Opinion

Dining with Gaddafi: Is the world sleeping too soon?

3 September 2009 at 05:05 | 809 views

By Amadu Barrie, Secretary, Association of Sierra Leonean Journalists in Australia.

It’s no secret that the Libyan leader, Muamar el Gaddafi is a monopolistic global terror exporter under the guise of his grand Jamahiriyah’s Green Revolution ideology for decades.

I’m even bewildered, to say the least, that the name Muamar el Gadafi hasn’t been mentioned at the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor at The Hague, in the Netherlands.

Among the alleged crimes Mr Taylor is accused of committing include crimes against humanity, gun running and drug smuggling. The special court was set up on behalf of Sierra Leone to try key players in the 11 year war in the country that took place between 1991 and 2002.

Gaddafi is the pioneer of one of the world’s most brutal wars in sub-Saharan Africa. He has even been connected to the Irish Republican Army (IRA) conflict in the United Kingdom (UK). Also, because he failed to garner Arab support in his anti Israel campaign, he found friendship and brotherhood amongst blood thirsty sub-Saharan bigots.

In Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, tens of thousands of innocent civilians perished, hundreds of thousands maimed and millions displaced all with the support of this monstrous dictator called Gaddafi. Compensation for these heinous atrocities against humanity is yet to be demanded by ‘leaders’ of the defenceless and voiceless victims.

Charles Taylor, then leader of the rebel National Patriotic Front (NPFL) and later president of Liberia and Corporal Foday Sankoh, leader of the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) of Sierra Leone, and thousands of their senior rebel fighters underwent guerrilla warfare training in Libya. Taylor went to Libya after he "escaped" from prison in the United States and Sankoh went there through the help of the Libyans by going through Ghana.

They spent some time in Libya training to destabilize the region; killing, maiming, burning, looting, raping and triggering the exodus of innocent civilians from their villages, town, cities and countries only to be driven into peril. I make this charge against the Libyan leader based on evidence adduced in court during the treason trial of the RUF leader, Cpl Foday Sankoh in Sierra Leone. I was a court reporter for the Democrat Newspaper. It was alleged that the RUF received funding through the Libyan Embassy in Ghana.

Unfortunately, it is even alleged that Muamar el Gadafi is behind the overthrow and untimely killing of the young and enigmatic Burkina Faso leader, Captain Thomas Sankara. Sankara it is believed was trying to carve out a political ideology for Africa that is incompatible with that of the Libyan dictator’s Jamahiriyah. It is sad that men like Gaddafi are the so-called champions of Africa’s journey to her political and economic nirvana. This is a damning indictment on Africa.

Gaddafi was also implicated in the Lockerbie terrorist attacks over Scotland involving Pan Am Flight 103 on 21 December 1988 in which 243 passengers and 16 crew members perished. After due pressure from the West, he handed terror convict Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi to the Scottish courts. Abdelbaset was later found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. Just over a week ago, Abdelbaset benefitted from the Scottish justice system compassion program and was later sent home to die.

Given the insensitive approach shown by Gaddafi and his administration’s handling of the terrorist convict, Abdelbaset’s return to Tripoli and the thunderstorm of condemnation around the world, I believe it will not only be unwise, inappropriate and undiplomatic for the president of the world’s most adored democracy to meet with him at this crucial juncture, it will send the wrong signals to other similar minded dictators.

If this meeting does take place, surely president’s Obama’s foreign policy will need a rethink. Gaddafi does not deserve that kind of diplomatic privilege. Furthermore, doing so will not only vindicate him from his crimes but will leave a gaping injury in the minds of already traumatised victims, relatives and friends that have suffered from the heinous crimes of the Gaddafi trade mark.

The thought of this landmark and historic meeting makes me to believe the world will surely miss the likes of former President George W Bush for his no-nonsense attitude towards dictators like Gaddafi. Gaddafi knew he was on President Bush’s radar and hurriedly surrendered his nuclear arsenal and later put the project to sleep. Show me one Western leader that make’s mockery of President Bush’s US-African policy in this 21st century. Africa is rotten from the inside!

Equally, I feel deeply troubled over reports that the West is courting Gaddafi because of his oil and other economic potentials. His son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, has on many occasions said that the West is interested on their resources. The first was when compensation was paid to the Lockerbie victims and their families. He was even laughing at it. Then the issue of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi in which he reiterated the charge. This is the guy that is going to become the next president after his father.

Gaddafi thinks he can outsmart every one. He had the audacity to ask that he pitch his tent in the heart and soul of New York during his UN General Assembly meeting visit this year. I hope that the local government in New Jersey will disabuse him of that desire when he gets there too.

Any victory for victims anywhere is celebrated everywhere. I fervently hope that US administration will arrest him at the end of his UN assignment.

Has the world really lost its moral conscience?

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