Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, March 2011
Libya and Yemen, Two Dictatorial Regimes that Must Go
By Khalid Amayreh
in occupied Palestine
PIC, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, March 28, 2011
After protracted dithering and reluctance, the international community decided to intervene militarily in Libya in order to stop tyrant Muammar Qaddafi from further slaughtering his own people.
The Qaddafi regime declared a ceasefire several times, probably to give an impression that it was complying with Security Council resolution Number 1973, which calls on member states to adopt all necessary measures to protect Libyan civilians form the horror of Qaddafi's military machine.
However, the massacres which Qaddafi forces and mercenaries have committed in Musrata, Zintan and other Libyan towns , in which hundreds of people were killed, show that the regime is only deceiving the world and spreading lies about a ceasefire that doesn’t really exist on the ground.
The unmitigated brutality of the Qaddafi regime, even after the adoption of Security Council resolution # 1973, shows that the only language Qaddafi and his henchmen understand is the language of brute force.
We are talking about a regime that sought consistently to dehumanize his people before moving to effectively annihilate them, using heavy weaponry, including fighter warplanes, heavy artillery, tanks and internationally-prohibited weapons that burn through the bodies of victims.
He called Libyans, who demonstrated for liberty and freedom from 42 years of tyranny and corruption, rodents, rats, vermin, and dirty animals that ought to be exterminated.
As I am writing this piece, Qaddafi's tanks and heavy artillery are pounding residential homes in Musrata, Zintan and other places, killing and maiming many including children?
We are not talking about a classical confrontation between two armies. The Libyan revolutionaries rising up against the Qaddafi tyranny are armed with a little more than AK-47 rifles and some few machineguns which they seized from retreating government forces.
Hence, essentially we are talking about a Stalin-like megalomaniac dictator ganging up on his own unarmed people, punishing them in a visibly vengeful manner in order to teach them a lesson for revolting against him and demanding his ouster.
Hence, the blood of innocent Libyan civilians being spilled by Qaddafi forces in the streets of Libyan towns is crying out to the seventh heaven, crying for a speedy international intervention.
Libyans are asking, how many more Civilians will have to be slaughtered at the hands of Qaddafi's gangsters before the international community decides to act on Security Council Resolution 1973 ? This question becomes especially urgent in light of the fact that Qaddafi and his henchmen are mocking and ridiculing the international resolve to stop the pornographic killings in Libya. On Saturday, Qaddafi was quoted as saying that resolution 1973 was null and void. Qaddafi's Foreign Minister said on Friday the regime accepted the resolution, which reflected the conflicting signals coming from this totally unreliable regime.
Nearly a century ago, the Arab intellectual Abdul Rahman al-Kawakibi wrote his masterpiece, Taba'iul Istebdad, Wamsareiul Isti'bad, translated roughly as the (Nature of Despotism and Fatal Effects of Tyranny) in which he explained the progressive evolution of authoritarianism. He explained that dictatorship starts relatively broad-based, and is then thinned down into a party, and then reduced to a wing or camp within that party. Then the small group is thinned down into a single family, and eventually the family is reduced to one individual, the ultimate dictator, the god-like tyrant, or the strong man, who thinks that he is the country, and the country is him.
Such is the case with many Arab dictatorships which are now struggling, often by massacring their own people, to remain intact in the face of an unprecedented wave of revolutions and uprisings demanding political reforms and democracy.
Qaddafi, the thuggish and visibly nefarious Libyan dictator, is an extreme example of brutal dictators who defy logic. He actually represents a small breed of psychopathic tyrants who are willing to destroy untold number of his people in order to remain power. In fact, we may be talking about a unique example of leaders who combine together psychological pathology, megalomania, and brash brutality as well as the possession of the material wherewithal to kill and destroy on a wide scale. In short, the world must not allow this madman to create another Rwanda in Libya by massacring his own people.
Hence, the man and his regime must be destroyed as soon as possible in order to limit the damage he is undoubtedly capable of inflicting, that is the killing of more people, to less than genocidal proportions.
As indicated above, time is seriously running out, and the lives of hundreds of thousands of people is at stake, as the possible repetition of the Bosnian or Rwandan scenarios may be looming if Qaddafi is given more time to satisfy his sick whims and satiate his thirst for more Libyan blood.
Unfortunately, the situation in Yemen is not much better than the situation in Libya. On Friday, 18 March, there was a real carnage in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, when suspected government snipers strafed peaceful demonstrators with bullets.
According to eyewitness, reports carried by al-Jazeera, armed men taking positions on strategic rooftops and nearby verandas opened fire randomly on demonstrators down the streets, killing at least 52 people and injuring hundreds in less than 30 minutes.
The gruesome images spoke for themselves and the phantasmagoric scenes defied linguistic description so much so that there was no room for any refutation, controversy, or conflicting narratives.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who declared a state of emergency following the massacre, denied that his police forces were involved in or responsible for the carnage, saying other people may have done it.
Well, it is obvious that the criminal perpetrators didn't come from another galaxy. And however the case may turn to be, he is ultimately responsible for the bloodbath.
Needless to say, any government possessing a modicum of self-respect, let alone legitimacy, would assume full responsibility for this kind of horrible and obscene bloodshed.
In any case, the Yemeni government is not really legitimate and its dictator, Saleh, seems to lack the backing of his people who have taken to the streets in the hundreds of thousands, demanding his ouster, sooner rather than later.
It goes without saying that a government that spills the blood of its own citizens doesn't deserve to remain in power for five minutes; and a leader who presides at the helm of such government has to go immediately.
This is the very least that Ali Abdullah Saleh has to do because under normal circumstances, the man must be arrested and prosecuted for a series of crimes, including murder and breach of trust.
The Arab world is not what it was a few months ago when dictators and Juntas or ruling families could get away with murder with impunity, no matter how much blood of their citizens they managed to spill.
Now, the Arab world is entering a new historical phase and what was possible a few months ago is now very difficult.
Hence, dictators whether in Libya or Yemen or other Arab countries will have to pay dearly for every drop of blood they spill in the name of preserving the dictatorship or, as they say, maintaining national unity, national cohesion, security and other mendacious slogans that are used to prolong the life of dictatorship and tyranny.
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