Libya: who exactly are the ‘good guys’, again?

The more we explore the situation in Libya, the less convincing the ‘official’ narrative appears. While we’ve always been skeptical of the way in which NATO countries have exceeded the mandate accorded them by UN Resolution 1973, this article suggests systematic deception on a much greater scale than we’ve hitherto imagined. It also shatters the accepted image of the rebels as freedom fighters and Gaddafi as a purely despotic figure.

In fact, if everything in the piece is true (a claim we can’t verify, although it does seem well-referenced and thorough, and the author is an associate professor at a university in Montreal), the entire narrative of a spontaneous uprising, shepherded towards consummation by supportive Western powers, gives way to a tale of atrocities on both sides and distortion of the truth to serve an imperialistic agenda.

Perhaps most shockingly, the article’s author, Maximilian Forte, claims that the rebels fighting against Gaddafi have systematically engaged in the massacre of black Libyans, on the flimsy pretext that they were supposedly ‘mercenaries’. He points out that Gaddafi, while hardly a saint, can actually point to significant social achievements and that the people of Libya were some of the best-educated in Africa under his rule. Also that the position of women was better than in many other countries on the continent, and that the average income, while less than spectacular, was reasonable.

In other words, Libya was far from being a hellhole. Which is not to say that there were no genuine grievances, but it places the demonisation of Gaddafi in a different light. Forte also questions the accepted saws that Gaddafi sent soldiers out ‘armed’ with boxes of Viagra and a licence to rape, that there was a real need to protect Libyan civilians from his wrath, and that he was bombing his own people.

The article deserves to be read. If accurate, it places the intervention in Libya on a par with the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan for illegality, hubris, and as an expression of vested interest.

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