DEATH OF GADDAFI AND OTHER MATTERS
Calm suddenly returned to Libya on October 20 after six months of daily bombardment of innocent civilians, children, and women whom NATO and its allies pretended to be protecting. At the end of the callous foreign invasion, over two hundred thousand civilians out of a population of about 2.5million people had been killed.
Was it wise of the National Transitional Council (NTC) to have invited foreign military invaders, especially NATO, to land cruise missiles and bombs from the air and ground on their armless citizens and destroy infrastructure which took Muammar Gaddafi 42 years to build? The biggest casualty was Gaddafi. The former Libyan leader who was One of his sons mutassim.
The death of Gaddafi is not only a loss to Africa. It is also an enormous threat to African continent. The new scramble and partition of Africa by the imperialists had just begun in Cote D'Ivoire, where the French leader, Nicholas Sakorzy hijacked civilian demonstration and bombarded already war-weary Ivoiriens whom he claimed to be defending in order to hand over to their anointed President. Affluent African states like Nigeria, Ghana, and others, must now be on red alert.
Gaddafi was never a saint. He had his excesses. He stayed far too long. But where was UN and NATO when Julius Nyerere of Tanzania ruled for 25 years; Felix Houphouet-Boigny of Cote D'Ivoire for 14 years; Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia ruled for 27 years (1964-91); Uganda's Yoweri Museveni since 1986 to date; Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe from 1980 to date.
In Asia, Indonesia's Suharto reigned for 30 years (1968-98); North Korea's Kim 11 ruled for 46 years (1948-94). The list is endless. Some of above sit-tight rulers left indelible marks behind, while many of them were mere dictators.
The invasion of Libya and subsequent elimination of Gaddafi couldn't have been informed by longevity or democratic principles. It was a killing to revenge Gaddafi's pan-Africanist ideas; pan-Arab commitments, his roles in the cold war and his refusal to allow imperialists' unlimited access to Libyan oil wells.
Libya was totally independent of foreign economic interests. It had an independent ideology outlined in the Green Book, and therefore the Libyan masses and leadership used to think for themselves. Gaddafi led the movement to establish an African continental government, with continental institutions like the African Monetary Fund, African Central Bank to establish a common gold currency, African Investment Bank, and African High Command.
These institutions were being established and fueled by Libya oil revenues to take economic control over Africa by Africans and to defeat American neo- colonialism. Gaddafi took over the leadership of Libya in a coup that ousted the regime of King Idris, a neo-colonialist puppet, as a young Colonel at the age of 26. Unlike the clowns like Uganda's Field Marshal Idi Amin, Jean Bedel Bokassa, and many Generals in Nigeria who have barely tasted any war and who ridiculously assigned themselves ranks that caught their fancies, Gaddafi since 1969 lived and died as a Colonel at the war front. No promotion for himself for 42years! Furthermore, Gaddafi had resigned as the Head of State since 1977.
When he took over the mantle of leadership in Libya in 1969, he made it clear that the honeymoon was over for the imperialists. Libyan oil must be appropriately paid for by the imperialists, and the proceeds used for the Libyans. This influenced tremendous global oil price rise, which oil producing nations including Nigeria have since been enjoying.
In Gaddafi's Libya, life was cool. Regular supply of electricity and uninterrupted supply of water tapped from far away Nile for domestic and irrigation purposes were taken for granted. Unlike in Lagos, Nigeria, where many live under the bridges, Gaddafi provided homes to all Libyans. Anyone who desired was given free land and seeds for farming.
For the past 42years under Gaddafi, the country consistently prospered at remarkable proportion. The country that was wallowing in poverty and groaned under the burden of debt when Gaddafi took over suddenly became the Switzerland of Africa, ranking among the countries with the highest per capita income in the world.
Whereas Nigeria ranked 158th out of the 182 countries listed by the United Nations in its human development index released sometime ago, Libya ranked 53 under the Gaddafi administration falling in the category of countries with a per capital income of between USD 2,200 and 6,000.
Education at all levels was completely free. Libyan hospitals competed favorably with those of the advanced countries of Europe and America. However, when death takes away one's neighbor, death is only sounding a warning note. Whatever inflicts the ear affects the nose; UN, NATO, US, France, U.K., the thieves of Bagdad are on the prowl. African nations must tuck their children's hands firmly under their apparels.
If Gaddafi with all his military might and die-hard loyalists could withstand NATO for six months can fall, then no African nation is safe.
Yusuf writes from Ilorin