The European paradox: 'the violence must stop' but 'we will act only if lots more people die'

Published: March 14, 2011 at 3:32pm

Reuters, today:

“Everyone here is puzzled as to how many casualties the international community judges to be enough for them to help. Maybe we should start committing suicide to reach the required number,” said rebel spokesman Essam Gheriani in Benghazi.

“It is shameful,” he said. “We are hoping today for some development such as a resolution” at the Security Council.

92 Comments Comment

  1. William Hague says:

    Essam Gheriani is right, but after the gaffe when on TV, beamed around the world, I said that Gaddafi is on his way to South America, nobody gives me credit anymore. I wonder why? Everybody makes a mistake once, or twice, or three times, or four times …

  2. Another John says:

    This sentence struck me too when I saw it. How saddening (and shameful, even if I can do nothing about it). I hope that the Libyan cries for help do not fall on deaf ears and cold hearts.

    • gaddafi says:

      Ghandek ragun hafna. Imma wisq nibza li l-ghajjat w il-krib tan-nies ta’ Benghazi se jaqa fuq widnejn torox.

      Fuq l-ahbarijiet kien hemm notizja dwar dghajsa f’1500 ruh mill-Libja li qed jaharbu minn MEWTA CERTA. Gew lejn Malta, u x’ghamel il-gvern Kristjanissimu ta Gonzi? BAGHATHOM LURA!

      [Daphne – Fil-fatt, il-gvern nnega li ghamel dan.]

  3. Dee says:

    It is not the first time in European history that diplomats and international agencies preferred to look the other way whilst millions perished thanks to the whims of a tyrant.

    Seems that history is repeating itself whilst Gaddafi unleashes the ”Final Solution’ on his people.

  4. I really sympatise with Essam Gheriani, the rebel spokesman in Benghazi,.If I were in his place I wouldn’t put to much hope of ever receiving any help, from the international community.With all respect the brave people of Libya, should have first judged their strength, before starting their uprising, If any help is given to them, it should be humatarian help not military, as they are expecting, after all it is their fight and they shouldn’t expect other countries to risk there people in getting them out of the impass they are now finding themselves in.

    • Another John says:

      Alla hares kullhadd jirraguna bhalek.

    • Harry Purdie says:

      You are a very sad ‘man’. Also, check your spelling, ‘their’ not there’.

      • Yes in fact I am a'” sad”. man, who wouldn’t be ?,seeing what is going on a few miles away. I sincerly hope you are not one of those unfortunate man who is enjoying all this ,just to have something to write and read. in case you are I really pity you for your stupidity. Thanks for drawing my attention to my misspelling. next time try to shoot down the message not the messanger.

      • Harry Purdie says:

        Silvio, as I expected, you misinterperated my meaning of ‘sad’. Look up ‘pitiful’ in Webster’s (that’s a dictionary).

        I appreciate your acknowledgement of your error, actually it was a grammar error. By the way, you screwed up again, ‘one of those unfortunate man’ should have been ‘unfortunate men’. You really should seek help, and not just grammatically.

      • Harry Purdie says:

        It is a recipe book, Silvio, for the brain. One should read it at least once, from cover to cover.

    • La Redoute says:

      It’s their fight, yes. But their enemy is not of their own making. Everyone who got something out of Gaddafi’s long rule is as guilty as hell.

    • TROY says:

      The protester’s aim was never for an armed conflict, but for a peaceful show of the people’s wish to live in a proper democracy as human beings.

      Their strength was in their will and perseverance and not in the number of weapons they had.

      It was the dictator that picked up arms against his own people.

    • john bisazza says:

      Sorry Mr. Silvio, but I cannot agree with your distorted arguments. Do you remember Hungary in 1956 when the poor inhabitants were pleading for help whilst Russian armoured tanks were having a field day in Budapest?

      I am sure you are aware of this. But are you? I fully support your eagerness to express your views, but bir-rispett kollu, I am gradually discovering that whenever you attempt at putting forward some positive argument you end up with some form of negativity.

