Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi is a bad man, he is a murderous dictator and long term (if allegedly now reformed) supporter of terrorism. A despot dubbed “the mad-dog of the middle east” by the last great US president, Ronald Reagan, al-Gaddafi is guilty of many crimes, both international and domestic, committed in the 40 or more years he has run the oil rich desert state of Libya.
Arguably he is committing further atrocities right now, today. as he launches missile attacks apon the rebel forces in his country who are seeking to overthrow him.
The world has turned against Gaddafi. US president Barak Obama has questioned his legitimacy and called for him to step down. The British army, behaving as if it were led by the sadly now dead Arthur Lowe of Dad's Army fame, have attempted to make uninvited secret contact with the rebel forces and become an international laughing stock in the process. Assets belonging to the Gaddafi family, including billions which the authorities had previously failed to notice they held in Britain have been frozen, and in the United Nations there are calls for no-fly zones, bombings and increased international sanctions.
In addition, our old friend's the media have turned against him and are currently engaged in scattering rose petals at the feet of the rebels. Throughout the region the rebels are the media's new pets. The international press report the Libyan rebels' acts in glowing terms, in rather the same way as they cheered on the protesters in Egypt, who's violent sexual assault on one of their own, South African born CBS News correspondent Lara Logan they first conspired to cover up, and then, after Logan herself insisted it the attack be reported, swiftly consigned to the hermetically sealed lock box labelled “Yesterday's unwanted news”.
Correspondents reporting on the sudden turbulence have their templates already written, they have determined which side is good and which side bad.
Does that fact not make you stop in your tracks and begin to doubt your own preconceptions? If the western media is so unified in their support of the uprisings in the Middle East, how likely is it either that their outcome will be in the West's best interests, and what are the chances we are being told the unmitigated truth?
Not good huh?
Anyway, how relevant are terms such as good and bad or right and wrong when applied to the Arab world?, is it not more apt to judge these thing in in degrees of badness, and if so might that not change our view of the status quo?
There is a popular misconception that because a regime is unpleasant, those who oppose it must necessarily be preferable and better, however, as history has repeatedly shown us, when the truth finally emerges out of the mist of media reporting, this is not always the case (let us see, for instance, what future historians make of Kosovo and for that matter South Africa)
Between a corrupt media and a blood stained tyrant which is the best custodian of truth? Colonel Gaddafi has claimed that al-Quada is behind the rebellions, a claim which has been widely dismissed and ridiculed by the media. Gaddafi, of course, is well known as a liar, however, given the media's track record which side are you most inclined to believe?
In Libya, as happened in Egypt and other middle eastern states facing similar uprisings, the press have chosen to report demonstrations of support for the existing leadership as “staged” and to assert that the government's supporters have been "bribed" or “bussed in”, whereas the anti-government protests are portrayed as spontaneous expressions of public will. Which is true and which is lies? maybe even they no longer know. They only know which side they support.
Any discussion as to how simultaneous and identical uprisings in half a dozen west supporting Arab nations all occurring at the same time and in the same form, could with any credibility be classed as spontaneous, would of course be blasphemous.
"Who is behind this and what is their aim?" is a question only a racist would ask, can we not see that this is the Muslim equivalent of a Prague Spring?
Amongst the other things which are quietly not reported about what is happening in the middle east in recent weeks has been Gaddafi's claim that his downfall could result in millions more black Africans flooding into Europe. There is credibility to this claim. It is a fact that in recent years many European governments, especially in those in southern Europe, have relied on Libyan help to stem the flow of sub-Saharan Africans migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean. Furthermore, current events in Libya have disrupted the flow of African illegal aliens from Europe to detention centers in Libya.
These facts are not widely reported, could it be that whilst the likes of John Simpson, famously the first European journalist to enter Kabul after the US led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Lindsay Hilsum, who's tasteful silk and chiffon outfits have graced many a war zone, or the BBC's moustachioed Middle East correspondent Jeremy Bowen are cheering on the Libyan rebels, they don't wish the viewers to question whether those seeking to replace the Colonel might be less cooperative than the “mad-dog” in controlling the already massive flow of sub Saharan Africans migrants into our continent.
"Libya plays a vital role in regional peace and world peace," said Gaddafi in an interview with the France 24 television station. "We are an important partner in fighting al Qaeda."
"There are millions of blacks who could come to the Mediterranean to cross to France and Italy, and Libya plays a role in security in the Mediterranean," he added
For all his crimes, what he says is actually true, will it be true of what replaces him?
In terms of the middle east, are we better off with the devils we know than the we will be with whatever devils come after them?
Whatever, the media would have you believe, the forces bringing change on the Southern side of the Mediterranean are not the forces of democracy, tolerance and the western way. The changes they will bring bear no comparison to what happened to the old Soviet Union in 1990 and it is laughable to suggest they will.
What is to come will be very bad news for the West
The media know this, but they are not our friends and have lied to us for decades. Obama knows this, but he uniquely among American presidents believes the world will be better when the West is weaker. Our own leaders know this, but they have become so accustomed to lying they know no other way.
Bad men have run the Arab world for decades and we have found a way to live with them, but now, beneath a protective fog of false reporting, far worse men may be taking their place, and they may be considerably less easy to live with.