Our Readers' Opinions
September 9, 2011
Gaddafi: One-sided views

In the aftermath of the uprising and NATO intervention that removed Muammar Gaddafi from power in Libya, there has been a slew of attacks in the media against those who were supposed to have been “friends” of the ousted leader.{{more}} All of a sudden, having had relations and his strange “Libyan Arab Jamahiryah” has turned out to be the greatest crime in the world-at least for a selected group as we shall see.

Our own Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves is right on the firing line, his opponents practically salivating as they spew out their daily vitriol. Even young Luke Browne is thrown in for good, replete with photos of him meeting Gaddafi and having visited Libya. So, visiting Libya and meeting Gaddafi are also international crimes. But let’s hold on that for the moment. The problem is that many of these people just do not understand international politics, and the few who may do so have a vested interest in trying to keep the rest of us ignorant of the facts.

For instance, they set out to give the impression that having relations with Gaddafi’s Libya or accepting aid from him is tantamount to a crime against humanity, and an indication of support for his internal policies which have clearly been proven not to have broad support in Libya, hence the uprising. One has to be careful, though, with such relations, and I recall expressing public unease at the timing of accepting the hurricane donation from Libya. That donation had been long committed, it must be understood, just that in my humble opinion, it didn’t seem appropriate at a time when Gaddafi’s son was raging about exterminating “rats” as the uprising gathered steam.

Yet, what are small, poor countries like those in the Caribbean to do in such difficult economic circumstances? Do without an international airport because Chavez and Cuba are helping, when clearly neither the USA, Britain nor Canada is interested? In fact, it was interesting to note, among the latest Wikileaks revelations, that US officials in Barbados had expressed the opinion that “…Any leader that replaces Gonsalves would likely do the same thing, (that is not discriminate in accepting aid), or risk being blamed for leaving money on the table and not doing enough to help his people…” . That’s US Embassy speaking, not poor me.

Our biggest problem is that we are totally dependent on the western media to shape our views, and they play with us like puppets on a string. If Dr. Gonsalves, Dr. Douglas of St.Kitts/Nevis, Messrs Skerritt of Dominica and Spencer of Antigua/Barbuda are rogues for accepting Gaddafi’s money, ‘blood money’ they call it, what does one say about former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi? Gonsalves was pilloried for accepting US$250,000 for HURRICANE RELIEF. Blair went to Libya in 2004, publicly embraced Gaddafi and lobbied for a US$500 million oil contract for Shell. He dubbed Gaddafi a “new ally in the war against terror”. Blair’s Britain co-sponsored the UN Resolution to remove sanctions against Gaddafi’s Libya.

Berlusconi welcomed Gaddafi in Rome, defying critics and giving him red carpet treatment in the ‘Eternal City’. Even the Bush administration, which had placed Gaddafi at the centre of the axis of evil, ended up with Gaddafi and Condoleeza Rice becoming “friends”, while Senators McCain and Lieberman met Gaddafi in 2009.It is all right for them, not for us.

Two final points. First, it is now being revealed what being the “new ally” in the fight against terror meant. The American and British intelligence services, the CIA and MI6, were using Gaddafi’s torturers to do their dirty work for them against al Qaeda suspects. MI6 traced telephone calls for Gaddafi’s agents and the CIA had a hand in drafting a 2003 Christmas speech for Gaddafi. Ralph and Co. are suckling babes to these international vampires. It is also being revealed that as in Iraq, it is not the freedom of the Libyan people, which prompted NATO’s intervention. Gaddafi had been encouraging African countries to establish a gold-based currency, the Gold Dinar, and to demand payment in GOLD from the West for the purchase of oil and precious resources. When Saddam threatened to demand to be paid in euros, not dollars, for his oil, the strategic decision was taken to invade and remove this one-time ally of the USA. Please read and think!

In conclusion, Gaddafi was certainly no angel, and reaped what he had sown. But that for one moment must not cloud his sterling contribution to the end of apartheid in South Africa when the same West, which is supposed to stand up for freedom, backed the racists against black people. Ask Nelson Mandela. Nor it cannot erase his contribution in kind to the development of African and other underdeveloped countries. He may have oppressed his people, but he never enslaved or colonised us and raped our countries. Put everything in perspective when making judgements.