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Subject: Libyan rebels express joy at freedom rss

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Michael Dorosh
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Daily Telegraph article



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Libyan rebels, freed from the regime of Colonel Gaddafi, have been captured on film smashing the graves of more than 150 British soldiers killed in North Africa during the Second World War.


I suspect this has the possibility to RSP very quickly, which is not my intent, but this was just sent to me by our regimental museum curator. I note the date on the story is yesterday. The Libyan government is apologetic, naturally enough, and quick to spin the story away from suggestions this was an anti-Christian or anti-British demonstration, given the support that the outside world had given via NATO to overthrowing Gaddafi.

Mostly, I just think whoever would do this are idiots given the British soldiers who are buried there died 70 years ago. If they thought Gaddafi was bad (or for that matter, the provisional government is bad), they should have tried life under the fellow those British soldiers were fighting to liberate Libya from).

But I doubt people who desecrate graves really stop to think about such things in any event.

I hope the CWGC can get some money from the locals and restore the site. I visited Noeux-les-Mines Communal Cemetery in 2010 to pay respects at the grave of Harry Brown, VC and the difference between the British CWGC side of the cemetery, and the small French military section couldn't be more stark. The British side was well kept with beautiful turf, fresh flowers and clean marble markers. The French side was covered in gravel, with cracked concrete crosses. I suspect the number of French war dead may inhibit their ability to tend to them in the manner the CWGC does, but the latter do a terrific job around the world. Hopefully that will continue, even in the face of what happened in Libya.
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Val Ruza
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The article that the link is pointing may either have been removed, is incorrect, or I may be doing something wrong as I cannot link to it. I get a polite sorry we cannot find the page you are looking for page.
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Val Ruza
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Ignore my last post I am now able to view the page. The link is fine it was likely something on my end.
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Sad.
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pmbrill77 wrote:

Sad.


Sad, but be mindful of the source. How we know they are 'rebels' is beyond me. The thread tile is as misleading as the article.

Daily Telegraph readers love WW2 and hate Arabs so don't be surprised this article ticks all their boxes for OUTRAGE, which is the bread and butter of British newspapers.
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HarlemMimeSchool wrote:
pmbrill77 wrote:

Sad.


Sad, but be mindful of the source. How we know they are 'rebels' is beyond me. The thread tile is as misleading as the article.

Daily Telegraph readers love WW2 and hate Arabs so don't be surprised this article ticks all their boxes for OUTRAGE, which is the bread and butter of British newspapers.

Regardless who is defacing these graves, and regardless whether their nametag says "rebels" or "stormtroopers", it is sad that this is happening at all.
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"So, let me get this straight: We're bombing people who hate us on behalf of people who hate us. Yes?"
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robbbbbb wrote:
"So, let me get this straight: We're bombing people who hate us on behalf of people who hate us. Yes?"


Though it is distressing to see graves being desecrated, we should remember:

Nations take actions such as helping the rebels in Libya not to be loved, but because they believe it to be in their interest.
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Val Ruza
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I think that this is just an unfortunate way to display anger, and these were the first visible targets for this anger. Hopefully these gravestones can be repaired quickly.
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Rich Payne
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In what way does the desecration of graves by a few 'fighters' (if they are, indeed, former members of the 'rebel' army), indicate that the new regime is based on 'radical Islamic' principles?
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chaendlmaier wrote:
Further indication that the despotic regime has been replaced by a radical Islamist one. Sad, but predictable.


How does this event allow you to come to such a broad conclusion?
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chaendlmaier wrote:
It became clear to me when the rebels who where supposedly fighting for human rights rammed a metal pole up the rectum of a captured and wounded Gaddafi.
I suggest you read up on the recent developments in Libya. Just as an example, polygamy is allowed again.




Not sure why this defines the regime as fundamental islamist. Can you point me to a source for the story about the staking? I only heard about unconfirmed rumors last time I checked.

Also I suggest you read up on the background of the broad alliance that fought against Gaddafi. There were fighters from very different backgrounds with very different motivations. Surely human rights was not on top of everyone's agenda.
I suggest, instead, that we adjust our expectations and instead of being surprised the Arab countries don't automagically turn into Western-syle democracies recognize that the transition period might last longer, be messier and much more contested than we would like it to be.


