Much like the comic book character Mr. A, our view of law and justice has grown increasingly black and white over recent months. While the riots are the obvious stem of this simplification of morality, we must also look at the Western intervention in Libya. As I write, Gaddafi is making his last stand and will soon be deposed. This is hardly a bad development, of course, Gaddafi had total rule and unleashed a brutal mercenary force upon his own people. However, I simply fear that throughout this whole intervention, too much has been focused on the notion that Gaddafi is somehow 'evil' and the Rebels are 'good', and thus military intervention is justified. Just as the rioters are, in the media's eyes, the embodiment of moral decline, Gaddafi is the evil ruler, the irredeemable force. Just as Mr. A says, “There is black and there is white, there is good and there is evil. And there is nothing in between.” This view is profoundly wrong, both morally and historically. It may well be a good thing that Gaddafi is about to fall, but I lament the portrayal of the circumstances.
Anyone with a good memory will know that the Western nations' sudden vilification of Gaddafi, is hypocritical seeing as he and other dictators like Mubarak or Assad, were recently seen as allies against Islamic Fundamentalism. They were supported by our governments and given weapons, some of which are now used to kill their own peoples. For the developed democracies to suddenly portray him as 'bad', suggests that they saw his rule as legitimate beforehand, and only jumped on the rebel bandwagon when it was viable to do so, not to support the pre-2011, opposition to Gaddafi. Hence, the situation is something of a farce of UK and US diplomacy. Moreover, there is the classic argument. If we truly went into Libya to uphold democracy, why not invade North Korea, Myanmar/Burma, Zimbabwe and all these other oppressed nations. The argument that such adventures would destabilise regional relations makes no sense, given that Libya is in the Middle East, arguably the least stable region on the planet. At the risk of cynicism, the presence of oil in Libya, Earth's 9th largest reserves. being the main motivator should not be ruled out.
Equally, there are no good guys or bad guys in Libya, only shades of grey. Supporting the rebels could still become a regrettable action for the West, as was supporting the Mujahideen in the 1980s.
I mean, who are the rebels? Currently their leading Council consists of either ex-Gaddafi men, who could create an akin despotism or elite intellectuals who may not fully understand the leanings of ordinary Libyans. Indeed, would we support democracy if Islamic Fundamentalists were elected, I certainly would not.
Intervention always has unintended consequences. We may well have perverted the natural course of democracy in Libya which will now become associated with divisiveness and Western allegiances. Many of our past kings were worse than Gaddafi yet we celebrate them or at least portray them as farcical villains. What if foreign intervention had supported the peasant's revolt or the continuation of the English Commonwealth in the 1600s? William the Conqueror, was far worse than the Gaddafis of this world, yet few historians doubt the meaning of his rule in creating the prosperous nation of today. See democracy as the maturity of a country. It must be reached on its own terms, not supporting one half over another.
Besides, our ideals are hardly perfect. In our 'liberal democracy' you can only really have a say in government if you vote for one of two very similar parties. Everything becomes a financial issue, facts become opinions, all that is worthy in life is reduced to a marketing exercise. Obviously we are better than Gaddafi, but we are not so great that we can pontificate to the 'lesser' nations.
Mr. A was wrong. Anyone who knows their fellow humans can tell that there is no black or white, only shades of grey. All we can do is pick the lighter shade of grey and hope that it works out in the long term.