LIBYA: A DEAFENING SILENCE
By Jody McIntyre/The Independent
So now we are sending Apache jets to bomb Libyan civilians. An escalation in yet another bloody NATO war. Or, in the words of Colonel Jason Etherington, “it just brings something else to the party.”
The entire media have fallen into line. This is a war to protect civilians. This is a war to force Gaddafi to leave. As if Western governments, with their proud histories of human rights abuses across the world, have any moral right to make judgements on the government of Libya. Etherington’s rhetoric reveals a despicable truth, this war is a game for us, a ‘party’ worth extending.
Even Al Jazeera run the accepted story of ‘rebels’ capturing town after town. But they don’t broadcast pictures from Tripoli, the capital, where, except for the NATO bombing campaign, people are continuing with their normal lives. And they never show images of the crimes of this so-called ‘rebel’ brigade, who violently attacked black Libyans and black African citizens in the east of the country, labelling them as ‘African mercenaries’ hired by Gaddafi, despite the fact that all Libyans are in fact African. None of this is reported, because it wouldn’t fit into the accepted narrative. The lovely rebel leadership, many of whom worked for Gaddafi until a few months ago, are our allies. Muammer Gaddafi, the useful villain, is our sworn enemy.
But why such a silence? Unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, which provoked huge outcries across the world, the reaction to Libya has been relatively muted. We have been sold on a false premise, and, as Noam Chomsky would say, have allowed the manufacture of our consent.
Now that the initial smokescreen has been proven a success, the British government, for one, have no need to disguise their aims any more. Not that they ever did. “We’re not going to set a deadline,” says William Hague. Of course not, because imperialism knows no bounds when a war is underway.
It has always struck me that people are most hysterical in their reactions when it comes to a war our country is involved in. If you observe the reality of the situation, then you are accused of not caring about Libyan civilians, or supporting a dictator. Actually, it is our government that is fond of supporting dictatorships, and our government that is bombing Libyan civilians. As Frank Natter wrote on his blog, ‘Straight Talk’, earlier this week, “Everyone of us who is taxed is tacitly consenting and indirectly funding the bombs that are currently being used to kill Afghani and Libyan peoples. To quote Sartre, ‘you are not wonderful, you are murderers’.”
This is nothing to do with protecting civilians, and everything to do with re-establishing a waning military and economic domination in the region. When you consider a list of the few countries in the world that do not have US military bases on their soil, it becomes a lot clearer why our “enemies” are who we are taught they are.
Jody McIntyre is a journalist and political activist. With a regular blog for The Independent, he has also written for The Guardian, the New Statesman, Electronic Intifada and Disability Now. His first book will be published by Verso in Spring 2011.
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