Archive for March 20th, 2011

Stopping Gaddafi Not An Easy Decision, But The Right One

March 20, 2011

People seem to be acting as if the decision to stop Gaddafi from killing his own people was an easy, black or white decision. Tough decisions are simply never that clear or easy, if they were, this would have happened close to two weeks ago, when the Libyan Dictator decided to begin the genocide against his own people.

As such, the decision is simply very black and white to anyone that has a high regard for human life above all. If one life is precious, no leader of any country should be allowed to use the weapons supposedly purchased for defending the country from those outside, against his own people. It is not only criminal, but it is a battle no civilian group in the world can expect to survive or even fight against

The problem is that there are not only no rules, but there is the question of who gets to make them? The United Nations, much like most multilateral organizations like it, has always been quite a failure about assuming its proper role in the world. It failed to act in Cambodia, went in too late in Bosnia and has failed to even speak in too many other cases.

What has made Libya and Gaddafi different this time around, is that the forty year old Dictator was quite overt about what he was doing. Once he realized that the fight against him was winning, he decided to use his last weapon: The country’s weapons against his own people.

But the key here is “forty year old” regime. For forty years Gaddafi ahs been an immoral leader in terms of human rights and has been tolerated off and on by the world. Similar things have happened to many others that come from less fortunate or relevant countries.  But Gaddafi the Dictator, was followed by Gaddafi the terrorist, then by Gaddafi the statesman as, like most autocrats, he twisted and turned looking for the only thing that mattered to him: His own survival.

And the West and the East and those in between forgave him and accepted him, even if his hands were bloody from one of the most despicable terrorist acts sponsored by a Government.

And how difficult the decision is or was, can be seen in its backing by the Arab League, many of whose members have incurred in similar, albeit in smaller scale, human rights abuses against their own people. Or are backing them today as I write.

But to invoke peace or oil as the excuse, like Chavez did,  is simply ridiculous, from a Government that could have either abstained from saying anything, or simply could have attacked its own allies, like Saudi Arabia, but failed to do so, as it defended its own selfish interests.

Personally, I am glad the decision is to stop Gaddafi’s forces from killing the civilians and hope it does not go beyond that. If one life is saved the effort would have been worth it.

Unfortunately, this does not seem to have a clear ending. By now, the only possible one is for Gaddafi to leave power and face international Courts. His sons, or relatives, or whomever he chooses, could try to grab power fairly and honestly, nobody really knows in a country divided by tribes if Gaddafi’s own cluster of them is stronger or weaker than others.

But history suggests that conflicts like this one can only be solved and sorted out from within. This should be more so in the case of a tribal country like Libya. If it is not, Libya may be facing decades of additional instability. And that in the end is the worst option, as such a scenario would certainly cause more deaths and poverty for that country.

Chavez’ reaction not only shows his total disregard for human rights, for which he has a long track record that the world refuses to see, but also his fear that this is a precedent that may obligate him to walk the democratic line one day and force him to leave, which I am sure was not in his plans. And I certainly hope we never get even close to a Libya-like scenario and Venezuelans resolve their conflicts internally and peacefully. We would never recover from outside interference or force.

If anyone thinks I exaggerate, you only have to look at Chavez’ trail of blood in ’92 and ’02, his disregard for human rights, today’s interview in La Razon with Che-look alike Humberto Lopez from Colectivo La Piedrita, or remember that some close collaborators of Chavez remain to this date admirers of not only Gaddafi, but also of Pol Pot and his Cambodian revolution.

For now, I am just glad that there is this limited action to stop the genocide by the UN, however inconsistent it may be with its past and that of its members.