      • Dear JONH, of course I remember Hungary. What I don’t recall is which country helped the people with the uprising. Do you? Doesn’t it seem like history is repeating itself. How am I being negative by expressing my doubts, that no one will help the Libyan rebels.? Don’t you think that part of it is their fault, You remember them saying they need no outside help, and that is what they are getting..Looking on the positive side, The more they suffer the more they will appreciate their Liberty, when they acquire it.

      • Another John says:

        Amazing Silvio, ‘Looking on the positive side, The more they suffer the more they will appreciate their Liberty, when they acquire it.’…. I am speechless.

  5. kev says:

    The globalist/corporate controllers of the West don’t give a hoot about ‘democratisation’. That’s the false justification of the means towards other, at times sinister, ends. In effect, the criteria for military intervention vary in time and place according to requisites other than democracy and bleeding hearts.

    If, for a variety of reasons, the most powerful of this globalist pyramid (which exists organically) want turmoil and conflict in the region at this particular stage, they can achieve this through the various actions and/or non-action of their minions in government all playing red-blue partisan games.

    I wouldn’t be impressed by the rhetorical battles of the minions – the Sarkozys vs the Obamas, and so forth, even if they could reflect some of the aims of the higher political order. These could be peppered with false leads.

    The bottom line is that final decisions for military intervention are taken by these higher, secretive entities. If it suits the ‘higher cause’ that Gaddafi should commit further atrocities, then he would be allowed to do so, even provoked if needed, and his actions could then be exaggerated out of proportion by the corporate media.

    But only as required.

    Keep in mind that Libya is a very small component of the wider picture.

    If you don’t want to be fooled and disappointed, don’t base all your news on the Western corporate media, especially if you are keen to believe them.

    Here’s a different analysis by a Russian envoy:

    • Antoine Vella says:

      Kev, I see you’re an avid Dan Brown fan.

    • La Redoute says:

      Why should anyone trust the Eastern corporate media?

      Sometimes, it’s little Red Riding Hood who eats the Big Bad Wolf. Either that, or you’re already dead.

    • Another John says:

      kev, if you don’t mind – what makes the sources you choose to cite from more credible than mainstream sources?

      • kev says:

        Another John, you need to check ALL sources and do the research. I admit that the above is a very simplistic way of putting it and I should know better than to simplify such complex matters.

        The hierarchy above governments is multi-layered and multi-faceted. The BBC, for example, is more powerful than the British prime minister but not more than, say, the Trilateral Commission or the Council on Foreign Relations. The corporate media networks, like the CIA, remain a tool in the hands of the very few.

        Moreover, not every issue interests the hierarchy evenly – vertically and horizontally. If an issue is irrelevant at a certain level, or its outcome is inconsequential, then they leave it to their minions to decide. Sometimes the minions fight it out at their political level, giving the impression that constitutional democracy is at work.

      • Another John says:

        kev, would I be correct to think that your basic theory is that the world is ruled by a very few and secret elite and that democracy is a sham? That these elite are the puppeteers pulling the strings? That basically, the peoples who think that they are living in the free world are in fact the puppets?

      • kev says:

        Yes, that would be the cliche way of putting it.

        Here’s Bob Bowman, a 2006 congressional nominee (D), who gives some insight –

        Bowman is “a former Director of Advanced Space Programs Development for the U.S. Air Force in the Ford and Carter administrations, and a former United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel with 101 combat missions. He holds a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Nuclear Engineering from the California Institute of Technology.”

      • Joseph A Borg says:

        “The BBC, for example, is more powerful than the British prime minister”

        What a load of bull. The BBC got pummelled by government whilst investigating and reporting the lead-up to Iraq.

        Kev, I agree that there are powerful interests but not the secret all powerful entities you mention. You imbue it with a certain mythology. If I were you I’d simply focus on old powerful families, the up and coming lackeys doing their bidding and nouveau riche who want more and are ready to trample who ever’s in their way. But there are people who happen to be rich and powerful and still want a fairer society.

        Very rich people have a disproportionate amount of influence by simply buying influence and using blackmail through asset control. Some try to do good others are only interested in greed. You turn it into some shadow monster to prop up mystical religious mumbo jumbo.

