Politicians are pack animals and their chosen mode of transport is the bandwagon. They have now gathered around Gaddafi and individually are beginning to bite lumps out of him and then scuttling back to the pack in order to give the next one the opportunity to rip-off another strip. The name of the game is isolationism.
The United Nations is busying itself condemning Muammar Gaddafi while simultaneously, the UN Human Rights Council is about to adopt a report which praises Libya’s human rights record. The report extols Libya for improving its education and constitutional framework. Several countries have made a special mention of the new legal protections which Libyan citizens now enjoy and the report praises Libyas efforts in making human rights “a priority”.
The report was put together as a result of the Council’s November 2010 session but now, because of recent and ongoing events in Libya, it seems that it was all a collective “mistake” ( by 47 countries).
UN Watch, a Geneva-based quango, is demanding that the report be withdrawn and “the truth” be printed. It seems that in a matter of days, Gaddafi has gone from hero to zero but more importantly, the principle of “doublethink” exposes the United Nations as an organisation which deals in expediency rather than truth.
A few days ago, with encouragement from the United States, the Human Rights Council council passed a new resolution condemning Libya’s abuses in response to the latest unrest. The Council has called for an international inquiry and has recommended that Libya’s membership of the Council be suspended.
We have accepted that Gaddafi is “mad”, “deluded” and “isolated”. But that seems to be at odds with the rather unedifying sight, just a few years ago of Tony Blair trying to get Gaddafi in a clinch and the unbounded joy as BP signed a deal with Libya. Then we had the rather speedy release of Al Megrahi from prison because of his yet-to-be-terminal prostate cancer.
Gaddafi seemed to have been fully rehabilitated and the propaganda machine painted him as maybe a bit eccentric but definitely doing his best towards his people.
Yesterday, when Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor interviewed the Libyan leader, Gaddafi confirmed that the people “loved him” and that his security forces had been ordered NOT to shoot at his people.
Elsewhere, the Americans are talking about Gaddafi “slaughtering” his people.
In propaganda battles of this type, the truth is often the first casualty. So where is the truth hiding?
The reportage from Libya is biased against the Libyan leader and most will say “and quite right too”. However, in the interests of balance, let’s look at another scenario – probably ficticious and purely an illustration of another view.
Imagine a leader who lives an isolated life whilst at the same time, delegating the day-to-day running of the country to his family and trusted aides. He is an ex-soldier and not even remotely interested in the more mundane aspects of administration. He sees himself, not as a dictator but as a figurehead. He is a titular Head of State, such as we have here in the UK . He does not manage – he reigns.
One day, his subjects hear and see demonstrations in adjoining countries and think “We can do that. That democracy lark looks good”.
The street activities in Egypt and Tunisia gave the ordinary voiceless Libyan confidence and resolve, courage and hope. They prepare placards and go out onto the streets because they too want “democracy”. What they all REALLY want is the affluence which so-called democratic countries appear to enjoy and a fair share of the oil billions which their leader mistakenly continues to confuse with his own money.
An air force general and a head of security services both see an opportunity. The air force general orders one of his planes to make a couple of low passes and shoot a few rounds into the gathering crowd. He then orders a couple of pilots to fly abroad and denounce the leader. The air force general then resigns and calls a press conference, blaming his leader for giving orders to kill protesters.
The Security Chief is persuaded by a well-known secret agency belonging to a big Western power. He orders troops to shoot a few more protesters, then resigns and denounces the leader.
Meanwhile, the leader is in his bunker, being fed good news by his flunkeys. After all, people who once gave the leader bad news mysteriously disappeared.
Ambassadors, diplomats and other senior people all over the world suddenly withdraw their allegiance and denounce the leader. They resign for a variety of reasons, ranging from self-preservation to being participants in a bigger oil-conspiracy.
Meanwhile, the leader is wondering what all the fuss is all about. After all, he loves his country and specifically requested that his people should not be harmed. He continues to be fed good news and (not unreasonably) declares that the people all love him.
However, his son (who was once very popular among London’s tosserati) then blows his democratic credentials by waving a gun in front of a crowd and declaring that they will fight “to the last bullet”.
Although it is very likely that the leader’s supporters are still measured in millions, Western media continue to only interview individuals who are anti-leader. Close-ups of burning vehicles and bodies in the streets give the impression that many thousands of the country’s citizens have been “slaughtered”. In fact, the big Western power now openly uses the s-word.
The world’s political pack closes the air-space over the leader’s land and his country’s money is stolen by the politicians who by now, sense that the leader is blissfully oblivious of the fact that he is terminally wounded and has no escape.
He has been totally encircled. The politicians have closed ALL the doors and then paradoxically, tell him to “get out”. Understandably, the leader feels very let down and betrayed because a few days ago, the same openly aggressive politicians used to be his friends.
The politicians are already slavering over the prospect of rebuilding contracts, mining, oil and of course….more oil.
So what of the bruised and battered “truth”? Well, that’s purely relative.
A few days ago, the United Nations were about to publish a report praising the truth of Libya’s new approach to human rights. Now, the truth is that they are dealing with a deluded murderer who kills his own people. A genocidal maniac.
The truth always depends on where you are standing.
….and here are a couple of reminders from the family album:
and of course: