Paris-based Iranian writer Amir Taheri interviews Seyf al-Islam Kaddafi, son of Libya's Muammar Kaddafi. Its a rather bizarre interview which mixes some rather sensible statements along such hard to believe assertions as the idea that his father doesn't really rule Libya. After arguing that political decisions are made collectively he goes on to argue that the Libyan people are still too primitive to be ruled by a democracy.
Taheri: In that case why not have a constitution and hold elections?
Kaddafi: That is the logical direction of our political evolution. But don't forget that transforming a basically medieval and tribal society into a modern democratic one in just three decades is no easy task. We cannot achieve in Libya what older democracies have achieved in centuries. Promulgating a constitution is not a difficult exercise. In fact, all despotic regimes in the Arab world do have constitutions, written by those who intend to, and do, violate them systematically. Holding elections has also become a kind of fashion in the Arab world — largely to please the Americans. But everyone knows that these are fake elections in which people have the right to endorse the rulers, often by the notorious 99.9 percent majorities, but not the right to vote them out. These so-called elections are insults to the Arab people. We in Libya will not accept such an insult. We are honest with ourselves. We realize that moving from tribal monarchy to modern democracy needs more time. We need time to evolve our culture, reform our social habits, and reinterpret our traditions in the spirit of pluralism. We also need a solid middle class without which no democracy is possible. And that, in turn, requires the presence of a large number of educated citizens who can generate enquiry and political debate.
Sure enough tribal societies are not capable of supporting functional democracies. Seyf as-Islam could probably teach Washington power-brokers and the American media and academic elite valuable lessons which they are unaware of their need to learn. One senses from this interview that the son may well understand the world fairly well. But his future is tied to the power of his father and its clear that while some of his statements represent how he sees the world he is also spinning for the Libyan regime while paying lip service to the latest enthusiasms of his mercurial father.
Father Muammar Khadafy/Ghaddafi/Qaddafi has lost his interest in the Arab countries probably as a result of his having lost all influence with them (with the possible exception of deals he may be doing for WMD technology exchanges). So he's turned his attention to Africa as a playground with greater possibilities for exercising his influence. His oil money can buy far more influence in the poorest of countries and Africa has such countries in abundance. This involvement is not doing Africa any favors. He's been helping to prop up Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe even as that regime drives that country into increasingly worse straits. As is noted in the Taheri interview he's so excited by his prospects for greater influence in Africa that he's offering Libyans cash incentives for marrying Africans (presumably only from the Sub-Saharan regions and further south)..
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2003 January 03 08:16 PM Axis Of Evil|