A friend wrote to me asking for my thoughts on the north African revolutions, particularly Libya.
The world media I have noticed is incredibly biased against all the Middle Eastern and African leaders and there presentation of the events unfolding now is not even close to being neutral. Ghaddafi is the prime example, we have yet to hear from any of his supporters and when we do hear from Ghaddafi himself the media portrays him as some sort of madman. Granted he has been the leader of Libya for 42 years and he was at odds with the United States for much of those 42 years. However, one has to look beneath the surface and question the perspective the media is taking. They tend to focus on his attire and his cadre of female bodyguards, however it is a rare occurrence indeed when the media, including the Arab media, refers to the financial support he has provided to many sub-Saharan African countries. They prefer to paint him in these broad brush strokes as an unhinged meglomaniac oblivious to the needs of the people. It seems on the service that the people are protesting in Libya for the same reasons they protested in Egypt, but beneath the surface there most be more because the two countries are very dissimilar. Libya has oil wealth, Egypt does not, Libya is very sparsely populated, whereas Egypt has a very dense population all concentrated along the banks of the Nile. Perhaps those who are calling for Ghaddafi’s ouster and merely taking advantage of a situation in order to seize power and when they do, nothing truly will change. Things may even become worse. What do you think?
My uninformed opinion is that Libya has been ineffective in creating positive change, whether it be domestic or in the rest of the African continent. Having said that, see the article below entitled Libya, Getting it Right. I also remember when I was in Nigeria meeting a South African who told me he was traveling to Libya to present to the Moammar al-Qaddafi a book which praised his government’s achievements.
- U.S. Prepares to Make Its Lunge at Libya’s Oil Fields
- African migrants targeted in Libya
- Libya, Getting it Right: A Revolutionary Pan-African Perspective
- In Search of an African Revolution
I believe it is essential to reject all outside military intervention, although there’s really no way to prevent arms from reaching either the government or a rebel faction. In addition, freezing assets is a major intervention which the US had not done in the case of the Tunisian or Egyptian (or Saudi) despots, but it has frozen Libyan assets. So in no case should anybody believe that the U.S. can play a positive role in Libya or elsewhere, other than simply avoiding further intervention.
Tumblrs, do you have anything you’d like to add to this?