LIBYAN CRISIS AND EXTERNAL FACTORS
“I am not going to leave this land. I will die here, as a martyr. Muammar Gaddafi is the leader of the revolution. I am not a president to step down. This is my country. Muammar is the leader of the revolution until the end of time”.
These are some elements of Gaddafi's televised speech to the Libyan protesters, challenging his about 42 years of rule. It must be recalled that Gaddafi took over power in 1969 via a military coup, and to some extent, has since transformed Libya to the reckoning and envy of both African and major world powers. If not for anything, at least, before this ongoing unfortunate episode in Liyba, the country, no doubt, has one of the highest Gross Domestic Product per capita in Africa, which was estimated at $12,062.37 in the year 2010 and was projected to soar to about $17,660.54 by the year 2015 (IMF). The Literacy rate in Libya is 82.6%, Life Expectancy at birth is almost 78 years and Infant Mortality rate is below 21 deaths per 1,000 births (IMF/World Bank). Libya also has the largest crude oil reserve in Africa (OPEC). In fact, the World Bank defines Libya, as an 'Upper Middle Income Economy' along with only seven other African countries. In the early 1980s, Libya was one of the richest countries in the world. Its GDP per capita was higher than that of developed countries like Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Spain. These, without been narrow-minded or sentimental, imply so much about Gaddafi's government and the standard of living of the people.
All these notwithstanding, it is important, at this juncture, that Gaddafi is made to understand that he would not have established anything other than all he had done in the past 41 years even if he died a martyr; after all, the Libyans never really valued his donkey years of sacrifice. Gaddafi must be told the bitter truth, even if he does not want to hear it. He must be told that he cannot rule forever. He must accept the fact that these generations of Libyans, who are rioting today were born year/s after his gallant show of 1969, and cannot really appreciate the circumstances in which he intervened. This set of Libyans never in reality experienced the adversity and perhaps, the inequality, which led to the revolution. To them, it is absurd and ridiculously insane to believe that just one man has ruled for the about 42 years they have lived on the surface of the earth. They cannot help but to wonder that why other countries change their leaders in the gap of four years, Libya is being held down by one single mortal for decades. The fact about the ongoing Libyans' crisis is that it is a spontaneous effect of the influence of the immediate environment, particularly the global village phenomena. And this, firstly, goes to prove that environment has the greatest influence on peoples' individual and collective values and that man's ability to learn new values, is largely subjected to experience and influence. Secondly, it follows that the alleged Western neo-imperialists are yet to let off their interest-hook on the oil rich desert country. It must be recalled that Libyan colonization came to an end in December 1951 amidst conflicting interests and motives. The United Nations General Assembly had resolved on November 21, 1949, that Libya should become independent before January 1, 1952. With this, Libya declared its independence, as the United Kingdom of Libya under a constitutional and hereditary monarchy. This independence was short-lived, following the discovery of huge oil reserves in 1959 and the subsequent national benefits from crude oil sales made Libya very rich and this also attracted the interest of the Americans, the British and the Italians, who immediately began a new web of neo-colonialism and exploitation. But not been satisfied with the development, especially the inequitable distribution of the oil wealth, owing to neo-imperialists exploitation, a group of young military officers led by Muammar Al-Gaddafi in September 1969 launched a revolution and overthrew King Idris. This, somehow, brought an end to all foreign controls in Libya and also enabled the country to nationalize all transnational corporations, operating in Libya. But then, that single move however, kick-started Libya's long battle with Western Imperialists. Nonetheless, that revolution gave birth to Revolutionary Leader, Muammar Gaddafi and a 12-person Revolutionary Command Council and Revolutionary Committee/Cabinet. This cabinet runs the government. No doubt, Gaddafi delivered Libyans from the hands of Western neo-imperialists, who never in truth forgave his action. And the ongoing crisis is undeniably an aftermath. They, according to Gaddafi decided to launch the enduring propaganda machines of western imperialism – that is the CNN, BBC and Aljazeera to reel out what he described, as falsehoods in the name of news and paid interviews from some western leaders to the unsuspecting people of Libya and the World. And the misinformation has also claimed that the dissenters are innocent and unarmed civilians, yet they displayed all sorts of latest sophisticated rocket launchers, anti-aircraft guns, machines guns, mortars, explosives and armored tankers. It is obvious, according to Gaddafi, that the kind of weapons been exhibited by these nonconformists in Libya, were never seen during Egypt's protest. The War Lord also expressed doubts, if the Libyan state can even boast of such military hardware, therefore implying that these so-called rebels must have gotten these machines from one source – foreign backers. However, one expects someone with the exposure of Gaddafi to know that, in this age and time, whether with or without foreign backers, no one single individual can withstand and/or beat the people's anger and survive it. Whether he accepts it or not, it obvious that his time is up and no matter how long he buys time, his reign is fast ending and the implications of his continuous bombing and killing of innocent people in order to remain in power is very grave and criminal.
