The release of the Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor from their Libyan nightmare is undoubtedly good news. The children infected by HIV in the Benghazi hospital and their families payed a heavy price for the lack of basic hygiene and accountability in the Libyan health system. In fact, many international health experts reportedly found that the infections occurred prior to the recruitment of the falsely accused medical staff. But what was the price for this happy outcome?
The French president who clearly upstaged the European commissioners’ team of negotiators, in an apparent move to take the credit for the whole story, is due today under the TENT of Khaddafi. A French MEP, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, warned yesterday on the French Radio that Europe is maybe forgetting what type of regime it is dealing with. That’s a country where nepotism is the rule, opposition is bitterly repressed and where jails are full of political prisoners. Apparently, the Libyan brutal dictator has successfully removed the last hurdle for his regime’s integration into the (so-called) international community. Sarkozy, it is believed, will try to benefit from this overture to position French businesses, especially in the highly sensitive AND lucrative fields of oil and armement. So it’s basically, back to business as usual! Sarkozy is notoriously close to the very powerful circles of the French industry and to wealthy businessmen (many of which are arms dealers), and who openly supported him during his presidential campaign.
Some would argue that that’s Realpolitik, but peoples of the south know only too well what that means: more powerful dictators, more poverty, more alienation, more repression and more radicalization. In short: the ills of today’s World, where Europe has to cope with waves upon waves of “illegal” immigrants and with fighting terrorism which stems mainly from the aforementioned conditions.
It’s astonishing to see the levels of hypocrisy and double standards involved in the dealings of the Western leaders with despicable regimes around the world, but especially with Europe’s southern neighbours: the rulers of the Arab World. Continuing with the same short-sighted approach, will only increase the bitterness and hopelessness of these countries’ populations. All the repeated incantations about Human Rights, the need for the “free World” to “spread democracy…” don’t seem to mean much when despots are whitewashed and labeled “moderates” from the moment they become “business friendly”, docile and complying.
Was it a good thing to deal with Khaddafi to free the medical workers? surely, but now that they are free, the so-called “free world” should think of the millions still trapped.
Tony Blair visited Khaddafi incidentally just before he left office. Many have noticed the unusually upbeat tone of Blair when he talked about the “changes” and “reforms” that “Muammar” has implemented. Yes; he called him by his first name. That might suggest some kind of “special” relationship I guess. The former British PM has since been catapulted: the Quartet “PEACE” Envoy to the Middle-East, rather than being sent to the international war crimes tribunal in the Hague.
Blair was of course the partner in crime of George W. Bush in conducting an illegal war of invasion and subsequent occupation of a sovereign country that represented no threat for neither Britain nor the US, and which resulted in the deaths of at least three quarters of a million Iraqis (according to last year’s Johns Hopkins University’s estimates), of thousands of British and American soldiers and which transformed Iraq into a cause-célèbre for global terrorism. All of this of course aggravated by a campaign of lies and misinformation, viciously orchestrated prior to the war.
Blair has now been assigned to the mission of helping to “bring peace” to the middle east. Many observers noted the almost non-existent authority this new role carries. Nevertheless, the former PM appears to take his new job seriously and has already made his first appointment in his office in the occupied Jerusalem: Daniel Levy the son of “Lord” Levy, a wealthy pro-Zionist lobbyist, who became notorious after his involvement in the “Cash for Honors” scandal in Britain.
In the last weeks of Blair’s Prime-ministership, he repeatedly tried to justify his support for Bush’s war and he showed obsessive concern with his legacy. But many would agree that this legacy could be summed up in one four letters word: IRAQ. Let’s hope that neither he, nor his allies will add another victim to this shortlist.