By Affuembey Enow Affuembey
As the countdown grew to the attack on Libya; and as it finally happened, I have tried to take a step back and listen to the reaction of my fellow Africans. I am yet to be impressed. I have tried to look at the issue both ways from the beginning of the whole saga. When the rebellion started I heard all sorts of things, but what I noted was it was not consistent. If a similar rebellion had started in Uganda, I would have read about ill-intentioned enemies of the state and peace of peace-loving people and the dexterous leader (who has been in power almost as long as the one on Libya). If a similar rebellion took place in an Arab country with closer ties with the interests of the west (currently Bahrain and Algeria) the language from the State Department, Quai d'Orsai and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office will be well garnished. "If you want to kill a dog, you give it a bad name" and Ghaddafi already had one.
As the battles raged on, I read language from states supporting rebellions in other states. When the Colonel turned the tables, the language also hardened on him. I finally got confused on what the real reason for considering a no-fly zone over Libya was: is it that in trying to crush a rebellion a leader is being too harsh beyond human decency, or is it that there is a long time dictator who finally has to leave (especially now that the "international community" has the opportunity and the means)? Now that the attack has started, my puzzles still linger because of the support I hear for the coalition forces entering Libya to "liberate" the oppressed people from a ruthless dictator.
What bothers me the most is the attitude we Africans are adopting towards the whole situation along all the stages. Why do we support the eclipse of one dictator in crises (Ghaddafi in Libya) and not ask for our saviors from the UN Security Council to equally rid the continent of another dictator in crises (Abdel Aziz Bouteflica in Algeria)? After crying so much of the weaknesses of the AU, why did we not ask the UN Security Council to provide financial and logistical means for the AU to go in and execute the mission currently carried out by powers who tomorrow will not leave. Yes! They will not leave. In the best case, they will leave spies and set up a government that will defend their interests over time. In the worst case, they will set up a military base (maybe the US AFRICOM will finally get a location on African soil) to "protect civilians from any possible future threats". Let us mature a little as a people and stop being excited/arguing about smokescreens which others use to make us think they are defending our interests while the real motives lie elsewhere.
We are hailing this modus operandi for Libya today and what will we say tomorrow if it is proposed for Ghana or Uganda (two fresh oil pumpers on the continent)? Where has all the rhetoric about African solutions to African problems? There is no easy road to freedom, and freedom itself has a very expensive price which the recent events show we are still quite poor to pay.
God Bless you dear Africa.//