Thursday, March 17, 2011

no fly don't fly

I remember ads on TV for aerosol spray that involved a human arm in a cage of mosquitos. Press a button, and the arm became a no-fly zone.

This morning my inbox is stuffed with pleas to support a no-fly zone in Libya, of all places, in order to protect civilians.

A no-fly zone over Libya will involve sending our young men to to kill their young men.

Three weeks ago world political peak body the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his family, and referred Libya's crackdown on anti-government demonstrators to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The most serious allegation against the Gaddafi regime is that 257 civilians were murdered by government forces in the eastern city of Benghazi between 15 and 20 February. On March 3 the ICC announced it had commenced an investigation after a preliminary finding that the referral warranted further action.

The Australian left have long standing ties to Libyan workers. A quarter of a century ago a group of Australian Left Labour state politicians, described as "deeply, deeply anti-American", "disgraceful" and an "embarrassment" travelled to Libya to prove that allegations by the American government that Libya had a chemical weapons factory were untrue.

A lifetime later and I'm invited to go to a website, Press a button, the website says, and Libya will become a no-fly zone. Send a message, the website says, and Libya will become a no-fly zone, and your privacy will be protected.

I guess in an age of video simulation and online WOW going to war with Libya sounds as easy as pressing a button. But a no-fly zone over Libya will involve sending our young men to kill their young men.

I'm not going to press the button. I didn't go to Libya either. The International Criminal Court is the first permanent international independent tribunal dealing with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. If it provides a path less travelled than ones involving force of arms and the cries of dying men in pain then the journey will be all the more worthwhile.


  1. Of course, you make some valid points - the one against war and sending young men to their death is the primary one and I grappled with whether or not to post the letter by Avaaz. org, but it seemed to me that even though the petition may not have an affect it might draw more attention to the plight of the Libyan's. As Avaaz members state, it is a complex and difficult situation, but should we do nothing and hope that it is all sorted by the UN and the International Criminal court? Obviously, it is ideal if the situation is resolved peacefully - I'm with you in hoping that it is.

  2. I am anti-war; Vietnam, Iraq , Afghanistan and now Libya. We need to ask ourselves why "some" "dictators" are ok in the eyes of the west and some are not...usually it is about what suits the needs of western interests,like oil production. The US will not fight the unelected Saudi
    monarchy that is for certain!