Call it by its name

I have spent the last week immersed in my PhD thesis proposal, which has proved to be a perilous journey which has left me with only remnants of inspiration with which to write a blog entry.

The news emerging from Libya and Cote d’Ivoire is dismal. The two countries have descended into what is not civil war simply because no one yet wishes to name the situations in which they are embroiled. Libya is “shifting towards civil war” and words such as “offensives” and phrases such as “fortifying positions are being bandied about, but somehow it is not yet a civil war. In Cote d’Ivoire the UN is “worried” about the situation and the AU is being as effective as usual while seven women protesters are gunned down in public.

“A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state” says Wikipedia. I’m certain the UN must have checklist they lists criteria for a civil war similar to their “what is genocide” checklist.

The UN and AU are waiting for militia to be formed, fuelled by insatiable bloodlust and to wantonly massacres hundreds and thousands of civilians before it called a war.

What is it when mortars and bombs are dropped on citizens? These dictators who refuse to relinquish power are in their luxuries abodes feeding off the spinelessness of international organisations and the so-called superpowers. They are safely immersed in the knowledge that as long as their actions are not called civil war then no real action can be taken against them.  

Furthermore, the citizens of these countries seem unaware to where their actions may lead. On television, smiles were large and plentiful on gun and machete-toting vigilantes and fifteen year old boys declared their plans to fight in the desert. These children have a burning desire to go to war, but for what, for whom and for how long? In civil wars inevitably those who cannot fight suffer the most; in Cote D’Ivoire at least they should know how war really looks. 

As long as their actions are not named as what they are – war - these dictators are being supported by the international community. Gaddaffi most certainly has more money than what he has stashed in European banks and of course the two leaders have many likeminded cohorts who would happily return their favours. Gaddaffi’s “investment” is the rest of Africa was not done from the good of his heart but was a strategy to ensure that enough people owed him favours in case of such of an eventuality.

Thus, the international community will continue to sidestep the flames and refuse to acknowledge the situation. It will be as it was in the 1980’s when people believed that if they called their disease anything but AIDS then it could not be AIDS, or how the international community pussyfooted around naming the Rwandan killings genocide. 

Photographs: The Guardian

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