I need some inspiration, a shot of adrenaline. Ladies and gentleman:
Dame Shirley BASSEY!
I was eleven years old. The riots were still fresh. The “Poor People’s March” had failed to ignite the revolutionary redistribution of wealth. “Soul Brother” graffiti was still plastered on burnt out buildings in DC. The faint smell of tear gas could be conjured by its mere mention.
On the radio, I heard the song below. Young as I was, I was terribly moved by it. Back then, in spite of the assassinations, gassings and general repression, there was hope, not merely rhetorical, but real hope. Idealism was not just a word in the dictionary, but a core value, shared by many.
I miss those times.
From the BBC:
Ivory Coast: Ouattara wants EU sanctions lifted
Ivory Coast’s internationally recognised President Alassane Ouattara has urged the EU to lift sanctions, in a bid to restart the ailing economy.
Mr Ouattara now controls the main cocoa-exporting port of San Pedro, and wants to restart the trade.
But his troops are still not in control of all of the main city Abidjan, where his rival Laurent Gbagbo remains holed up in the presidential residence.
Aid agencies are warning of a deepening humanitarian crisis in Abidjan.
Residents of the city are without basic amenities such as running water and power, and food supplies are running low.
Witnesses say bodies are lying on the streets after days of bitter fighting between loyalists of the two presidential claimants.
‘Question of principle’
Mr Ouattara, widely recognised as the winner of a presidential election last November, told French TV channel La Chaine Info he was taking measures to get the economy back up and running.
“I have asked that European Union sanctions on the ports of Abidjan and San Pedro and certain public entities, be lifted,” he said.
28 Nov 2010: Incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and challenger Alassane Ouattara in election run-off
2 Dec: Electoral commission announces that Ouattara won 54% of vote
3 Dec: Constitutional Council declaring Gbagbo the winner; UN says Ouattara was victor
30 Mar 2011: Pro-Ouattara forces enter the capital, Yamoussoukro
4 Apr: UN launches air strikes on Gbagbo in main city, Abidjan
5 Apr: Three generals negotiate Gbagbo’s surrender
6 Apr: Gbagbo denies he is ready to leave
Ouattara’s political tightrope
Ivory Coast is the world’s biggest cocoa-producing nation, but uncertainty and violence since the disputed election has badly damaged the industry.
Mr Ouattara said the central bank would begin reopening its branches, and the army would secure delivery of medical supplies to hospitals and food to markets.
He blamed Mr Gbagbo for plunging the country into crisis, but said his forces now had the presidential palace under blockade.
Advisers to Mr Gbagbo, who insists he won the election, say the embattled incumbent is determined not to surrender.
“President Gbagbo will not cede,” said his Paris-based adviser Toussaint Alain.
“It’s a question of principle. President Gbagbo is not a monarch. He is not a king. He is not an emperor. He is a president elected by his people.”
French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said Mr Gbagbo had fewer than 1,000 troops left loyal to him.
Mr Ouattara’s forces launched a sustained offensive last month, rushing southwards from their northern strongholds.
They rapidly took over most of the country, but much of Abidjan is dominated by Gbagbo supporters, and days of fighting has now plunged the city into crisis.
“There are armed rebel groups who don’t know which side they are on looting not only private houses but also some stocks of humanitarian agencies – that is unacceptable,” said the UN’s Elisabeth Byrs.
Last November’s election had been intended to reunite the former French colony, which split in two following a northern rebellion in 2002.
But the result highlighted the divide in the country, with Mr Gbagbo dominating the south and Mr Ouattara winning most of the votes in the north.
As the crisis deepened in the past week, the UN and French forces have joined the battle for Abidjan.
On Monday, they launched air strikes on pro-Gbagbo military bases, after Mr Gbagbo’s forces were accused of using heavy weapons to attack civilians and UN peacekeepers.
The UN has repeatedly called for Mr Gbagbo to step down.
Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court says it will investigate alleged human rights abuses by both sides during the fighting, which has left hundreds dead.
In his TV address, Mr Ouattara promised to punish the perpetrators of violence.
“On behalf of you all I would therefore like to express our recognition to the Republican forces of Cote d’Ivoire for having done their duty,” he said.
“I urge them to be exemplary in their conduct and to refrain from any crimes, any violence against the people or any act of looting. All those involved in such deeds will be punished.”
via Lonnie Plaxico:
John Henrik Clarke
“Powerful people cannot afford to educate the people that… they oppress, because once you are truly educated, you will not ask for power. You will take it.”
Krishnamurti/Freedom from the Known, p.11: DISORDER :”The primary cause of disorder in ourselves is the seeking of reality promised by another… It is a most extraordinary thing that although most of us are opposed to political tyranny and dictatorship, we inwardly accept the authority, the tyranny, of another to twist our minds and our way of life.”
