The Australian’s pro Israel bias
The letter below was sent to The Australian on March 8.
How apt that The Australian (7/4/2011) has front page photos of placards demanding ‘Stop the massacre in Gaza’ and ‘Stop killing children’ and then Israel launched a new massacre (Operation Scorching Summer) of Palestinians in Gaza the next morning.
These photos also showed various Greens politicians speaking before thousands of Australians who were against Israel’s violence in 2009. Can you show photos of Liberal MP Mitch Fifield and ALP MP Michael Danby speaking before racist placards (‘Israel has no place for Arabs!’ and ‘G-D gave land of Israel to the Jews. Hamas, PA, etc out!’ to a much smaller group of pro-Israel people on the steps of the Victorian parliament (4/1/2009) as well?
I can understand the concerns and criticisms of the UN actions (and especially the involvement of the USA in those actions) in Libya expressed by many socialists.
But we must be very wary of going further and attacking the popular rebellion in Libya and perceiving to defend the Gaddafi regime. His corrupt and brutal regime has clocked itself in progressive and anti-imperialist language, while terrorizing, imprisoning, torturing and killing his people. In the1970’s and 80s his government gave arms and backing to some Arab, African and other radical groups, but for the same reasons the various other dictatorial Arab regimes did, in attempts to win favour and impose their policies on them. And also to use their movements when he wanted some political action carried out. The supply of aid was dependent on accepting Libyan influence.
Unfortunately, his progressive posturing in those times deceived some good and decent people. Today most politically conscious people should be aware of his empty rhetoric.
Gaddafi and his family and cronies have amassed the power and riches from Libya’s oil wealth and squandered more in various schemes, lavish parties and expensive trips overseas. Meanwhile inequality abounded and many Libyan people did without basic welfare, medical and education services and other necessities of life. Let's look beyond words and appearance and examine the substance of the man and his regime.
He has been working together with the many western companies in exploiting Libyan resources. He runs a crony capitalist system that relies for support on his family, friends and mercenaries. Now he is ruthlessly trying to cling to power and indiscriminately bombing and shooting his people for defying him.
So, now to keep on ruling Libya he proclaims the rebel opposition are Al Qaeda and US imperialist agents. There may well be some Islamic extremists and western backed people in the opposition, but that doesn’t mean the rebellion is led or composed of just those people.
In fact I think it is a broad and popular movement that is ranged against Gaddafi and I believe that Al Qaeda, Iran and the colonialist west are all discredited in the eyes of the vast majority of Libyans and other Arabs. The experiences of the past decades of Islamic rule in Iran, Al Qaeda’s vicious campaign and the US-led invasions and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been lost on the Arab and other peoples of the region. I think they have learned valuable lessons over this time and are not fighting and dying to install another corrupt dictatorship or new colonial masters. Sure the Americans and their European allies are not there for humanitarian concerns, but because they want influence. But that doesn’t mean they or Iran or other outside forces will get what they want and prevail.
It’s really their uprising and we should not be so quick to condemn the people of
Libya for not following some revolution script we have mapped out. Rather, we should have some faith in the masses, in their ability to make practical decisions and mistakes along the way. As in life, in revolution there are risks about how things will turn out.
After decades of oppressive subjugation, let’s rejoice that the people have risen up and support them. And let’s not write them off with some speculation that they are all working for some outside power. Gaddafi and the other Arab rulers are saying they are battling outside powers, but they would say that wouldn’t they, in desperation to maintain their rule. I’m against western imperialism and colonialism and also the royal feudalist, crony capitalist, religious extremist and military regimes that exist in the Middle East.
And in wars between the various cruel, despotic rulers and western capitalism I’m not with either of them, I’m on the side of the people. Gaddafi is not a friend of the people, nor is he some sort of progressive or socialist. He’s just like all those other corrupt, repressive regimes ruled by the royal, religious, military and other family dictatorships and he doesn’t deserve any support from the left at all.