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alex352 wrote:
chaendlmaier wrote:
It became clear to me when the rebels who where supposedly fighting for human rights rammed a metal pole up the rectum of a captured and wounded Gaddafi.
I suggest you read up on the recent developments in Libya. Just as an example, polygamy is allowed again.




Not sure why this defines the regime as fundamental islamist. Can you point me to a source for the story about the staking? I only heard about unconfirmed rumors last time I checked.

Also I suggest you read up on the background of the broad alliance that fought against Gaddafi. There were fighters from very different backgrounds with very different motivations. Surely human rights was not on top of everyone's agenda.
I suggest, instead, that we adjust our expectations and instead of being surprised the Arab countries don't automagically turn into Western-syle democracies recognize that the transition period might last longer, be messier and much more contested than we would like it to be.




I would add that while Western intervention may have been couched in human rights, I am not sure ANY of the folks who were fighting against Gaddafi were doing so because of human rights or any such reasoning.

 
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chaendlmaier wrote:
It became clear to me when the rebels who where supposedly fighting for human rights rammed a metal pole up the rectum of a captured and wounded Gaddafi.

I suggest you read up on the recent developments in Libya. Just as an example, polygamy is allowed again.


Thread derailment

New topics of discussion naturally spin off from threads like these. Though there is nothing wrong with that, the current tangent is dominating this discussion and distracting from the original topic which is still ongoing. Therefore, I must ask that the tangent discussion be moved to its own thread or to private geekmail so that this thread can get back on topic. Feel free to link to the new thread so any interested parties can continue to follow it there.

Continuing the off-topic discussion here can be considered a violation for disruptive posting and will be treated accordingly

Thanks.
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chaendlmaier wrote:
I didn't intend commenting on this any further.


Actually, I think your post raises more explicitly questions implicit in the OP connected with the problem of viewing the Libyan rebellion from a West European/North American perspective and our expectations of how a people who have gone through decades of dictatorship followed by a vicious civil war should act.

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Salo sila wrote:
Actually, I think your post raises more explicitly questions implicit in the OP connected with the problem of viewing the Libyan rebellion from a West European/North American perspective and our expectations of how a people who have gone through decades of dictatorship followed by a vicious civil war should act.
Now this discussion I would love to see.
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chaendlmaier wrote:
leroy43 wrote:
Salo sila wrote:
Actually, I think your post raises more explicitly questions implicit in the OP connected with the problem of viewing the Libyan rebellion from a West European/North American perspective and our expectations of how a people who have gone through decades of dictatorship followed by a vicious civil war should act.
Now this discussion I would love to see.

Here or in RSP?
A reasoned historical analysis about these questions are entirely welcome here, or perhaps even more appropriately, wargames/historical analysis.

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Rich Payne
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It is implicit in the offer of armed support that NATO/'The West' will expect any country they 'liberate' to adopt the basic values of Western capitalist democracy. That was the aim in Afghanistan and Iraq, where it has succeeded in terms of elections being held, but failed in every other sense as it has not bought stability unless enforced by NATO troops on the ground. On the other hand, it has succeeded in the Balkans, with Croatia recently joining the EU. I think this says more about the difference between the Balkans and the Middle East than it does about the validity of NATO's policy.

There is also an implicit assumption that life will 'return to normal' pretty quickly once the despot(s) are deposed. This seems ridiculously naive IMO. After decades of oppressive rule by a tyrant, it is a normal human reaction to take vengeance upon the person and symbols of that regime. While sticking objects into Gaddaffi's orifices is repugnant to certain sensibilities, and would not play well on CNN, it is symbolically no different to NATO tanks pulling down statues of Saddam in Iraq. Both acts were equally enabled by the application of force by NATO - in the Iraqi case, utterly unsolicited by the local populace. Nor are these acts much different to Frenchmen shaving and humiliating female collaborators after the liberation or any other violent acts perpetrated against oppressors by their newly-liberated victims. I think the West must accept that once the oppressed have been freed, certain instincts will be fulfilled. If this offends us, maybe we should question why we backed people with such alien values in the first place, or perhaps set aside our prudishness and assumed moral superiority and move on.
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chaendlmaier wrote:
I suggest you read up on the recent developments in Libya. Just as an example, polygamy is allowed again.


