Friday, October 21, 2011
He died while valiantly fighting in defence of Libya against the combined forces of NATO and Wahhabi reactionarism
by Professor Idris Samawi Hamid
Bismi Rabbi al-Husayn (S)
Assalaamu3alaykum wr wb.
The Qurʾān says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا۟ كُونُوا۟ قَوَّامِينَ بِالۡقِسۡطِ شُهَدَاء لِلّهِ وَلَوۡ عَلَي أَنفُسِكُمۡ أَوِ الۡوَالِدَيۡنِ وَالأَقۡرَبِينَ إِن يَكُنۡ غَنِيًّا أَوۡ فَقَيرًا فَاللّهُ أَوۡلَي بِهِمَا فَلاَ تَتَّبِعُوا۟ الۡهَوَي أَن تَعۡدِلُوا۟ وَإِن تَلۡوُوا۟ أَوۡ تُعۡرِضُوا۟ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا۟ كُونُوا۟ قَوَّامِينَ لِلّهِ شُهَدَاء بِالۡقِسۡطِ وَلاَ يَجۡرِمَنَّكُمۡ شَنَآنُ قَوۡمٍ عَلَي أَلاَّ تَعۡدِلُوا۟ اعۡدِلُوا۟ هُوَ أَقۡرَبُ لِلتَّقۡوَي وَاتَّقُوا۟ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ
O you who have dynamically believed! Be those who stand for manifest justice, witnesses to Allāh, even if it be against your yourselves, your parents, or those who are close to you; even if it be against someone poor or rich, for Allāh has more walayah [than anyone else] with both of them. And do not follow your personal whims and desires and let them prevent you from being just. And if you deviate or turn away from justice, then surely Allāh is well-informed of all that you do. [Nisāʾ: 135]
O you who have dynamically believed! Be those who stand for Allāh, witnesses to manifest justice. And do not allow some hatred of a people to afflict you so that you do not act justly. Be just! It is closer to awareness. And be aware of Allāh! Surely Allāh is well-informed of all that you do. [Māʾidah: 9]
Apparently Colonel Muʿammar Qaddhafi is dead: ʿalayhi maa ʿalayhi! (Upon him be what is upon him!) He will meet his Cherisher-Lord and answer for his actions in this life, one of which was either the likely murder or the cover-up of the murder of Imam Sayyid Musa Sadr and his companions. For this he has received the opprobrium and even hatred of the Shīʿah around the world and most especially in Lebanon. Assuming his guilt, this was arguably the biggest mistake of his career, for it was the vote of Lebanon at the UN Security Council that tipped the balance against him so NATO could begin its onslaught against Qaddhafi and the Libyan people.
Yet the Qurʾān demands that we be just, even against a people who have incurred our opprobrium or hatred. Within his own country Qaddhafi's record is mixed as a ruler: He was a dictator yet he followed his own ideological path independent of the Euro-American script. His initial popularity in Libya is unquestionable, but the exact degree of popular support he enjoyed or did not enjoy in recent times is harder to quantify.
There can be little doubt that he was as sincere in his original visionary and revolutionary spirit as a Lenin, Mao, or Castro. As an Arab nationalist he was more Nasserite than Nasser himself. And there can be little doubt that he truly believed in Islām. But without a righteous Imām (S) to guide him he went astray in his Islām and in his ideology -- a curious mixture of Islam, socialism, and political anarchism rooted in the free bedouin spirit from which he sprang. Finally he fell victim to his own hubris and pride which, in perfect harmony with that famous law of life, was at its greatest just before his fall.
In the first half or so of his rule there can be little doubt as to how much he did to develop Libya as an independent nation. He gave Libyans the best standard of living in Africa. Unlike Tunisia and Egypt, poverty had nothing to do with his overthrow -- indeed, many of Libya's most poor fought the hardest for him. He threw out the multinationals, wrested Libyan oil -- the best in the world -- from greedy Western hands, and used the money to build Libya and to stick finger after finger into the interests of the Euro-American Empire.
