LIBYA. In 1951, Libya was the poorest country on the planet. 50 years later, Libyans were experiencing the highest living standard in Africa, above that of Russia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. It was this Libya – Gaddafi’s Libya – that connected the entire African continent by television, radio, telephone, distance learning and telemedicine. And so it came to be that the man who made all of this possible – the man whom Nelson Mandela identified as one of the 20th century’s greatest freedom fighters – was brutally murdered and subsequently ridiculed on the mainstream media.

The world was bombarded by news of the Libyan uprising, but it’s doubtful that the majority of the audience knew much about the reasons behind it beyond the shallow string of lies that were disseminated by the elite group of news networks that dominate the mainstream media.

Puzzling is the purported reason behind Western intervention. Officially, it was for the protection of the civilians, who were reportedly being bombed by Gaddafi. Is it truly possible that the rationalization of Western policymakers amounted to something such as that which follows: “we will bomb the people who bombed the people, to show that bombing people is wrong”.

Ah yes, the tried-and-tested solution to almost every ‘disagreeable’ situation. It didn’t work in Iraq or Afghanistan, but perhaps this time will be different…

When the US invaded Iraq, riding on a wave of falsehoods, worldwide deception and emotional manipulation, the world saluted the forces as they lined up to defend their country. Broadcasters, intellectuals, republicans and democrats all joined hands to cheer on the killing of innocent Iraqis. Why? Not because they were all evil and heartless, but because the mainstream media infiltrated their rational thought with impressive ideas of heroism and duty. However, it didn’t take long for the truth to be exposed. The war wasn’t over, but at least people understood that it was started on false grounds. In this sense, what happened in Libya is much more frightening. People today have the illusion of freedom to decide, and this is arguably much more dangerous.

The ‘freedom-fighters’ were hardly like those who marched with Martin Luther King, but rather more closely resembled the hooligans one might expect to see after a premier-league football match: they were as young; as wound-up – only these ones were carrying automatic rifles and machine guns. And once again, people young and old are proud of their countries’ ‘humanitarian’ actions. The youth of today, fond of the increasingly fashionable anti-authoritarian movement (doesn’t matter which authority – they’re against it), were excited. And are they to blame, when virtually all information sourced to us by the media has left us with a very intimate knowledge of the lives of Kim and Kanye and a very superficial insight into the human situation?

Granted, Gaddafi was not exactly refined in his manner. He was, at times, his own personal parody. One thing he was not, however, was an idiot. And yet, that seems to be the image that most of us in the West have of him. This is because when ‘protecting civilians’ didn’t quite generate enough public encouragement for military action, stories started circulating about Gaddafi, including a rumour that he encouraged his soldiers to mass rape and even provided them with Viagra and condoms. The media, which has consistently profited from humanity’s curiosity for intimate details of the scandalous lives of others, was thrilled for the conception of such exciting rumours, and despite the total lack of evidence, the world became enthralled in the reality show that was Gaddafi’s Libya. Anyone who challenged the story was “pro-rape” and if they dared question the motives for NATO’s intervention, they would be received with a barrage of arguments about how terrible his reign was and how the Libyan people must be freed from this dictator. Most of these people are, I’m sure, unaware of the free for all electricity and water that ALL Libyans enjoyed. They were perhaps unaware that literacy, under Gaddafi, had increased from 20% – 83%, thanks to free, high-quality education, or that all loans were interest-free by law; all cars were 50% subsidized; all married couples were given $50 000; that Gaddafi personally vowed to house every Libyan and that Libya was debt-free.

Gaddafi had his faults, I do not intend to deny him of them, but I seek only to express that they were never of much interest to the West until it became an auspicious point of exploitation. Any time that a government seeks to justify an action that they have already planned, the opposing side must be made into a farce.

For the whole duration of the conflict NATO remained steadfast in its pronounced motives for intervention, but it is clear that any organization with the genuine protection of human life would not have intervened in such a way.