Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Liberated Libya

Dear readers

Liberation is breaking out all over. I am thankful for the positive outcomes in Tunisia's election. For more detailed coverage, I refer you to The ArabistA Personal Note on Tunisia's Elections, The Arabist But, I have limited time and energy, so will keep my focus on things closer to home.

Presciently, Democracy Now had reported before Qadaffi's death that Qadaffi was particularly threatened by Islamists, and ordered them detained, tortured, and killed. Nermeen Shaikh, Anjali Kamat, and Amy Goodman discussed the fact that Islamists will be free to speak under the new government.

Democracy Now also interviewed Mahmood Mamdani, of Uganda, who I think is a genius. He noted that Libya is more divided than neighboring Tunisia and Egypt. He commented on the increasingly military focused approach of the West towards Africa. Concerns were expressed by both Kamat and Mamdani that the NATO powers would try to extract concessions from the Libyans, with the potential for turning Libya into another Iraq.

Overall, DN has great Libya coverage. Here is a taste.

Muammar Ghadafi killed in Libya as Interim Government Seizes Last Stronghold. Democracy Now.

Democracy Now generally has great coverage of a lot of things, and even the New York Times has noticed.

A Grassroots Struggle Gives Voice to Struggles, New York Times.

Meanwhile, not everyone is happy about Qadaffi's death. Qadaffi was particularly close with Uganda. Many Africans believe that the west only intervened in Libya to gain access to the oil. Nigerian Muslims also mourned Qadaffi's demise, and some leaders suggested retaliation was possible. Qadaffi cultivated many African allies, and was a strong supporter of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. South African mercenaries may have been involved in helping Qadaffi escape.

Josh Kron, Many in Sub-Saharan Africa Mourn Qadaffi's Death, The New York Times.

Gadaffi's SA Soldiers, the New Age.

Meanwhile, the leaders of Libya's transitional government, including Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, the chairman of the Transitional National Council, has vowed that the new government will be based on Islamic tenets. Islamic banks will be established, and Libyan men can marry more than one wife now. (Hurrah for them).  The New York Times characterizes this move as "a new piety."

Adam Nossiter, and Kareem Fahim, Revolution Won, Top Libyan Official Vows a New and More Pious State, The New York Times.

In my view, this statement in and of itself is not that controversial, as elements of Sharia are present in most countries, including Egypt. I have written many posts on this, including this one Initial Thoughts on Shariah Law and Women. The issue is whether having law based on Islamic tenets will result in discrimination against those who are not Islamic, such as Jews, Christians and Bahai. This is, in my opinion, a matter of both interpretation and enforcement. Has the US and NATO bet on the wrong horse again? Taliban anyone?

Sorry to be a contrarion, but I am one of those who is a bit concerned that Qadaffi was captured alive, and then executed. A better approach would have been to put him on trial, like Saddam Hussein or Hosni Mubarak. The right to a fair trial is, after all, one of the cornerstones of democracy.

Max Fisher, Qaddafi was captured alive, who killed him? The Atlantic. 

I was appalled by Secretary Clinton's comments on Qadaffi's demise. Have some, gravitas Madame Secretary. Death is not a game.

We Came, We Saw, He Died.


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