Libya: the opposing shore

Submitted by Matthew on 11 May, 2011 - 12:02

The divide between Qaddafi’s Libya in the west and Free Libya in the east continues even as Nato begins to intensify attacks against the heart of the regime in Tripoli.

It is curiously reminiscent of Julien Gracq’s The Opposing Shore which described two divided empires across the Gulf of Sirte lasting for aeons.

This is the fear on all sides — that regime intransigence and the inability of the rebellion to militarily secure the west could lead to some form of longer lasting stalemate. The intensification of Nato attacks signal that this is a very real fear.

Certainly for the rebellion it would be highly unsatisfactory, leaving the regime untouched in the west and still in control of a population of millions upon which to practice its violations.

The rebellion is fighting back in Misrata, however, and have pushed the pro-regime forces out of the city. Yet the human cost is huge — many have died and the city is at starvation levels.

At this point one Red Cross tanker has made it through the blockade to deliver supplies including baby foods and medical equipment but the situation is clearly desperate. All in Misrata know what the consequences will be if the pro-regime forces and tribes enter the city.

At the same time the refugee situation is developing in tragic directions. Thousands of mainly sub-Saharan African migrants have been fleeing the North African coast in barely seaworthy vessels.

A ship containing 600 people has broken up outside the port of Tripoli — reports postulate that there are very few survivors.

Another boat drifting in the Mediterranean was reputedly passed by Nato carriers. No help was offered and 61 out of the 72 people on board died of thirst and starvation.

This could be a warning about the human cost of promoting vulgar anti-interventionism. For all of the hypocritical talk about suspending the Schengen agreement which allows free passage across Europe’s borders — there is little real interest among European governments to make any significant moves towards an international effort to alleviate the distress of these migrants.

Thousands of seemingly Somali refugees are being held in concentration camp levels of imprisonment on Italian Lampedusa in the most terrible of conditions.

UN aid chief Valerie Amos has called for some form of brief suspension of hostilities in order to offer respite to Misrata but this does not address the central question of the future of the Libyan people — rather it simply puts a sticking plaster on a gaping wound.

More laughably Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, well known for his softsoaping on political Islam and his vile anti-semitic slurs, has been over to Libya to hob nob with the regime. Libyan television has been circulating this visit widely and it is clearly a propaganda coup for Qaddafi.

This “peace mission” is a way of “reconciling” Libya’s people — as Ahmed says, “It is my wish to try to help the brothers who have fallen out to become friends again.”

He is currently in Libya waiting for other members of his mission to arrive including some Tory MPs opposed to the miliary, political, any kind of elimination of Qaddafi.

Let the people struggle for democracy in Libya offer an answer to Ahmed and his gangster pals. It is not simply a matter of bringing “brothers” together again.

Only when Qaddafi and his family clique are removed from the face of history will the rebels talk of reconciliation — with brothers and sisters, yes. With bloodthirsty tyrants and torturers never.

Add new comment

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.