      • kev says:

        For anyone truly interested in this matter I recommend Carroll Quigley’s ‘Tragedy & Hope’ –

        Revered by politicians, most prominently President Clinton, Quigley was not a dissident ‘conspiracy theorist’ but a Georgetown University professor and a historian specialising in the evolution of civilisations.

        Here’s an amateur video with some quotes:

        Here is the whole book on Scribd:

        And here’s a very interesting presentation by G. Edward Griffin – ‘The Quigley Formula’ (much of what you need to know in order to understand what the conspiracy is all about):

        Part 1 of 8:

        Part 2 of 8: – and you know how to find the rest.

        That’s for the Quigley snapshot. There is an abundance of material by various others from all walks of life. There is lots of disinfo too, so one always needs to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    • Frankie's Barrage says:

      Funnily enough this video was being shown on a loop yesterday on Libyan State TV. I saw it myself.

    • Harry Purdie says:

      Your a wonder, Kevvy. You live and leech off your ‘global/corporate controllers of the West’. Not only are you a delusional conspiracy freak, but you’re also a first class hypocrite

      • kev says:

        I was going to ignore you, Purdie, as you so rightly deserve, but your comment is a disservice to all.

        The globalists I’m talking about are hardly in the European Parliament, even if this is as far as your brain perceives. What you get here are mostly federalist minions ostensibly representing the peoples of Europe. I work with so-called ‘eurosceptics’ in this parliament – totally in line with my political beliefs.

        So before scribbling a comment, Purdie, be sure you know what you’re talking about.

      • Another John says:

        Kev, as opposed to an ‘establishment sceptic’ please describe a ‘eurosceptic’.

      • kev says:

        Another time, Another John.

        ‘So-called ‘eurosceptics” is what I said – surely you understand that.

    • ciccio2011 says:

      Kev, let’s put it this way. Based on what Gaddafi (not the BBC) has said, why shouldn’t the US and Britain allow Gaddafi to kill a few more Al-Qaeda terrorists? The US and the UK never managed to kill anything close to “more than one thousand” Al-Qaeda terrorists in three weeks of fighting.

      • ciccio2011 says:

        PS. I must say that while posting my comment to Kev, I never realised that there was such a long queue before me. I would never have waited here.

  6. Joseph A Borg says:

    Turkey seems to be against intervention, even ‘surgical’ air strikes. The US seems to be wary of who’s really in command of the Rebels. I assume they’re afraid of another Iran.

    I would assume the French and Italian secret services would have better information than the Americans even though this upheaval in Libya seems to have taken everybody by surprise…

  7. Reuben Sachs says:

    The Libyan people at first said “no foreign intervention”.
    Because the revolution did not have the success of Tunisia and Egypt, for obvious reasons, they now plead for assistance. The fiddling Euro politicians haven’t a clue what to do.

  8. H.P. Baxxter says:

    I don’t know why everyone is so despondent. Even if Gaddafi lives out the revolt, and crushes the rebels, things will never be the same again, and sooner or later he will be ousted. No European country, bar our whore of an island, will want to be seen to be doing business with him. So he’ll be effectively crippled. Then we’ll have round two, and he’ll be gone.

    • I am eager to see, which of the E U states,will be the first to start licking Gaddafi’s backside, should he come out the victor.

      • Another John says:

        Silvio, first of all, Gaddafi’s rule will be over in a few days. Secondly, even if by a very long stretch of the imagination Gaddafi manages to stay in power in Libya (or parts of it), no decent European leader will ‘start licking Gaddafi’s backside’ again. But I have no doubt that very soon Gaddafi will be in the cross hairs of some air to surface guided missile.

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        You’ll probably be at the front of the queue. You sound like those goddamn businessmen who love to strut about on our newspapers.

    • Joseph A Borg says:

      Baxxter, here’s War Nerd’s take on Gaddafi back in 2004…

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        Ah, a fellow Exiled reader. That was the best newspaper in the whole world. It’s lost some its spunk ever since they were kicked out of Russia but by god, I still f**king worship them.

  9. TROY says:

    I can understand the frustration the Libyan people opposed to the Libyan regime are feeling, but things are not dormant as a military build-up is ongoing off the coast of Libya and believe you me, as soon as the UN gives the green light the Colonel wouldn’t know what hit him.