On the international front Qaddhafi supported anti-Western liberation struggles around the world, from Nicaragua to Northern Ireland to the Philippines. Analyst Jean-Paul Pougala
explains the important role Qaddhafi has played in creating institutions within Africa -- raped and exploited for centuries by European colonialism, imperialism --, institutions meant to provide an alternative to the tyranny of Euro-American financial institutions. See also
In the NATO intervention in Libya note that the African Union was contemptuously ignored in its attempt to play a positive role in the Libyan crisis. The common-sense appeals of Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda, were ignored:
How is it that a Euro-American military alliance was given the right to attack Libya but the African Union, within which Libya occupies its natural geopolitical space, was sidelined? I encourage readers to read both Museveni's and Pougala's analyses. And the unfortunate fact is that the African Union has not developed to anywhere near the point where it could play its natural role as a counterweight to the NATO behemoth.
For his struggle and vision, with all the flaws of its ideological basis and practical implementation, to free Africa, Arabs, and other oppressed peoples from the shackles of European colonialism and imperialism; for this he earned the eternal hatred of the Euro-American Empire. Although he often cooperated with the same Empire for reasons of expediency after 9/11 -- Libya after all is a small country in terms of human resources to defend against an American or NATO attack -- in this particular regard it would be grossly unfair to merely lump Qaddhafi along with quisling rulers such as Mubarak and Ben-Ali, or American-created Frankenstein monsters such as Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
Along with Syria, he continuously supported Iran throughout the Iran-Iraq war and against the rest of the Arab world. This is one reason for which he also earned the eternal hatred of the Saudi tribe that occupies the Arabian Peninsula. The other reason, of course, is that the Colonel emphatically rejected Saudi-sponsored Wahhabism and Salafism in every shape and form. Unfortunately, Qaddhafi's spiritual and ideological replacement for Wahhabi reactionarism, Sunni traditionalism, and even progressive Sunni Ikhwanism was unable to find a place in the hearts of the jamahiriyyah, of the masses whom he so idealistically wanted to mold into a mirror of his own vision and image of revolutionary socialism and Islam. Hence Wahhabism as well as the two mainstreams of the Sunni tradition turned against him. Between that and the absence of any credible accounting for the Imām Musa Sadr -- a figure so dear to both revolutionary and traditionalist Shīʿī Islam -- he was left with no natural friends or allies in the Muslim world. This gave an opening for the Euro-American Empire to play the dirtiest card in its deck of dirty tricks: Wahhabi reactionarism.
If there ever any doubt that Wahhabi reactionarism and al-Qaeda are tools of Euro-American policy, the Libyan intervention should put that to rest. Abdelhakim Belhaj, the present ruler of Tripoli, was an al-Qaeda agent once held at an American secret prison in Bangkok:
Another prominent leader of one of rebel factions, Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu, was a prisoner in Guantanamo for five years. A true thug, Abu Sufian had served time in prison in the 90's for drug trafficking and assault, before escaping to eventually join al-Qaeda in Afghanistan:
Each was eventually sent back to Libya by the US, and each was given amnesty by Qaddhafi after a couple of years imprisonment. Now, in a farcical and tragic repetition of history these two al-Qaeda operatives, among many others, are used by the Euro-American Empire to lead an "uprising" against Qaddhafi. So we are in peculiar situation where NATO serves as the air force of its al-Qaeda affiliate in Libya and al-Qaeda serves as the ground troops of NATO (!) -- something that does not seem so odd when one studies the symbiotic relationship between Euro-American Empire and Wahhabi reactionarism over the past century and especially the past 30 years in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and now Libya, all bank-rolled by the Saudi regime occupying the Arabian Peninsula.
