FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Collapse in Libya

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

 

More articles by:

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

January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposal Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail