The West has let itself be bluffed by Gaddafi
So now the bastard bombs his own people to cling to power. But who didn’t already know that Libya’s Moamar Gaddafi was a terrorist and a despot?
The United States sure did.
US sanctions - and its toppling of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein - so terrified Gaddafi in 2003 that he surrendered his secret nuclear weapons program to avoid being America’s next target.
But what did the United Nations do about this man whose regime has sponsored terrorists, blown up a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, bombed a Berlin disco, armed the IRA, looted Libya’s national wealth, rewarded Holocaust-deniers, jailed dissenters and ruled by fear since Gaddafi, a colonel, seized power in a coup more than 41 years go?
We’re so used to the standard accusations each time a dictator falls that the wicked US must have propped him up. We’re hearing just that with the fall of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.
But this time what we must face with the infinitely more dangerous and despicable Gaddafi is how feeble he made the UN look.
Worse, how utterly compromised, if not corrupted. How completely unable to defend even the values that so many idealists have foolishly believed the UN embodies.
Here are six things such dreamers need to know about the UN and Gaddafi, the bloody braggart who anointed himself ``king of kings’‘, ``imam of the Muslims’’ and head of the ``Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’‘.
First, Libya was last year elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council - the UN’s highest human rights body - by 155 of the 192 members, just a month before Freedom House listed it alongside North Korea as one of nine countries with the ``worst human rights conditions’’ in the world.
Second, this UN Human Rights Council had the hide last month to subject Australia to a ``peer review’’ of our own human rights record, when its members included not just Libya but China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which is now also shooting its own pro-democracy protesters. These, our UN ``peers’‘?
Third, the UN had Libya elected chairman of the organising committee for its 2009 Conference on Racism.
Once again Libya was allowed to pose as a great moral guide of the UN - while actually turning the event into another festival of anti-Israel hate.
Fourth, the UN made Gaddafi’s daughter Aisha a ``Goodwill Ambassador’’ for its development program, despite her family’s thievery of Libya’s wealth, her endorsement of the IRA and her work on the defence team of Iraq’s genocidal leader, Saddam Hussein, whom she called ``an elected president who was wrongly hung’‘.
Fifth, with Libya now murdering demonstrators, and Arab regimes from Tunisia to Syria rocked by protests against decades of tyranny, what action did the UN’s Security Council take?
It voted this month on just one resolution damning just one Middle Eastern government. No, not Gaddafi’s Libya, but democratic Israel, censured by fourteen votes to just the United States’ veto against for building apartment blocks in East Jerusalem. On Arab autocracies it said zero.
It figures. Why take on an oiled-up Arab dictator and his powerful mates when you’ve got a few friendless Jews to kick instead?
Sixth, when Gaddafi in 2009 addressed the United Nations’ General Assembly he was allotted the usual 15 minutes to speak but ranted on for an hour and half, with another Libyan given the honor of chairing this session.
Our Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had his own speech delayed while Gaddafi raged against the West and demanded $9 trillion in reparations from colonial powers ‘‘in the name of the 1000 African kingdoms’’ he claimed to represent.
Need I go on? The fact is the UN has become a mutual support society for the likes of Gaddafi. So completely has the UN’s moral paradigm been inverted that even Iran, an Islamic fascist regime, was last year voted onto the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women.
Yes, Iran, which punishes women who do not wear a veil in public, is now a UN guardian of women’s rights, even here.
But why be so hard on the UN when the West itself seems quick enough to sell out its own values - literally.
Two years ago Britain returned to Libya one of Gaddafi’s intelligence agents, Abdel Baset al Megrahi, who had been jailed for life for blowing up a jet over Lockerbie, killing 270 civilians.
Megrahi’s release was excused by the Scottish Government as an act of ``compassion’’ to a sick man just weeks from death, but, no surprise, he’s still thriving two years after getting a hero’s welcome in Tripoli and a big hug on television from Gaddafi himself.
Gaddafi’s son and supposed heir, Saif al Islam, hardly needed to explain that the real reason for the release was that the British wanted more oil deals. As he put it: ``All British interests were linked to the release of Abdel Baset al Megrahi.’‘
Then there’s France.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007 boasted he’d helped secure the release from Libya of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor who’d been sentenced to death on false charges of deliberately infecting children with HIV-tainted blood.
It was pure coincidence, he claimed later, that French interests concluded a huge arms deal with Libya just weeks after the prisoners’ release - and just after 438 Libyan families each received $1 million from European sources.
Once again, it was Gaddafi’s son who said, to the astonishment of none, that there was indeed a link.
What fun Gaddafi has had in gleefully exposing Western leaders as lacking the courage of their supposed convictions.
A few months after the Bulgarian nurses flew home, he dropped in on France with 400 of his closest aides and female bodyguards, touring Paris in a 20-car motorcade, shooting pheasants at Versailles, camping in a huge Bedouin tent opposite the Elysee Palace and lecturing a hall full of fans that Libya had a much better human rights record than France, which he said treated North African immigrants terribly.
``Gaddafi is making fools of us,’’ screamed the France Soir front page in rage, but Sarkozy just took it.
Last August it was Italy’s turn to prostrate itself to Gaddafi, who’d flown into Rome with his tent and 30 horses.
On the Sunday, he hired 500 Italian models and actresses to hear him exhort Europe to convert to Islam.
The next day, he hired another 200 pretty women to join him and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at a photographic exhibition where he preached: ``If you want to believe in a single faith, then it must be that of Muhammad.’‘
Good God, how the West has let itself be bluffed by this buffoon.
I know, it can be easy sport to condemn the West for dealing with a dictator, when to ignore him may make him even more dangerous.
But how mortifying for educated Libyans to have the world treat a Gaddafi as the genuine representative of his people - a true Arab ``type’‘.
How mortifying for those of us in the West, too, to have our own leaders go along with this charade, and to give a platform to a man who deserves only the sort that come under a rope.
But how often we now see this happen in this era of ``tolerance’’ and of declining faith in Western culture.
How often we see our timid leaders let process replace judgment, and let tyrants run riot in the halls of monuments we built to promote freedom and peace.
Libya may soon rid itself of Gaddafi, but who is there to rid the UN of the stain he’s left?
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