Monday, 12 December 2011
Reality behind the scenes.
On March 21st, 44 people, mainly civilians, died in the 18th "suspected" American drone strike this year on the tribal areas of West Pakistan. Most news articles add the term "suspected" because US officials rarely acknowledge these attacks that are directed, not by the morally unimpeachable US military, but by the evil Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, West Virginia. In 2010, 111 of such strikes have taken place, targeting suspected militants in jeeps, homes, weddings, and funeral processions. Thousands of bystanders, wives, children, neighbors and drivers of these suspected militants have died.
To call these actions "counterproductive" is a gross understatement, if not a cynical denial of such democratic principles as the right to a fair trial and representation, or simply the privilege to attend public gatherings without having your entrails violently spread out over a large geographical area. To say Americans are creating terrorists rather than combatting them would be too technical, misanthropical an appraisal of the individual lives, the women and children whose lives are lost on a daily basis. The short news blurbs featured in western outlets even more so. To opine that Pakistan is rendered less, not more stable doesn't come close to capturing the loss of humanity a scornful observer might label "a couple of nine-elevens".
Meanwhile the United States of America, guarantor of global freedom and democracy, keeps schtum as Bahrain, host to its 5th fleet, deploys snipers to snuff out ongoing pro-democracy protests. Yemen, whose tribal areas are also regularly targeted by CIA drone aircraft, killed over 50 democracy protestors yesterday (CNN lavishly peppers the term "Shi'ite" over its coverage as in Iran/dangerous as opposed to freedom-loving) . Somehow, none of the above prevented Hilary Clinton from prancing up and down Tahrir square in Cairo, hailing the magical events there that led to the demise of a personal pal of hers. To call America's friend request vis-a-vis the Arab spring as merely contemptuous would be to deny the decades of propped up dictators, supplying an Iraqi madman with poison gas, wars fought directly or by regional proxy, etc..
Libyans are as deserving of freedom and dignity as anyone using their petrol. Short of actually fucking his mom, Kadhafi is "our" creation.
At least his French fighter planes and Belgian riffles are. Perhaps it's a tad cynical to view the looming intervention as a ploy to quickly liberate the oil installations. Perhaps the armed opposition might have been snuffed out otherwise, leaving Libya an autocratic outlier for an untold number of years in an increasingly democratic region. Perhaps, like the Iranians, Libyans simply need to bide their time, dust off, and try again later. The Arab spring, however messy, incomplete, staggered, and bloody should remain just that. Arab, that is.
This revolution isn't about oil, or at least it shouldn't be. It's about Arab populations exercising popular sovereignty, which is a difficult, complex, painful, necessary, and cathartic process that involves taking steps forward, and some back again. Foreign intervention is, by its very nature, antithetical to this revolution. Helping beleaguered Benghazi might, from an emotional stance, be a chance to right historical wrongs, or just another opportunity to miss an opportunity to but out. Who knows? Historical precedent however strongly suggests the latter.