Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

That's the way to do it.

THE story of the Arabian Spring, which started with such promise in Egypt and spread across the Middle East, is now virtually unreportable. Stuck in a military quagmire in Libya and firmly oppressed by the British-educated despot in Syria, day after day there is no change in the patchy misery which brave souls manage to communicate to the rest of the world.

Death, destruction, the desperate despair of unarmed and untrained people losing the fight to be heard - an important story, but one which is too depressing to be on the front pages. To make it even more difficult, the journalists trying to tell the story are risking and losing their lives every day.

The 'international community', that shapeless thing which is often little more than a Punch & Judy show, quacks about how awful things are in Syria, drops a few bombs in Libya, and watches while millions of people ache for them to do something.

Yesterday the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court applied for an arrest warrant for Colonel Gaddafi on allegations he murdered his own people. Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he had evidence that in the two weeks after the uprising began 700 civilians had been killed on Gaddafi's orders; the figure is thought to be at least 3,000 now.

He said: "These are not just crimes against Libyans, they are crimes against humanity as a whole... No one has the authority to attack and massacre civilians. We have a mandate to do justice and we will do it." 

One of the victims, Mustafa Mohammad Shami, whose daughter and son were killed in one of Gaddafi's rocket attacks, said: "We will fight on. We want to see Gaddafi captured alive and prosecuted."

(Did you hear that, Obama? Captured alive and prosecuted. Not executed by Navy SEALs because it was easier.)

Perhaps it is just wishful thinking, political posturing in a toothless attempt to convince crazed dictators that they'll get a spanking if they're bad. 

Perhaps, considering the United Nations pulled out of Bosnia in 1992, Rwanda in 1994, and Haiti a few months later only for millions of innocents to be massacred while we sat and watched, it will come to nothing.

Or perhaps - just perhaps - this time the pantomime of international politics will show it is worth the ticket price after all.

I'm keeping everything crossed, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Punch                     Judy

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