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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obamacare
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
Robert Hunziker
America’s Tale of Two Cities, Redux
David Jaffe
The Republican Party and the ‘Lunatic Right’
John Davis
No Tomorrow or Fashion-Forward
Patrick Cockburn
Treating Mental Health Patients as Criminals
Jack Dresser
An Accelerating Palestine Rights Movement Faces Uncertain Direction
George Wuerthner
Diet for a Warming Planet
Lawrence Wittner
Why Is There So Little Popular Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War?
Colin Todhunter
From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial
Paul Bentley
Teacher’s Out in Front
Franklin Lamb
A Post-Christian Middle East With or Without ISIS?
Kevin Martin
We Just Paid our Taxes — are They Making the U.S. and the World Safer?
Erik Mears
Education Reformers Lowered Teachers’ Salaries, While Promising to Raise Them
Binoy Kampmark
Fleeing the Ratpac: James Packer, Gambling and Hollywood
Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
Paul Street
Donald Trump: Ruling Class President
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Dude, Where’s My War?
Andrew Levine
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
Paul Atwood
Why Does North Korea Want Nukes?
Robert Hunziker
Trump and Global Warming Destroy Rivers
Vijay Prashad
Turkey, After the Referendum
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, the DOJ and Julian Assange
CJ Hopkins
The President Formerly Known as Hitler
Steve Reyna
Replacing Lady Liberty: Trump and the American Way
Lucy Steigerwald
Stop Suggesting Mandatory National Service as a Fix for America’s Problems
Robert Fisk
It is Not Just Assad Who is “Responsible” for the Rise of ISIS
John Laforge
“Strike Two” Against Canadian Radioactive Waste Dumpsite Proposal
Norman Solomon
The Democratic Party’s Anti-Bernie Elites Have a Huge Stake in Blaming Russia
Andrew Stewart
Can We Finally Get Over Bernie Sanders?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail