Friday 21 October 2011

Working in Ottawa today --Epaulettes R US

Good morning folks,  Just to keep everyone on their toes, I am traveling on a Friday, 'stead of a Thursday.
I really have no desire to have my weekly email become an obituary column, but the world just keeps serving up some notable passings.
This week in the Lifeless, deceased, expired, departed, gone, no more, late, perished, fallen, slain, slaughtered, killed, murdered, extinct, dead as a door nail, six feet under, pushing up daisies list..
That wacky, self effacing, epaulette wearing, snazzy dressing Muammar Gaddafi.  Reportedly Gaddafi was killed after a brief exchange of gunfire between him and members of the NTC Rebellion, aka, The Revolutionary Forces.
In an odd copycat of Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi was also found huddled in the ground in a concrete culvert, it was also reported that one of the armed Revolutionaries hit Gaddafi with a shoe.  I read this is an insult in the Arab world.  I thought that was a bit of redundant journalism since I cannot think of any culture where smacking out a guy with a shoe is an act of endearment.   Well maybe only one.  The safe word is, "banana".
For those that are not familiar, Gaddafi and Libya..  Everyone and his brother has laid claim to Libya at one time or another, Spain, France, Britain, Turks, Ottoman, Italy.. I apologize to any one that I may have missed.  In recent memory, the future of the region of Africa known as Libya was referred to the United Nations at the end of WWII.  This resulted in a resolution for Libyan independence a national assembly elected Mohammed Idris (aka Idris I) as King.  Idris formally declared the independent state of Libya in December 1951.
He then proceeded to rule in the old fashioned and traditional monarch style, with little regard to democratic ideals.. Yeah okay, with no regard.  I am pretty sure that the only income that Libyan had at that time was some rent collected from U.S. And British airbases and some international aide.
Then oil was discovered in 1959.
Many of the aforementioned countries of occupation and colonialization issued a collective, "Doh!".
The next 10 years saw a rather lazy move to economic independence and when Idris was off visiting Turkey, 27 year old Gaddafi, pardon me, Captain Gaddafi led a bloodless coup and took the throne.
And with the same regard for democratic ideals as his predecessor, Gaddafi held that office until yesterday.  During his tenure he waged war, endorsed international terrorism and oh yes, at some point he gave himself a promotion to Colonel.
What point am I trying to make?
Simply that Libya has no experience with Democracy.  The peoples of Libya have no experience with Democracy.  But they do have much experience with occupation, oppression, violence and factional disputes.
I fear that the end of Gaddafi is no end to the problems in Libya, but rather we will see Libya descend into civil war between several groups pursuing control, not the least of which will be religious extremists.
Don't worry, it's still a great planet for the arms dealers and the AK-47.
Have a good day.   Keep the safety switch on.