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March 31, 2011

Libya: Africans killing Africans

Bernie Smith, Parksville, BC

For the entire decade of the 1960s I travelled extensively in Africa, seeing first-hand countless occurrences of disproportionate violence used by government security forces against citizens trying to bring about change in various countries.

I witnessed atrocities from the horrendous apartheid regime in South Africa, to the war of independence in Angola, to the civil war in Congo -- where it rages to this day, despite name changes to Zaire then to Democratic Republic of Congo.

While working in south-eastern Nigeria the Biafran War broke out, and that convinced me it was time to seek employment away from the Dark Continent.

Sadly civil wars and mayhem continued, in my old stomping grounds of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau, as well as places I never worked like Sudan, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.

When Africans killed other Africans, the Western powers worked with the United Nations and other organizations to try and bring settlements by way of peace-keepers, trade embargoes and other restrictions.

Yet now in Libya there is talk of No-Fly-Zones and even military intervention, by those Western interlopers now intent on replacing Muammar Gadhafi. 

Thankfully, the present U.S. President does not have neocons Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsveld nor Paul Wolfowitz whispering into his ear, and Barack Obama’s grasp of history is far better than that of his woefully inept predecessor, whose disastrous interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan drag on.

Madman Muammar has experienced wildly vacillating status as hero and villain ever since he overthrew King Idris in 1969's bloodless coup.

Currently some compare him to the Barbary Pirates against whom the fledgling United States fought wars two centuries ago.

If only the U.S. could revert to the foreign policies of President John Quincy Adams who said : "America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy; she is the champion and vindicator only of her own", but that was long before the all-important interests of multi-national energy companies, of course.

Yours sincerely

Bernie Smith

Parksville, BC

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