Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights in the “New Libya.” How can we begin to describe Libya after it has been refreshed by the sweet breezes of the Arab Spring, after being liberated by a movement (or whatever) that no decent and right-minded person should ever dare to criticize?
The correct way to spell “oppression” is now liberation.What part of this Arab Spring do you support?
“The cemetery had remained inviolate through all the long years of enmity between Britain and the Gaddafi regime. But things are different in the new Libya.”
“Libya after the fall of Gaddafi is a lawless and ungovernable place where horrible actions can be done with impunity by those who have enough guns. The second is that there is no gratitude among many of those we have helped. The third is that those who warned that we did not know ~ or care enough ~ who we were aiding have now been vindicated in the most spectacular and gruesome way… our leaders, and our media, should cease to be so simple-mindedly enthusiastic about endorsing every revolutionary movement that appears in the Arab world. Tyrants are bad, but their opponents are not necessarily any better.”Again, who was wrong about the Arab Spring?
It turns out that the Canadian government of Stephen Harper “launched an all-out commercial offensive a full month before the 2011 war in Libya had ended to ensure ‘a return on our engagement and investment,’ newly released documents show.”
You may still be undecided about who got the Arab Spring right, but there is no doubt who eyed the Arab “cha-ching!“
Chávez’s Middle East reputation has thus been irreparably tarnished, resulting in a loss of supporters.
“And then there is the matter of some of Chavez’s unpleasant foreign associations. Although his closest allies were his fellow democratically elected left-of-centre governments in Latin America ~ nearly all of whom passionately defended Chavez from foreign criticism ~ he also supported brutal dictators in Iran, Libya and Syria. It has certainly sullied his reputation.”
“Prior to the Arab Spring, it was the pro-West liberalists who did not care for him. After the uprising, however, many of those who had chanted Chavez’s name changed their minds. His support for Gadhafi and Assad after they turned their weaponry on their people divided public opinion about him. Chavez viewed the uprisings as part of an imperialist plan to overthrow anti-American leaders in the region. Arab revolutionists accused him of ignoring the pain of those who had once admired him and invoked his name. To them, he became yet another arrogant leader who chose his interests and the tyrants’ over the peoples’.”
Unsurprisingly, an article by Eman el-Shenawi in the newspaper of the Saudi monarchy, Al Arabiya, wrote with considerable yet unintended irony about Chávez’s support for Gaddafi (reducing analysis to named personalities and not issues). The same author should try writing some critical statements about how his Saudi employers are viewed in Bahrain, where the Saudis and other Gulf states actively and directly participated in the suppression of popular protests…part of an “Arab Spring” the Saudi-funded media pretend had never occurred.
“Many Arabs have grown to detest the leader who began to see his double-standards on issues of humanitarian concern. It is doubtful his death will be mourned in the Arab world today.”
“his backing of dictatorial leaders from Muammar Qaddafi of Libya, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iran’s regime of Ayatollah saw his popularity dwindling during the Arab Spring.”
Assuming that it is in any way a representative sample, the repudiation of Chávez’s support for Gaddafi and Assad and any suggestion that he lost the support of public opinion in the Middle East, is actually in the minority. Only one example offers a negative view of Chávez’s support for Gaddafi.
“1) Strengthening Democratic Institutions,2) Penetrating Chavez’ Political Base,3) Dividing Chavismo,4) Protecting Vital US business, and5) Isolating Chavez internationally.”
In the case of Libya, Chávez was correct that the U.S. sought the first opportunity to intervene militarily, and he rightly opposed that, and was consistent about it from the start. Chavez was correct even when those who ought to have known better asserted that the U.S. was not going to intervene in Libya.
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The London Socialist Film Co-op Sunday, 10 February 2013 Our screenings in February will start with Stealing the Arab Spring. This 34-minute film is by Julien Teil and Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya. It incorporates the earlier material in Libya: The Humanitarian…
Maximilian C. Forte is a professor of anthropology in Montreal, Canada. He teaches courses in the field of political anthropology dealing with “the new imperialism,” Indigenous resistance movements and philosophies, theories and histories of colonialism, and critiques of the mass media. Max is a founding member of Anthropologists for Justice and Peace. Visit him online at http://openanthropology.org/