    Gaddafi’s days are numbered.

    • Frankie's Barrage says:

      His days may be numbered but he will be around a while longer. This rebellion appears doomed, not even a no fly zone can save it.

      Gaddafi’s forces will still be able to use their heavy artillery, helicopters and naval bombardments no problem.

  10. Antoine Vella says:

    The reluctance of Western powers to intervene is having tragic consequences for Libyans and, indeed, all Arabs. It also disproves the usual anti-Western rhetoric (to borrow a word from Kev) that the US and Europe always step in wherever oil is concerned.

    • Edward Caruana Galizia says:

      I think that is the price we pay for having too many conspiracy theories around. Pehaps there is truth in them, but now, out of fear of being criticised for doing what needed to be done, the alternative has come to pass.

      Do nothing, and watch a country drown in its own blood. Well that’s ethical!

      • Another John says:

        Edward, you put in perfect words what everyone knows (or should know, rather). The flak thrown at the US (mostly) and its allies because of the Iraq and Afghanistan missions could have tipped the scales in favour of cautious approaches in other scenarios.

        The usual ‘oil’ songs come to mind too. And look at Britain (the Iraq Commission) and how Blair’s detractors try to pin him down for his decisions. Would that not make the leaders of the moment think twice about whether they should do the right (obvious?) thing or wait for UN consensus before acting on Libya?

  11. drewsome says:

    I wonder what the eventual ratio of deaths per barrel will be.

    And on a general note regarding the actual fighting on the ground and any external interventions of any sort. There is a military axiom that goes something like “Amateurs discuss strategy. Professionals discuss logistics”.

  12. carlos says:

    This is just history repeating itself. This happened in Hungary in 1956, in Czechoslovakia in 1968, and in China 1993, and in more recent times in Tibet. The Democratic western only encourages the uprising but when it comes to concrete action they hold back and let the protesters be butchered.

  13. So the UN is sending a delegation to Libya, to try and stop the fighting.. So Dr.T.Borg isn’t so stupid, after all. Mediation is still an option.

  14. A. Fenech says:

    It is indeed shameful that even if one person were to die to be free of brute force it would have been too much, let alone the thousands who have now perished.

    Personally, I feel ashamed of myself that I can feel their cry for help and yet can do nothing. Why don’t the people with political clout, whose clout I gave them myself, react with how I expect them to react and help them?

    One disturbing reason I give myself is that since it is not happening personally to us it doesn’t hurt us that much. And yet, at some point in time all of us felt suppressed and/or victimised, so really the political clout is alive and kicking. So what, actually, is keeping us back?

  15. A. Charles says:

    If Gaddafi wins will the pro-Gaddafi Libyans in Malta and the MLP supporters, with KMB and John Dalli, go out in the street to celebrate? This is only a hypothetical question.

  16. Ivan Magro says:

    Can any one of you state in plain and simple English what kind of action are you expecting from the UN, US, EU, Arab nations?

    Is it some kind of carpet bombing of Tripoli? An invasion? Assassination of Gaddafi?

    Just by saying that we need to intervene, doesn’t really express much detail.

    • Another John says:

      I think that there is a consensus among the majority of contributors here that we expect a resolution from the Security Council for a no-fly zone, which as a by-product of it there will be the unfortunate (not) but necessary precision bombing of Gaddafi’s hard ware. This will be followed by the successful over-coming of his forces by the Libyan freedom fighters. The saga will hopefully end by a just and QUICK reckoning of justice by the victorious freedom fighters.

    • Stefan Vella says:

      Personally, I’d settle for a no-fly zone and aerial bombing/strafing of Ghaddafi’s armor and troops. It should be enough – if not, UN troops on the ground with a licence to engage.

      Since I doubt Russia and China will reverse their objections, it will have to be the EU/US. Somehow, I doubt the Arab nations will do more than talk. Scratch that, nobody has done anything except talk.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      THANK YOU, Ivan Magro, for talking sense. It’s become a rare thing in the rush to gob off about a no-fly zone and intervention.

