Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive!
CounterPunch’s website is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. We are supported almost entirely by the subscribers to the print edition of our magazine and by one-out-of-every-1000 readers of the site.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Collapse in Libya

by BINOY KAMPMARK

The regimes are panicking in pools of blood.  The earth, it would seem, is moving beneath the feet of those who have stayed in power for decades.  The Libyan authorities have been trigger happy, butchering hundreds.  Those in Bahrain are slaying various protesters at intervals.

Looking more like a frayed drag queen the longer he remains in office, Muammar Gaddafi, after almost 42 years in power, is losing his nerve.  The spectacular last act is being called for, and armies are being summoned.  (Will they materialise?  Increasingly, this is not the case)   As Robert Fisk noted in The Independent, ‘Gaddafi was in a class of his own, Mickey Mouse and Prophet, Batman and Clark Gable and Anthony Quinn playing Omar Mukhtar in Lion and the Desert, Nero and Mussolini (the 1920s version), and, inevitably – the greatest actor of them all – Muammar Gaddafi.’

Despotisms are often vast theatres of spectacle.  The act must go on, because that is very often the only thing that sustains the state in permanent emergency

The prognosis for the government in Tripoli dire.  The Gaddafi regime’s survival is based on a calculus of blood.  Gaddafi has called the demonstrators ‘rats’.  Based on few reports coming from activists, aerial bombardments have taken place.  Snipers have been deployed.  But even spectacular displays of bloody defense eventually fail.  The opposition is proving defiant, and smells the weakness of the regime, calling for more nights of protest in Tripoli’s Green Square.

The breaches of the dam have been noted.  Even within the Libyan regime, arguments are being made, quite openly, that ‘genocide’ is being practised.  Ambassadors have resigned.  Abdel-Moneim al-Houni, Libya’s ambassador to the Arab League in Cairo, has openly called for Gaddafi to leave office.  The deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Ibrahim Dabbashi, has made the observation that, ‘We are sure that what is going on now in Libya is crimes against humanity and crimes against war.’  A faction of Libyan army officers has issued a statement calling for soldiers to embolden the protesters and join them.  Two air force colonels have landed in Malta seeking asylum.  In Libya’s second city, Benghazi, the flag of the monarchy overthrown in 1969 can be seen flying.

Rumors of him fleeing are also circulating.  Ever the thespian, he appeared on television with an umbrella from a car, proclaiming that he was neither in France nor Venezuela, but ‘still here’.  There is even a note of comedy in these rituals of a regime on the run: Gaddafi has been looking for a facelift.  Revolutionary gains, it would seem, are well and truly sagging.

In truth, he is not the only one in need of cosmetic re-adjustment.  The international community has done much to integrate the Gaddafi regime.  The wily fox has been pampered and spoiled, a sign, in a sense, of the genius of his acting.  For that reason, any statement that now comes out of Downing Street, New York, or Washington should be looked at with suspicion.  There is only one show that matters, and they are not part of it.

BINOY KAMPMARK was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

 

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail