Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Yes – but who will Teach the Libyans how to Yodel?

or Great Moments in Arab Public Intellectualism

Kaddafi has always been a comedian,a kind of sideshow of strange stunts, a sort of “lovable young thief” of fables who also happens to be a dictator running a small country along militaristic lines. It’s a view held even among most Arabs.

According to Swiss minister Christa Markwalder, when Khadafy comes to New York Sept. 23, he will ask the UN to dismantle Switzerland and parcel out the land to neighboring France, Germany and Italy.

The UN charter specifically states that no member can threaten the sovereignty of another, so the demand is unlikely to get far. But it's another sign of tension to come during the eccentric dictator's visit.

The Libya-Swiss kerfuffle began a year ago, when Khadafy's trouble-making youngest son, Hannibal, was arrested in a Geneva hotel for beating two servants with a belt and a coat-hanger.
Dripping with respect for such noblesse oblige, the really amusing part of it is that Europeans who think well and think much of themselves and their geopolitical sophistication are the ones who have to deal with this joker. I’m sure it makes they look comparatively brilliant, but having to carry on a “public dialogue” this base with a de facto simpleton must not be doing a great deal for their dignity.

The response to the offense of arresting someone for assault was to take hostages, so that the toffs of the north had to ingratiate themselves to them for no reason other than that of a perceived personal snub to the potentate.
For a year, the issue festered. Two weeks ago, Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz traveled to Tripoli to apologize for the arrest and Libya promised to let the hostages go by Sept. 1.

However, they have yet to be freed. Now Merz is fending off accusations of appeasement and calls for his resignation.
Statecraft at its’ best!

But the view that a nation can simply be mechanically abolished on grounds of “cultural insult” or by some force simply because it can, without any recognition that nations and people can and should make or unmake themselves is too typical and common to call a stunt.

The greatest intellectual breakthrough of our age started with the enlightenment came in force on the last quarter of the 20th century: that is the genuine ability of most individuals to free themselves from an imposed ideology, a kind of personal self-determination that mocks the elementary bleating of everyone from “the me generation” to the idea that “Communism frees the individual to create and think”, but that it needs to command all human action and published ideas to do this.

Not just the Arab world, but most of the world, and quite sadly many Europeans too live in that state of mind, unaware that a good society, through the shared need of individual respect and autonomy can find its’ freedoms defended NOT by an governmental apparatus of control, but rather a well supported concept of justice founded on the person and not the group, and by the free acting and thinking themselves.

Much of that venality isn’t limited to “the Colonel”. Adloyada is dismantling, piece by piece, the British farce of trading the sentenced Lockerbie bomber, employing the flinching sentiment of the public to forgive anyone who would do violence to them, as part of a commercial deal. Just think of it as a “public-private partnership” at its’ best.