Polygamy is a central tenet of some North American Christian denominations too, is it not?
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vulcan558 wrote:
chaendlmaier wrote:
I suggest you read up on the recent developments in Libya. Just as an example, polygamy is allowed again.


Polygamy is a central tenet of some North American Christian denominations too, is it not?
Please don't re-derail the thread.
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Rich Payne
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Sorry, wasn't aiming for a deliberate de-railing. I was trying to point out that polygamy is no more a reliable indicator of Islamic fundamentalism than the desecration of European war graves. I also missed your comment on o/t posting when skimming the replies modest Sorry again
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Firstly, I think we can all agree that the desecration of graves is wrong—that almost goes without saying. However, I disagree with the OP: this was not an act of mindless vandalism. The context seems to be the fury over the burning of copies of the Koran in Afghanistan. Thus, it was a deliberate act of symbolic retaliation: "you destroy our sacred texts and we'll destroy your sacred places".

Secondly, as Rich suggests, both Michael and Curt make assessments about the "failure" of the rebellion by comparing the current situation Libya to "Western" liberal democracies. For the OP this is more implicit, but certainly present in the chosen title of the thread ("Libyan rebels express joy at freedom") which seems to be saying "look at how these Libyans misuse their freedom when we give it to them".

Curt explicitly addresses the question. Knowing what I think I do about his politics, I believe when he says "fighting for human rights" he is being ironic or sarcastic, criticising the simplistic depictions in Western Europe/North America to justify intervention.

Nevertheless, Curt still seems to be using "our" society as the yardstick by which to judge the situation in Libya. Of course, if someone suffered Gaddafi's fate in a society that had just experienced 50 or 60 years of peaceful and stable democracy, we could only assume that the perpetrator was a depraved psychopath. On the other hand, one can hardly be surprised when after decades of oppressive dictatorship (with punitive authorities who were regularly doing equally vile things) and a vicious civil war, the population aren't capable of summoning up a superhuman level of forgiveness and instead simply want revenge in kind.

As Rich says, not only can we not expect Libyans (or anyone else) to suddenly become miniature representations of ourselves—which, unfortunately, so often seems to be the expectation in such cases of intervention—, but it is also ridiculous to ignore the massive state of turmoil created by the collapse of a dictatorship followed by a vicious civil war.

I think there is a general problem in Western Europe and Northern America when viewing the rest of the world to assume that when someone is against a dictator, tyrant or whatever that "we" don't like, they are for "us" and want to adopt "our" values and norms. This simply isn't the case. But it seems to be a common view (look at the Western responses to the Russo-Georgian war), and one that fundamentally distorts one's view of the outside world. Moreover, it leads to erroneous judgements: when "they" don't adopt our values, we consider them to have somehow failed.

Just a quick correction for Rich: Slovenia, not Croatia, is part of the EU (though the latter is in negotiations).

And a question for Leroy: wouldn't this be better in the Historical Contexts forum?
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It's a dumb act, but I find it much harder to feel outrage for this vandalism than for the bombings that killed thousands of civilians during the NATO campaign in Libya. I might have missed the outraged thread then, though.
 
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Michael Dorosh wrote:

In other words, I think I knew what I was doing when I posted it in the social forum.


Are you sure?
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HeinzGuderian wrote:
It's a dumb act, but I find it much harder to feel outrage for this vandalism than for the bombings that killed thousands of civilians during the NATO campaign in Libya. I might have missed the outraged thread then, though.


Comments like this one would be so much more valuable if they were citing some credible source.
I looked it up and found a Reuters report from June 1, 2011, reporting that a Libyan government spokesman (certainly no pro-NATO bias to be expected) claimed 718 civilian casualties caused by NATO bombing.
(http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/05/31/idINIndia-574072201...)


Now that Mike claims that he isn't interested in the political ramifications of the event and only wanted to draw attention to the vandalism itself I wonder if it even makes sense to follow up with a sensible discussion. Still, let me follow-up on Salo Sila's excellent thoughts:
Another problem is that when you intervene in a civil war you very often don't have a third option: you either support the incumbent ruling group or the rebels. Either way, you will be held morally responsible for what the winner does to the loser after one side is defeated. (Heck, you are even held responsible if you don't intervene.) It is at the risk of being confronted with allegations of imperialism that we can try to directly influence politics of the winning side - then again, these allegations might be in the room already based on the decision to intervene at all.


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