Israel Palestine Infos
October 29, 2011
A View from the Villa
THE KILLING of Muammar Gaddafi and his son Muatasim was not a pretty sight. After seeing it once, I looked away when it was shown again and again on TV – literally ad nauseam.
Commercial TV exists, of course, to make money for the tycoons by appealing to the basest instincts and tastes of the masses. There seems to be an insatiable appetite for gruesome sights.
Ehud Barak likes to
(As I have mentioned many times, this goes right back to the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, who wrote that the future Zionist state would be a part of “the wall of civilization against Asiatic barbarism”.)
Since this attitude has far-reaching mental and political implications, let’s have a closer look.
I AM against the death
penalty, in all its forms. Executions, whether in
But my first reaction to the sight was: My God, how much a people must hate its ruler if they treat him like that! Obviously, the decades of abominable terror inflicted on the Libyan people by this half-crazy despot have destroyed any remnants of mercy they may have felt. (His fanatical defenders to the last, members of his tribe, seem to be a tiny minority.)
His clownish appearance
and foreign adventures diverted the attention of world opinion from the
murderous aspects of his rule. From time to time, on a whim, he let loose waves
of horror, torturing and killing anyone who had so much as voiced a hint of
criticism, trying them in football stadiums, where the roar of the maddened
crowds drowned out the pitiful pleading for mercy of the condemned. On one
occasion, his thugs shot all the 1200 inmates of Abu Salim prison in
True, he spent some money
on building schools and hospitals, but that was a tiny part of the huge amounts
of oil revenue squandered on his bizarre adventures or stolen by his family.
This immensely rich country has a poor population, a singe narrow road from
You did not have to be an
Arab barbarian or Muslim arch-terrorist to do what was done to him. Actually,
the highly civilized Italians (
Contrary to Mussolini and Gaddafi, Adolf Hitler was not caught while ignominiously trying to escape. He chose a much more dignified exit. But during his last weeks Gaddafi rather resembled Hitler, living in a world of crazy delusion, moving nonexistent troops around on the map, sure to the end of the boundless love of his people.
Nicolae Ceausescu, another bloody tyrant, had his day – or hour – in court. It was a charade, as such trials are bound to be. The kangaroo court condemned him to death and he was shot forthwith, together with his wife.
GADDAFI’S DEMISE puts an end to the debate that started months ago.
There can be no doubt any
more that the vast majority of the Libyan people detested Gaddafi and welcomed
the NATO campaign that helped to remove him. It was an important contribution,
but the actual heavy fighting was done by the ragtag people’s army.
I was sharply attacked by some well-meaning European leftists for blessing the awful monster called NATO. Now, in retrospect, it is quite obvious that the overwhelming – if not unanimous – opinion of the Libyans themselves welcomed the intervention.
Where did I differ from
these leftists? I think that they have sewn themselves into a kind of
ideological straightjacket. During the Vietnam war they arrived at a world view
that was appropriate for that particular situation: there were good guys and bad
guys. The good guys were the Vietnamese Communists and their allies. The bad
guys were the
But every situation is
different. Vietnam is not Libya, the South African problem was much more simple
than ours. Great power politics may remain constant, and very unattractive at
that, but there are huge differences between the various situations. I was very
much against the
For me, the starting point of every analysis is what the people concerned want and need, and only after that do I wonder how the international schema applies to them. Working from the inside out, so to speak, not from the outside in.
Also, I have never quite understood the dogma which seems to answer all questions: “it’s all about oil”. Gaddafi sold his oil on the world market, and so will his successors, on the same terms. International oil corporations are all the same to me. Is there much of a difference between the Russian Gazprom and the American Esso?
Some former Communists
seem to have a kind of inherited attachment to
IF GADDAFI’S savage end
has reinforced all the Islamophobic obsessions in the West, the elections in
Help! The Islamists have
won the elections! The Muslim Brotherhood will win the elections in
This is all nonsense. And dangerous nonsense at that, because it may derail any sensible American and European policy towards the Arab world.
Sure, Islam is on the
rise. Islamic parties have resisted the Arab dictatorships and were persecuted
by them, and therefore are popular in the aftermath of their downfall – much as
European Communists were very popular in
Islam is an important
part of Arab civilization. Many Arabs are sincere believers. Islamic parties
will certainly play an important role in any democratic Arab order, much as
Jewish religious parties play – alas – an important role in Israeli politics.
Most of these Arab parties are moderate, like the governing Islamic party in
It is certainly desirable
that these parties become a part of the democratic order, rather than turning
into its enemy. They must be inside the tent, otherwise the tent may collapse. I
believe that this is in the best interest of
Our media are outraged:
the interim Prime Minister of
The outcome of the Tunisian elections was, to my mind, very positive. As expected, the moderate Islamic party won a plurality, but not a majority. It must form a coalition with secular parties and is willing to do so. These parties, totally new and practically unknown, need time to establish their identity and structure.
To add a personal note,
Rachel and I went to
If elections in other Arab countries follow this pattern, as seems probable, it will be all for the best.
THE OBAMA administration was clever enough to jump on the bandwagon of the Arab revolutions, though at the very last moment. We Israelis did not have this sense. Our Islamophobia has caused us to miss a golden opportunity for a new image among the young Arab revolutionaries.
Instead, we contrast our goodness with the barbarism of the Libyans, who have once again shown the true nature of the jungle surrounding our villa.