situation Libya is in, for the killing of thousands upon thousands of people with its airforces, making it possible for a civil war to rage where the lines are as unclear as they could possibly be.
If we were living in the days of Empire the tactic would be splendid. Arm everyone, get them to fight each other, divide and rule. Realpolitikk. There is a great deal of violence and hatred in Libya right now, and while the Libyans will be demanding hand-outs for necessities and the rebuilding of infrastructure on the one hand, they are rejecting outside interference in the form of observers. Why they refuse observers in the country is because they are a pretty violent lot and have vengeance to enact. The disparate groups making up the raggle-taggle resistance will almost certainly start fighting each other once Ghaddafi is dealt with.The country has not had democracy in living memory, there are no basic structures and systems to implement it, the people do not know what the hell it is or means or how complicated it is and how much time is needed to transform people to want it make it work. But still, assistance form the West is being rejected. Bombs and ammunition please but no observers.
It is not long ago that one witnessed massive support for Ghaddafi, where everyone was part of his revolution, and what started in Benghazi six months ago amongst a bunch of younsters with cellphones blossomed into fullscale revolt and everyone suddenly became a rebel without a cause. NATO stepped in with strikes on Ghaddafis armed infrastructure and forces and Bobs your uncle, a civil war broke out. It is being called all manner of things, “an insurgency”, a “fight for freedom” but its neither, its just a very violent civil war where thousands of innocent people have died.
Russia is refusing to play along and so are many other countries, so on the international stage there is no unity concerning Libya. What is now needed is a UN security Council resolution demanding the presence of observers in the country and refusing all assistance until such a force is in situ.
And all those little girls with flags painted on their faces dancing for the cameras will be facing a harsh future in the not-to-distant future.
Freedom? My arse. Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela should be around right now, and even F.W. de Klerk, to give sage council on what they called Reconciliation. The miracle that occured in South Africa after Apartheid ought to be a shining example of how to heal serious rifts. Without reconciliation and forgiveness, freedom, whatever it is, does not exist, certainly not in Libya. All the Libyans have thus far demonstrated is that they are a pretty violent lot. Right now a mob is in the ascendency, not ‘freedom fighters’, or ‘liberators’. When the object of their hatred that has united them is dealt with they will turn on each other. As they are and will do in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the final judgement one can only liberate oneself.
31st August 2011