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Thabo MBeki’s letter on Libya

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Désolé pour les Francophones, je n’ai pas le temps de traduire. En résumé, MBeki affirme, preuves factuelles à l’appui, que les Nations Unies, en Libye, ont travaillé pour l’hégémonie occidentale et contre la renaissance africaine.

Thabo Mbeki.
April 2, 2011.
Libya and African Self-Determination.

The popular uprisings in North Africa affecting Tunisia, Egypt and
Libya took the whole of Africa by surprise.

Stunned by the events we watched unfolding on television, and unable
quickly to decide how we should respond, instinctively, as Africans,
we resolved that we had no choice but to stand and wait.

We hoped that events in this part of our Continent would evolve in a
manner which would give us the possibility publicly to pronounce
ourselves correctly.

The stark choice we faced was – should we side with the demonstrators
or with the governments they demanded should resign!

Our challenge was not made easier by the political interventions of
various Western countries which offered unsolicited opinions and made
unilateral interventions to influence the outcome of the uprisings.

Because of our history as Africans, we could not but ask ourselves the
question – is it possible for Africa to share the same interests with
the West in terms of the outcomes of the popular uprisings?

Whenever has the West ever been truly concerned to encourage genuine
democracy in Africa, not driven by self-interest?

These considerations suggested to us that there was something very
suspect about the attempts of the West to identify itself as an ally
of the popular uprisings in North Africa, to the extent that these
represented real democratic revolutions.

These considerations reinforced our feeling that we should tread
carefully instead of rushing to intervene.

This attitude did not cause Africa any significant embarrassment with
regard to Tunisia and Egypt. In the end all we needed to do was merely
to endorse the outcomes determined by the peoples of these two African

However, what has happened and is happening in Libya has exposed many
fault lines in the African project to determine its destiny.

The Libyan uprising began in Benghazi on February 15. Almost
immediately, unlike in Tunisia and Egypt, this uprising also took the
form of an armed insurrection, while the Gaddafi regime resorted to
brute force to suppress the uprising and insurrection, claiming that
it was inspired and led by Al Qaeda.

Eight days after the beginning of the uprising, on February 23, the
inter-governmental African Union Peace and Security Council (AU PSC)
spoke for all Africa when it condemned “the indiscriminate and
excessive use of force and lethal weapons against peaceful protestors,
in violation of human rights and International Humanitarian Law”, and
affirmed that “the aspirations of the people of Libya for democracy,
political reform, justice and socio-economic development are
legitimate” and urged that “they be respected.”

At the same meeting the AU PSC resolved to send “a mission of Council
to Libya to assess the situation on the ground.” Unfortunately the AU
failed to make even this limited intervention.

Because of Africa’s weak capacity to communicate even with itself,
many of us in Africa did not even hear of the February 23 decisions of
the AU PSC until many days later.

In reality the international media virtually ignored the AU PSC
decisions. Rather, the world was exposed to the dramatic television
images of what was happening in Libya and the public communications of
the actors in this drama, including those of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi
and his son, Saif al-Islam.

In other words, the AU and therefore African message withered on the
vine, making no impact whatsoever on African and world opinion of what
might be done to resolve the conflict in Libya.

This is but one of the manifestations of the fault lines I have
mentioned relating to Africa’s determination to define its future.

Almost three weeks after its February 23 meeting, on March 10, the AU
PSC decided to constitute a five-nation ‘AU Ad Hoc High Level
Committee on Libya’, made up of African Heads of State and Government
mandated to intervene to resolve the Libyan conflict.

The Committee was directed to “facilitate an inclusive dialogue among
the Libyan parties on the appropriate reforms”, which would lead to
the peaceful resolution of the Libyan crisis.

The AU PSC also expressed its “rejection of any foreign military
intervention, whatever its form.”

But a week later the UN Security Council adopted its Resolution 1973,
which prescribed exactly the “foreign military intervention” which
Africa had rejected.

The historical fact is that as should have been the case, the African
Union moved ahead of the United Nations in terms of prescribing what
should be done to address the Libyan, and therefore African, crisis.

The reality, however, is that the UN Security Council made absolutely
certain that it ignored the views of the African Continent about what
needed to be done to resolve a crisis in a member state of the AU.

This was later emphasised by the refusal of the UN to allow the AU Ad
Hoc Committee to visit Tripoli and Benghazi on March 18 and 19
respectively, to promote a peaceful resolution of the Libyan crisis,
precisely to reduce the loss of human lives while promoting democratic
rule in Libya.

This meant that had the African peacemakers flown to Libya to carry
out their mission, they stood the danger of their planes being shot

The African leaders sought to visit Libya because the Gaddafi regime
had accepted that it should engage its opposition, under the auspices
of the AU, to achieve the immediate cessation of all hostilities,
delivery of humanitarian assistance to the affected populations, the
protection of foreign nationals, and  the adoption and implementation
of the necessary political reforms to eliminate the causes of the
current crisis, based on the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan
people for democracy, political reform, justice, peace and security,
as well as for socio-economic development.

The marginalisation of Africa in terms of helping to determine the
future of Libya paid absolutely no regard to the fact that failure to
end the Libyan crisis correctly will have a long term impact on the
Continent, and especially the countries of North Africa and the Sahel,
such as Sudan, Chad, Niger and Mali, with little effect on the Western

The Western countries have also underlined this marginalisation of
Africa by insisting, to this day, that what is important for them is
the support of the League of Arab States, with absolutely no mention
of the African Union.

Nobody knows how many Libyans will be killed and injured as a result
of the ongoing civil war in that country and the evolving military
intervention of the West, which, has unquestionably evolved into
support for the armed insurrection in Libya to achieve the objective
of regime change.

The reality is that the Libyan conflict will claim many casualties.
Because the space has been closed for the Libyans to sit together to
decide their future, it is almost guaranteed that for many years Libya
will experience sustained and debilitating instability, whoever
emerges ‘victorious’ from the current armed conflict.

Tragically, one of the other casualties will be Africa’s efforts,
sustained since the 1990s, independently to determine its future as a
Continent of democracy, peace, stability and shared development and

The countries of the West, acting through the UN Security Council,
have used their preponderant power to communicate the message to
Africa that they are as determined as ever to decide the future of
Africa, regardless of the views of the Africans, as they did during
the years of the colonial domination of our Continent.

It should not come as a surprise if, over the years, the peoples of
Africa lose confidence in the will of multilateral institutions, such
as the UN, to help them change their condition for the better.

This will happen because we will have come to understand that powerful
countries beyond the oceans reserve the right and have the capacity
ultimately to decide the future of Africa, with no regard for our
views and aspirations as Africans.
History will record that the moment of the re-assertion of this deadly
malaise was when the West, acting through the UN Security Council,
dismissed the notion and practice of finding African solutions to
African problems.

Denied the right to solve its own problems, Africa will inevitably
fall victim to ever-continuing conflict and instability.

Will it be that, paradoxically, the occasion of the Libyan popular
uprising, which portended welcome democratic transformation, will also
mark the moment of the asphyxiation of the dream of an African


  1. William Doctor

    says the man who helped Mugabe steal elections …


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