Lessons to learn from the west’s intervention in Libya | Letters

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Simon Jenkins (Our leaders are hooked on the narcotic of glory. That’s why we rush to war, 15 September) follows many western commentators in viewing events in the Middle East through a typically colonialist lens that filters out the people of the countries concerned and only sees western entities as meaningful actors. Thus the Libyan revolution becomes “David Cameron’s war on Libya”, with the people of Benghazi – the authors of the uprising – dismissed in a side comment. Similarly, the fall of the Gaddafi regime is attributed solely to the Nato operation, with no place for the people of Misrata, who pushed back the notorious 32nd Brigade led by Khamis Gaddafi for two months before any air support from Nato arrived; or the people of Az-Zawiya, who rose against Gaddafi, were put down by his forces, and then rose again as soon as the regime’s attention was diverted elsewhere.

It’s understandable that Jenkins chooses to pass over these people because he has nothing to offer them except a Hobbesian injunction that resisting tyranny produces worse results than the tyranny itself – an easy formula to pronounce from the comfort of the home counties, not so easy to embrace from the perspective of the tyrant’s scaffold and torture chamber.

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