Libya’s murdered freedom

2011-09-10 13:15

The carnage that we are ­seeing unfold in Libya is a sobering reminder of the fate that awaits any country in ­Africa that dares to persist in ­steering an independent path of ­socioeconomic development, free from the tutelage of Western ­corporate control.

It is indeed troubling to see how the South African press in particular has generally adopted the ­ideological line of Nato as the ­cardinal truth of the events unfolding in the North African country.

For the first time in decades, Western imperialist powers, led by the United States and followed by France and Britain, have openly occupied and destroyed an African country.

There are American, British and French troops on Libyan soil in ­total violation of international law and a flagrant infringement of the sovereignty of that country.

How else has a motley band of about 3 000 disparate mercenaries been able to overrun a country of several million people and overwhelm the military that has tens of thousands of defence personnel?

With relentless Nato airstrikes dropping more than 11 000 bombs on the country during the past four months, and thousands killed and injured under the direction of Nato military “advisers”, of course.

Is it not the height of hypocrisy by Western powers that, while we have been instructed by them that al-Qaeda represents the greatest terror threat to humanity, the commander of the Libyan “rebels” is none other than Abdelhakim ­Belhaj, an al-Qaeda leader and ­operative?

This gave credence to Muammar Gaddafi’s assertions that the country was being torn asunder by ­elements of al-Qaeda.

Like Iraq, Libya is a major oil producer and the third largest in Africa after Nigeria and Angola. Western powers need vital energy resources as oil wells in the Arab world and elsewhere run dry.

Libya signified a model of ­African independence that was viewed with hostility by former colonial powers.

It did not bank heavily with Western banks since it opted to deal in Libyan dinars and steered clear of Western bank ­control.

Libyan education and healthcare was free, oil revenues were used to construct the largest aqueduct in the world that piped water from the desert to the Mediterranean coast for agriculture, and ­industry and standards of living were the highest in Africa ($14 000 per capita, much higher than oil-rich Nigeria, where the per capita ­income is only $600 yearly).

Average life expectancy was more than 77 years, one of the highest in the world.

Libya was a leading contributor to the African Development Bank, which sidestepped the ­restrictive preconditions of global financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Libya helped in the economic and technological development of several African countries so that dependence on Western capital was reduced. This is why Gaddafi was viewed as the bogeyman of ­Africa and a “tyrannical dictator”.

Africa ought not to be the playground for Western imperialist military design and manoeuvres in its obsessive pursuit of energy ­resources, as was the case during ­the colonial yesteryear.

African people and South ­Africans in particular need to stand firm and in solidarity with all struggling peoples given the ­historic resistance to apartheid, a struggle in which Libya was a ­major contributor.

The Nato war must cease immediately. Nato leaders should be tried for war crimes and reparations should be demanded for the reconstruction of that country.

» Kunnie is an international researcher and academic

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