  17. Antoine Vella says:

    I’m glad the the National Libyan Council has formally asked Malta to recognise it as the legitimate government of Libya. This will force us to take abandon our ambiguity and take sides. If we recognise them we’ll be siding with them against Gaddafi; if we don’t recognise them we’ll be siding with Gaddafi against them.

  18. Anthony says:

    The Rwandan genocide started less than seventeen years ago.

    This makes it recent.

    Around one million Tutsis were murdered in a few months. I will not dare go into the blood-curdling details.

    It was a government-conducted genocide. It was all meticulously planned, discussed by cabinet and voted for.

    The UN lifted a weak finger. Nothing really happened in the way of intervention.

    The interests of the USA were not directly threatened. Most people I know only found out about it when it was all over.

    Almost one million human beings in onehundred days. That makes it ten thousand a day give or take.

    In comparison, the Libyan tragedy looks like a minor traffic accident.

    It pales into insignificance.

    This is the history of mankind.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      Thank you for illustrating my point so perfectly. Wars should never be about the number of human beings killed, but about one’s strategic interests. It’s callous, but it provides the only workable rule.

      It is in Europe’s interest to see Gaddafi gone. However, the rebellion started less than four weeks ago, and we have plenty of time to come up with something better than a poncy no-fly zone.

  19. Ragunament bazwi - the milk of human kindness edition says:

    Maltese people extend a warm welcome to strangers from other shores on

    d. borg
    The people that were evacuated from Libya went straight back to their countries, but if these immigrants come here they will remain here. We have neither the space nor the money to keep these people and that’s the plain truth. We have already more than enough immigrants roaming about.

    The EU should make sure that any military deal or Marshall type of help from its own part should be accompaigned by sound human rights and repatriation deals. If Malta can honor the Dublin 2 treaty then why not Libya which is a bigger and richer nation? Immigrants should be helped in Africa and access to Europe should be done in a legal way and not through organized crimes.

    Malcolm Farrugia
    If Libyans would do like the Tunisians are doing, that after they topple the dictatorship they will embark in thousands to reach the european shores, we will be in deep trouble both in culture and demography. I cannot understand why we should accept the north africans in Malta and Italy once their government cease to exist, they cannot claim to have fled from oppresion once ghaddafi is either ousted or executed. This is all an excuse for gold diggers to populate europe. We should block our frontiers and let them sail to other shores.

    Willy Apap
    Aces to the Government for that sweet decision .
    Last thing we need is more freeloaders.

    malcolm seychell
    Why should the government deny it?? He should be proud if the did it, because he would be a sending a strong message ‘ do not come to Malta’

    Salv Lia
    Nice, keep on returning them !!

    saviour chircop
    well done to the goverment if this is true. we have had enough now. we already have loads of problems in our country.every boat that tries to enter in our perimeter should be given fuel and water and sent back to their origin.

    Government would have done the right thing to return them to their country. Where would Malta accommodate all that number.

  20. David says:

    There may be a ray of hope in the Libyan conflict. Talks are being held in Libya by the United Nations.

    I think all the world augurs that these talks will not be useless.

    [Daphne – Then all the world is a fool.]

    • Joseph A Borg says:

      Peace talks are primarily aimed at stopping the conflict. Usually this means that the weaker side has to bend over backwards to accommodate the other party.

    • Zorro says:

      Agreed D. The time for talking is long over. Why are we still pussyfooting when thousands of innocents are being decimated?

  21. Anthony Farrugia says:

    Joe borg(14 hours, 8 minutes ago)
    It is a shame that the Maltese government has not reacted or even indicated that it will react to this request for recognition from the free people of Libya. It seems that our politicians want to continue to recognise the bloodthirsty dictator in Tripoli while he kills his own people. I hope that these same politicians will not start moralising in the near future on family values and other rhetoric from divorce to abortion they are so good at, when all they did was to turn their backs in the face of the slaughter of innocent civilians a few hundred kilometres to our south. In any case, Malta stands a better chance of getting its maritime boundary dispute with Libya resolved by negotiating with the interim Government in Benghasi rather then with the tyrant in Tripoli. We tried for decades to negotiate with this violent man and failed.

