Stop Murderous Madness In North Africa
I think it was the French President who described Col.Gaddafi's actions as murderous madness. Unfortunately, the psychosis seems to have affected the doctors whose thinking appears warped by self-interest and what some psychologists call the human trait of informed hypocrisy.
The bright young men and women of today may readily understand the mandate of the UN Security Council which authorised action, not by a special task force but by those interested and able to protect the human and other rights of poor Libyans.
There is no doubt that the Libyan leader’s actions against his people have been criminal and offensive to most human beings but the violation of the sovereignty of a state in the name of human rights and democracy cannot be readily accepted in today’s world.
Serious violations of human rights in nearby Palestine and the genocide in Rwanda did not arouse the humanitarian passion of the major powers. Why then the sudden interest in poor Libyans?
It is true the international press and media portrayed the killings dramatically. But was this done to get people incensed to justify intervention and the removal of Col. Gaddafi who has been a thorn in the flesh of the West for so long?
The concept of sovereignty has been greatly affected by developments since the Second World War but it remains a controversial idea in political science and international law and the major powers now and again modify its meaning to accommodate their interests and actions. As far as possible, they obtain the agreement of many states in the counsels of the committee of nations.
Countries such as Ghana should be concerned about the current understanding of the power of the state and obligations of government. What are the limitations on these powers and obligations? Does the independence of the state have limitations?
And what obligations are imposed by international concepts like democracy and human rights? The issues raised may sound academic but events in Libya show that the interpretation and practice of sovereignty, human rights and democratic expression of the will of the people deserve the most serious attention of the state.
The state should respect its contract with the people, while the people, in promoting their rights through expression of views and demonstration should not undermine the legitimate security of the state.
It was significant that in the Security Council, debates leading to the resolution to take action in Libya, the African Union was virtually silent. The Arab view was expressed and this had effect in persuading Russia and China to abstain.
Now, all of them have second thoughts and are complaining about the intensity and coverage of the military action but it was clear that a no-fly zone could not be implemented without destroying or containing the military capacity of the Libyan state. Russian Premier, Vladimir Putin, was not wrong in describing the resolution as a medieval call for a crusade.
But then why did Russia not veto the resolution? This illustrates a point which should be clear to Ghanaians and especially to our political leaders, that it is the national interest which ultimately determines the position of the major powers in international affair.
The media reports on incidents in Libya and the utterances of Col. Gaddafi made it very difficult for Africans to assist in the matter.
China and Russia had their interest in the Arab world to consider and pursuit of the interest tipped the scales in the Security Council. But Libya is in Africa and Col. Gaddafi plays a major role in the African Union.
Why was the African position not clearly stated so that it could influence China and Russia? Was it because African leaders do not understand international politics? Or were they frightened about losing Western economic assistance?
The weakness of the African Union was exposed by the fact that it made no attempt to restrain Col. Gaddafi or make pertinent submissions at the Security Council. It was a sad spectacle. A major personality in the African Union was working his way to disaster and the union made no effort to assist. The impression was given that Africans are greatly consumed by Western propaganda or point of view even at the highest levels.
The attempts by the Libyan Leader, Gaddafi, to promote African Unity vigorously was denigrated by the West. Many African leaders and people supported this negative view and the press generally followed suit. Gaddafi was accused of ambition to become President of Africa. The same was said of Kwame Nkrumah. When will Africans view events realistically and think for themselves?
Col. Gaddafi is difficult to understand. But on the credit side, he has used oil wealth to develop Libya and give better life to her people. He has supported the African Union with words and much-needed funds. Is it impossible for other African leaders to see to it that his efforts are properly channelled and that he moderates his utterances and attitudes in the national interest? In particular, he could have been persuaded to meet the protesters half-way.
It is an indictment on African perception that efforts were not made early to try to contain the hurricane of change which began in Tunisia. Gaddafi, perhaps, was more African than Arab. Many Arabian countries endorse military action against him and Africans should have shown their solidarity with him, while strongly persuading him to move away from his suicidal path.
It is not too late. The hurricane of murderous action should not be allowed to destroy Libya. Libya is bigger than Col. Gaddafi and those whose actions are destroying it. Libya must be saved. The African Union must wake up.
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