J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life/Relationship Is a Mirror
Surely, only in relationship the process of what I am unfolds, does it not? Relationship is a mirror in which I see myself as I am; but as most of us do not like what we are, we begin to discipline, either positively or negatively, what we perceive in the mirror of relationship. That is, I discover something in relationship, in the action of relationship, and I do not like it. So, I begin to modify what I do not like, what I perceive as being unpleasant. I want to change it;which means I already have a pattern of what I should be. The moment there is a pattern of what I should be, there is no comprehension of what I am. The moment I have a picture of what I want to be, or what I should be, or what I ought not to be, a standard according to which I want to change myself;then, surely, there is no comprehension of what I am at the moment of relationship. I think it is really important to understand this, for I think this is where most of us go astray. We do not want to know what we actually are at a given moment in relationship. If we are concerned merely with self-improvement, there is no comprehension of ourselves, of what is.
|Now that the United Nations Security Council resolution for a no-fly zone has been passed, how will it be implemented?The UNSC Resolution 1973 has made it legal for the international community to protect the Libyan people from Muammar Gaddafi’s lethal and excessive force – by, among other things, imposing a no-fly zone and carrying out military strikes and other military action short of occupation.
However, the overzealousness of certain Western powers like Britain, France and, as of late, the US, to interpret the resolution as an open-ended use of force, is worrisome. With their long history of interference and hegemony in the region, their political and strategic motivation remains dubious at best. Likewise, their rush to use air force individually or collectively could prove morally reprehensible – even if legally justified – if they further complicate the situation on the ground.
This sounds like ‘damned if they do, damned if they don’t’?
Well, the onus is on these Western powers to prove that their next move and actions are based on a strictly humanitarian basis and are not meant as a down payment for longer-term interference in Libyan and regional affairs.
They need to demonstrate how their ‘change of heart’ from supporting the Gaddafi dictatorship over several years to condemning him as a war criminal and acting to topple him, is not motivated by more of the same narrow national and Western strategic interest.
Unfortunately, the Libyan dictator’s statements and actions (and his recent cynical and contradictory threats and appeals) have played into Western hands, making it impossible for Libyans, like Tunisians and Egyptians before them, to take matters into their own hands.
Those who abstained at the UN Security Council, including Germany, India and Brazil, wanted to co-operate in charting a brighter future for Libya, but are also suspicious of the overzealous French and British eagerness to jump into a Libyan quagmire with firepower.
What then should Libyans, Arabs and other interested global powers do to help Libya avoid a terrible escalation to violence or a major humanitarian disaster?
Now that the international community has given the Libyan revolutionaries a protective umbrella that includes a full range of military and humanitarian actions, it is incumbent upon the Libyan opposition to mobilise for mass action in every city and town both in the east and west and challenge the regime’s militias.
As the Libyan regime loses its civilian, tribal and international legitimacy, so will his security base be shaken over the next few days and weeks.
In fact, if the Libyan revolutionaries avoid complacency and exploit their newly gained legitimacy and protection in order to work more closely with their Arab neighbours and to demonstrate their political and popular weight in the country, the regime could very well implode from within.
The most effective and constructive way to use the newly mandated use of force by the UN Security Council is to use as little of it, as accurately, as selectively as possible, and ideally not use it at all. It is still possible for the threat of the use of international force, coupled with domestic popular pressure, to bring down the weakened regime.
An escalation to an all out war is in no one’s interest, especially Libya’s.
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”
The bombing of Libya will begin on or nearly to the day, of the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the destruction of Iraq, 19th March, in Europe. Libya too will be destroyed – its schools, education system, water, infrastructure, hospitals, municipal buildings. There will be numerous “tragic mistakes”, “collateral damage”, mothers, fathers, children, babies, grandparents, blind and deaf schools and on and on. And the wonders of the Roman remains and earlier, largely enduring and revered in all history’s turmoils as Iraq, the nation’s history – and humanity’s, again as Iraq and Afghanistan, will be gone, forever.
The infrastructure will be destroyed. The embargo will remain in place, thus rebuilding will be impossible. Britain, France and the US., will decide the country needs “stabilising”, “help with reconstruction.” They will move in, secure the oil installations and oil fields, the Libyan people will be an incidental inconvenience and quickly become “the enemy”, “insurgents”, be shot, imprisoned, tortured, abused – and a US friendly puppet “government” will be installed.
The invaders will award their companies rebuilding contracts, the money – likely taken from Libya’s frozen assets without accounting – will vanish and the country will remain largely in ruins.
And the loudest cheerleaders for this, as Iraq, will be running round TV and radio stations in London, Europe and the US, then returning to their safe apartments and their UK/US/Europe paid tenures, in the knowledge that no bombs will be dropping on them. Their children will not be shaking uncontrollably and soiling themselves with terror at the sound of approaching planes.
And this Libyan “Shock and Awe”? Shame on France, shame on Britain and the US and a UN avowed: “… to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” Every shattered body, every child maimed or blown to bits, every widow, widower, orphan, will have their name of those countries, and the UN., written in their blood in their place of death.
And the public of these murderous, marauding Western ram raiders, will be told that we were bringing democracy, liberating Libya from a tyrant, from the “new Hitler”, the “Butcher of Bengazi.”
The countries who have ganged together these last days to overthrow a sovereign government have, again, arguably, conspired in Nuremberg’s: ” … supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole”, and yet again, plotted to overthrow a sovereign government, with a fig leaf of “legality” from an arm twisted UN. We have seen it all before.
In time, it will emerge, who was stirring, bribing, de-stabilizing – and likely few will be surprised at the findings. But by then, Libya will be long broken and its people, fleeing, displaced, distraught.
When it comes to dealing with the usual “liberators”, be careful what you wish for. In six months or so, most Libyans, whatever the failings of the last forty years rule, will be ruing* the day.
* an old word, used in early poetry meaning a deep, haunting regret which remains embedded