Saturday, 26 February 2011

Sick of the same old mantra

On The Beat By WONG CHUN WAI



Gaddafi has to go very soon so Libya and the world can move on. But he must not have the last laugh in this high stakes’ fight.

THE world can always count on Col Muammar al-Gaddafi to provide political comic relief even before his people finally gathered enough courage to decide they want him kicked out of Libya.

Despite having ruled Libya with an iron fist for over 40 years, he is still telling the world that the country needs him.

Like many politicians who aspire to die with their boots on, Gaddafi has repeatedly told his people – from a balcony and, more recently and bizarrely, over a telephone press conference – that the country would be destroyed if he has to go.

It is the tired mantra of most politicians: He can’t go because he still can’t find a successor; the possible successors are not ready; if he names them, they will end up killing themselves; and, of course, he will call it a day one day. That day, of course, will not be tomorrow or the day after. You do not have to be in Libya, or other parts of the Middle East and North Africa, to hear such empty political gibberish. Even at home, we are quite familiar with such ludicrous lines from our own ageing politicians.

Usually, the search for a successor will end at their home. The chosen one is often the eldest son. But if the eldest one has an incurable obsession with visits to Disneyland, Macau casinos or Eric Clapton concerts, then Plan B would be to choose the other sons or even a nephew.

Hosni Mubarak, the recently deposed president of Egypt, was trying to hatch dynastic ambitions by grooming his son Gamal to succeed him. Gaddafi shares the same ambition, as does Kim Jong-II, who certainly still thinks his family owns North Korea.

But even the North Korean generals must be shaking their heads in disbelief at the exploits of Gaddafi, or for that matter Osama bin Laden. We won’t be surprised if Osama is now making another poor quality, inaudible tape for the CIA to decipher.

Osama has always taken the trouble to call Al-Jazeera to claim responsibility for his exploits against the West. But we are certain he won’t claim credit for the anarchy in Libya.

He has been blamed for every terrorist act committed in the world but to accuse al-Qaeda of lacing the coffee and alcohol of Libyans with drugs, which Gaddafi has done, is certainly icing on the cake. The best part is that Gaddafi expects his people and the world to believe him. He has either been high on drugs himself or he wants the world to love him for his morbid sense of humour.

After failing to convince the world, particularly the United States, that the rebellion is the evil work of Osama, Gaddafi then blamed the Islamists, accusing them of wanting to turn Libya into a satellite state of Iran.

But the Americans are still not impressed. Obviously, the 68-year-old loony leader will need to rewrite his script. For example, he could blame his team of four voluptuous blonde Ukrainian nurses or female bodyguards for the civil unrest. They were probably jealous and were fighting over him!

There’s a sub-plot, however. He plans to blow up the oil plants. Now, that’s a terrifying prospect because Libya has the largest reserves of oil in Africa. The chaos in North Africa and the Middle East is already causing mayhem around the world with prices of crude oil skyrocketing. It means we will have to pay more for our petrol and travelling would for sure be more expensive.

The cost of production will shoot up with food items, now already expensive, becoming more pricey and the economy of countries will be adversely affected.

The message from Gaddafi seems to be: “If I go, I am dragging everyone with me.” That includes hurting us where it hurts most – our pockets. Soon, our electricity bills will shoot up. And before you know it, most of us might have to learn to live in tents. Well, it could be a case of “You can take Gaddafi out of Libya but you can’t take out what Gaddafi will do to our lives.”

The game is just beginning in Libya but let’s hope it will end speedily. He has to go very soon so Libya and the world can move on.  One thing is for sure, Gaddafi must not have the last laugh in this high stakes’ fight.


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