Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Libyan Government Has Collapsed: World Seems Oblivious!

The world seems to be playing ostrich to the emerging crisis in Libya, which is many degrees more severe and turbulent than the Egyptian revolution proved to be in the end. What is disturbing about the reactions from international heavyweights is the lack of any clear direction on how this expanding humanitarian crisis can be brought to a quick end.

Generals, colonels, ambassadors and the interior minister have already resigned. A hopping mad Gaddafi appeared on TV, and preached fire and brimstone for the Libyan people. The government cannot be reached by it's own representatives and administrators. Every time the government of Libya appears we see a different face, and it's becoming hard to tell what is really going on. The Libyan state is obviously in collapse, yet global powers are prevaricating about, waiting for things to descend into total and absolute chaos before they even make a clear statement about what they intend to do.

Yet these nations claim they are waiting on the UN for guidance. In this respect, the UN cannot continue to be a decorative but toothless dragon. It needs a platform that enables it to take action quickly and expediently in the various circumstances it encounters in the world, especially where crises are concerned. It cannot continue to be an organisation with a response time that takes months and years. It needs to be able to act quickly and effectively while an emerging crisis is taking place and not after it has passed. After all, it is not intended to be a commemorative organisation, but is expected to play a critical role in mediating global crises, conflicts, challenges, disasters, criminality, genocide, crimes against humanity and so forth. It's intention is to serve as a humanitarian organisation for the greater good of the globe. As such, it needs to be able to engage in humanitarian crises directly and not serve as memorial afterthought. It needs to have teeth. Gaddafi can import mercenaries in a flash of an eye, while the UN will take forever to mobilise peacekeeping forces.

But how should the teeth be constructed, and to what end? Perhaps the biggest failure of the UN unfolded in Bosnia, where peacekeepers were powerless to intervene and act in an environment of widespread ethnic cleansing aka genocide. They were there to keep the peace, but how to enforce the peace was lucidly defined, and restricted by mountains of regulations. Rwanda also received the 'wait and see' attitude. It is time to question whether these international organs are actually able to act upon crises when they are needed, or whether they only act when the coast is clear. It is hardly encouraging to people with democratic aspirations everywhere to see people be indiscriminately killed purely for exercising their legitimate human rights to voice their political opinion and to take political action, while the international organisations that are charged with upholding basic minimum rights stands by and watches them perish, issuing strong warnings and weak actions.

The Libyan crisis is a minute-by-minute crisis of unfolding events of very little clarity. It seems that all semblance of stability has disappeared, and now the new spokespeople for the Libyan government claim that Al Jazeera has been paid by the government of Qatar to spread lies about the Libyan government. It seems that the Libyan government is trying to create an enemy in Qatar, making motions towards war. This is a typical response - by deflecting the country towards a threat, and by making war, they hope to create a decoy with which to scare their citizens back into line.

It is an alternate reality that the Libyan government is trying to create, and it is the responsibility of all those watching to bring the Libyan government into the reality of accountability and judgement. 

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