One feature common to the various strands of Wahhabi reactionarism is a level of barbarism and thuggery that places them outside the pale of civilized behavior. The Taliban's murder of dozens of Iranian diplomats in Mazar-e Sharif a decade ago and the very recent killing of former President Rabbani in the course of peace negotiations; the savage beheadings and massacres in Iraq; the ongoing massacres of Shīʿīs in Pakistan; the removal and murder of the first head of the rebel forces in Benghazi; these and innumerable more examples all have their roots in a savage Wahhabi anarchism that respects no law or due process for anyone who does not belong to their club or gang. As the dirty card and shock troops of Euro-American-Saudi policy in the Muslim world the damage these few psychopaths have done to the interests of the Muslim world is incalculable. One day they are unleashed to serve Imperial and Saudi interests, the next day their barbarism is used as justification for the largest military budget in the world. One day they are tortured, dehumanized, and further radicalized in secret prisons; the next they are used as the shock troops of NATO in its ambush of Libya.
Which brings us back to Qaddhafi and the Qurʾānic exhortation to justice, even against those who have earned our opprobrium. In their love and grief for the Imām Sadr, many Shīʿīs will cheer the fall and death of Qaddhafi. Many in the progressive Sunni Ikhwan movement will also cheer the death of someone who eradicated that movement from Libya. But that will be very shortsighted. The impact of the short-term -- and perhaps even mid-term -- victory that the Euro-American Empire has won in recolonizing Libya through Wahhabi reactionarism cannot be overestimated. If, in its legitimate grief and anguish over Imām Sadr, Hizbullah in any way enabled the vote of Lebanon at the UN to go after Qaddhafi -- and I do not have knowledge on this score -- it was quite a miscalculation. The Mediterranean Sea is now a NATO lake: Full spectrum dominance has been achieved. The richest and most independent country in Africa has been reconquered by the Euro-America. The wealth of Libya is now a Euro-American resource and no longer an African resource, a massive loss to that already impoverished continent. And upwards of 30,000 Libyans, including so many innocent women, children, men, and old people, have been killed as a direct result of Euro-American intervention, in a country of only a few million. Particularly appalling has been the blatant racism shown to the Black community of Libya, and the truly atrocious manner that prisoners of war have been tortured and quite literally slaughtered:
The Qurʾān says that no human being bears the moral or legal burden of another: Our issues with Qaddhafi are no excuse in any way supporting an aggressive militarism that doomed tens of thousands more people to death than would have died if Libya had been left alone. And that's assuming the initial revolt was not itself an instance of agent-provacateurism (the jury is still out on that; see, for example,
Finally, the death of Qaddhafi himself: After his convoy is bombed by NATO, first they say he was wounded and captured; then they say he died of his wounds; then they say he was found hiding in a ditch ... But now we know: He was captured alive, tortured, and brutally killed on live mobile camera moments after being caught, in violation of any and all civilized norms:
I do not accept comparison with Saddam, an utterly unprincipled monster who was at least tried in a civilized manner for his crimes before his well-deserved and ignominious end; nor with Mubarak, a mere quisling who was replaced by his masters in the face of untenable opposition; or Ben-Ali, another mere quisling overthrown with little-to-no outside help by his own people.
Qaddhafi could have got on a flight to Cuba; his friend Hugo Chavez of Venezuela would have been happy to send him a private jet so Qaddhafi could save himself. Instead, he honorably chose to send the women of his family to safety while he stayed with his sons and fought NATO and the Wahhabi gangs. Only Allāh knows the fate of Qaddhafi beyond this world; he will have to answer for his actions to the Supreme arbiter of Cosmic Justice who oppresses no one. However, in the scale of this world: If anything can be said positively of Qaddhafi in his life and death, it is that he died while valiantly fighting in defence of Libya against the combined forces of NATO and Wahhabi reactionarism. That will be his epitaph as Libya begins its second chapter under (neo-)colonial occupation. And that is exactly how Qaddhafi would have wanted it.
Peace to those who seek to follow righteous guidance and justice.
Professor Idris Samawi Hamid is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Shīʿī Studies, Department of Philosophy, Colorado State University