The Libyan disaster


The Libyan disaster

Femi Akomolafe writes on the disaster that is Libya today, three years after NATO’s leaders and their planes brought “democracy” and “freedom” to the North African country.

On 28 July, the BBC assembled a panel to discuss the tragic situation in Libya. According to these “experts”, Western intervention has not worked and Libya is now a “failed state”. But one could ask if the colonial project that killed Muammar Al Gathafi and replaced him with Libya’s current leaders was designed to work in the first place. Was Vietnam invaded to build stability? Or Afghanistan? Or Iraq?

And do we need “experts” to tell us that conquerors throughout history did not set out to improve the societies/countries they invaded? Does it require more than casual intelligence to know that economic/material gain is the only reason countries invade other countries?

It was the great Africanist and historian, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, who said that the desire of every European, whatever his pretension, is world domination. The colonial wars the West has been engaged in over the years, including Libya, were designed to further Western domination, and no one should try and pretend otherwise.

Until 2011 when NATO planes, authorised by NATO member-countries, bombed Libya back into the Stone Age, the country was a relatively stable one with an impressive standard of living. Gathafi had his bad side, but the oil guaranteed his people one of the highest living standards in Africa. This is why a large number of Africans trooped to Libya to look for work.

Listening to the Western media, one will not see any context to the ongoing tragedy in Libya at all

The story why the former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, ably supported by Britain’s David Cameron and NATO planes, decided to overthrow Gathafi and killed him in the process, will one day be told. But let no one pull the wool over our eyes and pretend that it had anything to do with the promotion of human rights or democracy.

The sad condition of Libya today cannot but distress patriotic Africans. It confirms a pattern: invaders will invade and destroy a society/country; they will loot all they can, sack what they cannot cart away, and they will leave. A few years later, their chroniclers will arrive and write about the people’s wretched existence, without mentioning the role the invaders played to reduce the people to penury.

A good example followed the visit of Olfert Dapper, a Dutch traveller to the West African coast in the 19th century. He visited Benin City (now part of modern Nigeria) and compared the city’s sophistication to the best of Amsterdam.

Then the British came, ransacked the city, and looted all the beautiful artefacts they could find. Today, British hagiographers talk about how they brought light to an uncivilised people in Benin City, other parts of Africa and the world.

Listening to the BBC “experts” and those of the other Western media, one will not see any context to the ongoing tragedy in Libya at all. No mention is ever made of the type of society the country was before NATO abused a UN resolution to launch its aggression and destruction of the country.

No mention is made of the fact that a US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, flew to Tripoli on 19 October 2011 and effectively gave the order for the killing of Gathafi.

Speaking to students at the University of Tripoli, Clinton said: “The most important thing to do right now is to make sure that Gathafi and his regime are finally prevented from disrupting the new Libya… But we hope he can be captured or killed soon, so you don’t have to fear him any longer.”

Secretary Clinton was speaking about a sitting head of an African state. No one questioned the source of her legitimacy to so callously and flippantly give the order to execute a ruler of a sovereign African state.


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Written by Femi Akomolafe

Femi Akomolafe, a noted Pan-Africanist, columnist for the Ghana’s Daily Dispatch,, and regular contributor to the New African magazine, has published two books on the continent.

4 responses to “The Libyan disaster”

  1. Author Thumbnail Zvobgo says:

    Dream on you Femi and your Buffour. Killing Gaddafi has made to many girls who were recruited as ‘bodyguards’. Luckily your own relatives was none of them

  2. Author Thumbnail Omar Keita says:

    Well written Femi Akomolafe, may you live long. I know some people will still try to do everything to justify this barbaric invasion to destabilize Libya, and Africa in general. Is time for Africans to lead their own destiny.

  3. Author Thumbnail Moncef Bakail says:

    Kaddafi was a great man.

  4. Author Thumbnail Moncef Bakail says:

    Patrice Lumamba , Kwame Nkrumah and Qaddafi : The same destiny.

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