Resurrecting Bismarck in Berlin
In spite of centuries of pretentious practice and specious claims and clamor about commitment to the rights, dignity and equality of men and women, White supremacy finds it continuously difficult to disguise itself and ultimately to restrain itself from its most arrogant, aggressive, predatory and imperial forms. Indeed, it’s the nature and need of the beast that no matter how long it stands on two feet, sooner or later it must fall on all four. As Frantz Fanon reminded us, we must beware of and resist these people who talk so much about abstract “Man”, “yet murder real men and women everywhere they find them, at the corner of every one of their own streets, and in all corners of the globe.”
And so, the major European powers and their dominant descendant, the USA, met in Paris and lined up to wage a colonial crusade against Libya and by extension against Africa and against the Libyan and African people’s right to their own resources and to determine their own destiny and daily lives. Even the Scandinavians, who had given up their wicked Viking ways and once were seen as a sanctuary for refugees fleeing oppression, have joined in this immoral and illegal campaign of destruction, dominance and predatory acquisition of oil, natural gas, strategic space and coercively indebted “allies”. And the Chinese and Russians, who historically vetoed such interventionist resolutions, went along, although they and others, including the Arab League who supported it, are now, somewhat hypocritically, having “morning-after” regrets.
This aggression is peddled as a humanitarian act to save and secure a people from its leader, now characterized as a demon personified, although only a month or so ago, he was considered a rehabilitated business partner and ally against Al Qaeda and the other ghosts and guardians of terrorism. It is one of those examples of irrational reasoning oppressors are known for – claiming they are halting killing by killing, preventing bombing by bombing, and avoiding a humanitarian crisis by creating one. Already, they have launched 162 missiles, dropped 42 plus bombs and made over a hundred airstrikes on various targets in areas with people on the spot or vulnerably close. To explain this away, they constantly trot out some jaded and jaundiced-eyed general to discuss their concepts of acceptable collateral damage, i.e., the cost in human lives, which of course varies according to the race, religion and region of the targeted people.
Pushing the humanitarian claim to its limit, there is some talk about not wanting to be as criminally disregardful as the U.S. was with the genocide in Rwanda. But there is no moral or material equivalent here. Rwanda was a site of genocide, not a case of an authoritarian ruler suppressing an insurgency against him. Thus, it is morally wrong and repulsive to violate the memory and dishonor the death of the victims by using their genocide as a fig-leaf of false concern to justify naked aggression. Second, such a morally repugnant use of the Rwanda genocide is also exposed by the fact that this is only a month-old concern contrived and prompted by the will to seize resources rather than to save a people.
Indeed, there is in all of this half-naked dancing and deception around the pole of humanitarian claims, a rancid and heaving odor of hypocrisy on several levels. First, there is massive killing of civilians regularly and in greater numbers in Afghanistan and Iraq by the U.S. and its allies and financial, military and political support for similar suppression and killing of the peoples of Palestine and Haiti. And there is no conversation that remotely resembles moral concern for the destruction of the lives, land, infrastructure and future of the Haitian and Palestinian peoples. Moreover, U.S. allies in countries ruled by dictators and in which the people are routinely suppressed, killed and denied human and civil rights, are not invaded by Europe or threatened with regime change and thug assassination.
Concerning the dictators in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen, which are suppressing and killing their people at this very time, there is no discussions of fly-zones, no exaggerated claims of genocide and no demonization of the rulers, only perfunctory statements of concern offered as placebos for those who are deemed vulnerable to deception. There is hypocrisy also in counseling the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Yemen to change things non-violently and then secretly arm the rebel groups in Libya and wage war in their name.
This brings us to the issue of another casualty of this invasion, i.e., the people’s legitimate struggle to change and improve their lives and create a just and good society. Even before the meeting in Paris, the Europeans and Americans had already conducted special operations within Libya, arming the population, building and naming a nominal rebel group and trying to dictate the course of the struggle. All people have a right and responsibility to struggle for liberation and ever higher levels of human life. But there is no liberation when outside forces intervene to manipulate the struggle, provoke dissension, divide the people, and then divide the resources of the country among themselves as a reward for saving the people from themselves.
In 1884, Bismarck, Chancellor of Germany, called a meeting of the continental Europeans and the U.S. to divide the lands and resources of Africa. And they too agreed that their very presence was progress; that they did this for the “moral and material well-being” of the African people. But the document of division was essentially dedicated to drawing up rules to prevent the predators from preying on each other. It began claiming to be an agreement “in the name of Almighty God,” but history proved that the document was in the worship and pursuit of imperialism’s twin gods and goals of war and wealth. And only an uncompromising resistance movement can prevent their establishing and sustaining themselves.
The meeting in Paris resurrected the ghost of Bismarck in Berlin and it calls for an enduring commitment to constant struggle and refusal to compromise and collaborate in our own oppression. This is summed up in the statement of the freedom fighter, Umar al-Mukhtar, Lion of Libya, who told an invading Italian general he would not accept compromise or comfort in oppression. Instead, he said, “I will not stop struggling against you or your people until either you leave my country or I leave my life.” And this life-and-death commitment must be made, not only for the defense and liberation of Libya, but also for the whole of Africa itself.