    Joseph Cachia(11 hours, 45 minutes ago)
    Yes Sir, we don’t reconize renegades.
    The regime been there 40 years. During that time gave Gebril a chance to attend
    a college, gave him home for his family and a decent life, contrary to GEBRIL
    leader, Mr Senussi , who under his family reign gave LIbyans corrugated sheds to
    live in and 8 Dinars monthly labouring in Idris estates and an education on tending goats.
    The shame is you, not our GOVT., who with no knowledge of LIBYA or the regime typed a comment

    Jacob Sammut (8 hours, 51 minutes ago)
    Joe borg as the saying goes, fools rush in where Angels fear to tread. I think that the Prime Minister has learned his lesson when he jumped the gun by saying that Gaddafi is finished. If you are so anxious about helping the rebels, why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and go and join them to oust Gaddafi?

    When I read comments like those by Joseph Cachia and Jacob Sammut, I realise how ignorant and shallow people can be; it makes me want to puke !

  22. red nose says:

    If thre are strategists among the rebels in Benghazi, they should read huistory and they will soon learn why Rommel lost the North African war. He stretched his supply line and could no longer maintain a strong front.

    The rebels should wait for Gaddafi’s troops to start marching towards Benghazi and then pounce at the weakest point to cut the supply line to the front

  23. Brandon Kester says:

    Regarding the neutrality issue, it is worth bearing in mind that the relevant clause states “(…) Malta is a neutral state actively pursuing peace, security and social progress among all nations by adhering to a policy of non-alignment and refusing to participate in any military alliance. Such a status will, in particular, imply that: (a) no foreign military base will be permitted on Maltese territory; (b) no military facilities in Malta will be allowed to be used by any foreign forces except at the request of the Government of Malta, and only in the following cases: (i) in the exercise of the inherent right of self-defence (…) or in pursuance of measures or actions decided by the Security Council of the United Nations (…)”.

    So Malta can in theory host aircraft and ships for military operations in Libya as long as the UNSC approves. Of course, this clause was written before the UN had completed its transition into the pointless pile of crap it is today. That being said, if the UN delegation is rebuffed by Gaddafi, the Security Council may yet surprise us. And of course pigs will certainly fly high.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      You can tell that this article in the constitution was written by a Maltese person. Because it is so fucking MUDDLED. We’re Maltese, let us confuse issues, yay!

      The sheer mitna ta’ xejn panic jumps out at you in the words. Being a member of an alliance or not does not imply hosting or not hosting a foreign military base. And it does not define “base”. Non-alignment is not the same as neutrality. And so no and so forth.

      They should just have said:

      Malta will never be a NATO member, will actively work against NATO interests, and will pursue a policy of alignment with Libya, North Korea and China.

      Three lines, and Bob’s your uncle.

  24. Farrugia says:

    If the free government of Benghazi is extinguished and removed by the forces of the dictator, Malta should expect thousands of exiles coming over. This time it would not be just sub-Sarahan Africans which the vindictive Gadaffi willingly sends over, but also thousands of Libyan exiles who will face death if they remain in Libya.

    What will happen in Malta? will these people and the present exiles get abducted by Gadaffi’s agents? It is unlikely that he will leave these brave protestors alone in Malta.

    But we are neutral, so we can just close our eyes and moralise about family values while Libyans around us disappear in mysterious circumstances.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      That’s actually not a bad prospect at all. We could have our Mediterranean version of the Bay of Pigs. We could join the rebels in a glorious amphibious landing in Tripoli.

  25. carlos says:

    The USA has every reason to be cautious about committing its military as it has been lambasted many times in the past by its allies for its interference in other countries’ internal affairs. It did not get any thanks.

    The Libyans have no love for the Americans and it is only now that they are calling for their help. Gone are the days when they used to follow Gaddafi in condemnation of everything American. One has to sympathise with the American position.

  26. H.P. Baxxter says:

    Let’s say the US steps up and helps the Libyan rebels. Then in a month’s time we have a Shia uprising in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi army starts killing the rebels, and the rebels ask for US intervention. What would the US do? Use two weights and two measures? Intervene and spark a global jihad, plus a global petroleum crisis?

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