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LALIT member Lindsey Collen gives LALIT’s position against bombing of Libya


LALIT member, Lindsey Collen, on Radio Plus Monday 21 March 2011
said that LALIT opposed the bombardment of Libya, calling it an
“imperialist military intervention”.
She was invited by Nawaaz
Noorbux, together with Reza Issac from the Labour Party, Steeve
Obeegadoo from the MMM, and former vice-president of the Republic and
founder of the Libya-Mauritius Friendship Society, Raouf Bhundun. The
program, Gran Zurnal was just over an hour and it was on the US-led, French-egged on, bombardment of Libya.

LindseyCollen, during the program, said that there were three different
backgrounds that needed to be kept in mind if the bombardment was to be
correctly judged.

First, the whole of North Africa and the Arab
world has been in a state of mass uprising for some months now, and the
USA and the West in general feels it is losing control over the area,
having already lost some of its most powerful puppets in the area. This
means the West has a vested interest in getting a toe-hold on a country
that, geographically speaking, falls between Egypt and Tunisia. This is
perhaps the main motivation for US to intervene.

Second, ithas been established beyond all doubt that the political build-up
concocted by Blair and Bush in the media prior to the invasion of Iraq
was a web of lies, and there were never any Weapons of Mass
Destruction. The case on that, she said, is closed. It was a
construction of lies. We should not allow ourselves to be duped a
second time, if we were duped the first. The reasons for the
bombardment once again just do not hold up, she said. There would have
been many more reasons to intervene in order to make Israel respect UN
resolutions. Whereas, the bombing of Gaza went ahead without any
coalition getting itself off the ground.

Third, she said that
there was an element of panic-intervention, which may be partly
explained by the effects on Europe of the Japanese nuclear melt-down
threat, after the earthquake and tsunami, which in turn relates to the
energy crisis, when countries that are heavily reliant on nuclear power
now face populations against nuclear energy. This, bearing in mind, she
said that Libya has Africa’s largest oil reserves. And that it is
highly refined. France, she said, may be motivated by its dependence
for 16% of its crude oil on this highly refined Libyan Oil.

also said, during the Program, that the political and military
challenge to the dictatorial regime of Libya was different from the
mass uprisings in Egypt, around Tahir Square, and in Tunisia against
the US puppets in power there. We have seen on television how different
they are, she said. If, at the beginning there were some demonstrations
in Libya against the Muammar Gaddafi regime, as soon as the US and NATO
started to talk about military interventions, the protestors sharply
decreased in numbers, realizing accurately that oppression by imperial
powers would be even harder to get rid of than oppression by Gaddafi.
What seems to be left are armed factions. She said she could understand
this, because if in LALIT, we were part of an uprising against the MSM,
MMM or Labour one day, if the US and Britain threatened to intervene to
get them ousted, we would also step back.

She said that LALIT had
always been critical of the Gaddafi regime, when so many others, be
they MMM, the socalled “Lel Gos” of the MMM, or Labour party people who
took him for a hero. LALIT had always sharply criticized the idea of a
“leader” or “guide” like Gaddafi and then “the people” left as an
amorphous group, without any party structures or internal democracy.
Nawaaz Noorbux then said this was “direct democracy”, to which Lindsey
Collen said “supposedly”. This constant criticism of Gaddafi is
relevant, because quite a few of those criticizing Gadaafi in order to
collude with the bombardment are from currents that hero-worshipped
Gaddafi in the past, when he always was a populist with dictatorial

Other points brought up by the LALIT member were
that the cobbled together coalition of Western military powers is very
wobbly, and that this is dangerous. The US cannot be subordinate to any
other military leader, for Constitutional reasons, and is the only one
with the hardware for the initial bombings anyway, so leads. But the US
is not too keen, and has announced its intention to pull out in favour
of either NATO or some British-French coalition. The French Persident,
Sarkozy is the one who was champing at the bit for bombarding, she
said. He and Cameron obviously see some short-term political
“popularity” from whipping up macho nationalism. But Obama has
difficulties because he is saying “Gaddafi must go”, while his top
military brass say this is not their war aim, and that they are only to
“ensure a no fly zone”. She also said that Obama was in minority in the
House of Representatives and would be criticized for confusion about
war aims in the House if he was not careful.

She said that for
200 years in Western thinking, though perhaps nearer 2000 in both India
and China, there were principles of war. The Prussian strategist, Carl
von Clauswitz, she said pointed out that war, if it is not to bring
about disorder and defeat, has to have clearly understood aims and be
supported by what he called a “trinity” of the people, the military
chiefs and the political leaders. In the case of the invasion of Libya,
the people do not know why, the political chiefs all have their own
interpretations of the UN resolution, and the military chief different
interpretations. This kind of confusion will bring terrible suffering.
Just as in Iraq, the West has directly caused, by its sanctions and
intervention, between 150,000 and one million deaths.

contrast, she said that, contrary to what Raouf Bhundun had said, there
was a new leadership emerging during the uprisings in other countries.
It is not just a “vacuum”. She said that in Tunisia the uprising had
already won a “constituent assembly” which will be elected in order to
draft a new constitution, and the degree of increased democracy that
will be in it, will depend on the degree of popular mobilization. She
said that the people in the Middle East were demanding more liberty and
justice and democracy than other countries, notably in the West, have.

the question of Libya, she also said that when the BRIC (Brazil,
Russia, India, China) countries abstain at the Security Council, this
has great significance, because it means they do not agree to the war.
They represent 40% of the World’s population. The African Union is not
in favour of the bombing either, and Libya is an African country. Now
the Arab League is fortunately beginning to distance itself from the
bombardment. What the Arab League thought a No Fly Zone meant, she
said, makes the mind boggle. They obviously thought it was some
abstract,geometrical idea. And they have seen the 12 year No Fly Zone
in Irak. Even Germany abstained. What this means is that it is a very
weak coalition.

Lindsey Collen, when asked what would happen
now, said that she would not put it past the Western allies to try to
assassinate Gaddafi, though this was an illegal, immoral and
unthinkable war aim. That would mean a weakening of his camp. Or, it
may be a long drawn out battle. Already it is not just air-missiles,
and airports being aimed at, but political headquarters and a road of
tanks. So, soon there will be pressure to have ground troops, and to
invade without calling it “an occupation”. She quoted Liam Fox, Defense
Secretary in the UK already making a distinction between invading and
occupying. It looks as though there is disorder ahead, she said.

other three speakers were, at the beginning of the program, all in
favour of the military intervention. Steve Obeegadoo, however, called
for “ceasefire”, and insisted upon “seeing both sides of the story”. At
one point, Lindsey Collen asked him who it was he was referring to as
being “in favour of Gaddafi”, and he said one listener had, during the
program, phoned in and during his intervention he had indeed, if as a
manner of speaking said “whether a Government is attacking its people
is not our problem”. So, it was never clear what he meant by “fer lapar
de soz”.

Almost all those who phoned in were furious about the
bombardment, and almost all compared it to the utter carelessness for
the Palestinian people, and for those who suffered the blocade and
bombing in Gaza.
By the end of the program, after Lindsey Collen’s
clear explanations and after all the listeners’ views, the other three
speakers had become a bit more critical, it seemed, of the bombardment,
and were referring to the tragedy of Iraq as if in comparison.