It is very germane, to mention, also that Libyans and/or better still, western neo-imperialists, major cross with Gaddafi is not about the alleged large scale corruption, unequal distribution of resource wealth, unemployment or the violation of their human rights, but the fact that he has ruled the country for decades without allowing the Western Imperialists to feed on Libya. Gaddafi's greatest blunder, one must say, is that he assumed having served Libyans for about 42 years, and having provided virtually all basic conveniences such as housing, infrastructure, free education, jobs, social amenities and food for them, they must see and worship him, as a god. This, no doubt, underscores his recent anger, hate and action, as well as his stance to die in the revolution, as a martyr. Gaddafi's attack on supposed innocent demonstrators could only be guided by pride and the mentality of an average African leader, who erroneously believe he is the best and indeed, doing the people a favor by ensuring good governance. He assumes leadership is his birthright and that explains why Gaddafi described Libya, as his property: “This is my country. Muammar is not a president to leave his position. Muammar is the leader of the revolution until the end of time.” This statement and particularly his subsequent attack only goes to buttress that he did everything for his own selfish end, and this also collaborates the reason he never wants to leave power and the people's allegation that he has in the past 41 years of rule used their resources to enrich himself and his family members. But then, it is important to examine the motive in the call by the US on UN to order its prosecutors at the International Criminal Court to start the fastest ever war crimes and crimes against humanity investigation on Libya, even before the Libyan crisis became obvious. One dares ask why investigation has not been opened on crimes against humanity in the Vietnam War, Arab-Israeli War, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Nigerian Civil War. One would think that if Libya is to bow to the authority of the ICC, the US that is alleging the crimes, has to first accept the authority and jurisdiction of the same court. After all, all countries as legal entities must be equal before the international law. International justice, just like national justice must be rooted in equity, and “those who come to equity must come with clean hands”.
On a lighter note, many Nigerians have hailed Libyans ongoing action and perhaps more, the Egyptians' recent tough stance against Mubarak. They have vehemently condemned themselves for not been able to do same. The truth is that, aside that Nigeria is bigger than Libya in size and cannot really be compared in the right context; its population submerges that of Libya, as well. And the assumption that Nigerians are very mollify, sluggish and unresponsive is extremely erroneous. One must say Nigerians have never been indifferent. They have proved that their decorum is not a trait of stupidity. They have shown with every passing year and government that no one man can take them for a ride for 12 years let alone 41 years. This is why they had fought even the worst of military rule and/or dictatorship to a standstill. This is why one single Nigerian, better still, section of the country, from the 60s has never been able to hold down or plunge the people into slavery, such as in Libya. Nigerians are not a push-around!
Georges Macnobleson-Idowu - 08055610085
News Editor, COOLFM/WAZOBIAFM, 267a, Etim Inyang Crescent,
Victoria Island, Lagos.