Gaddafi: A U.N. Value
Until shortly before Gaddafi crawled out of a drain pipe and met his violent end, he was the darling of the United Nations and the "international community."
It is perplexing why a criminal and brutal dictator would garner the accolades of an organization whose charter calls for "reaffirming faith in fundamental human rights ... and living together in peace with one another as good neighbours[.]"
His bloody trail was not just of Israelis or Jews, whose deaths rarely warrant international outrage. He was behind the bombing of a Berlin discothèque, in which two U.S. soldiers were killed and hundreds of others wounded by the nail-packed bomb. His handprints were also on the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland (270 people were killed).
The man Ronald Reagan called "The Mad Dog" was judged gently by the United Nations. A January 2011 draft report by the U.N.'s Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review praised Gaddafi for Libya's achievements in human rights. That same august body elected Libya to the Human Rights Council, gave Libya a seat on the Security Council, and chose Libya to chair the preparations for the Durban II conference, featuring an Israel hate-fest and starring Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. For added prestige, Gaddafi's daughter, Ayesha Gaddafi, was appointed as the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Libya in 2009. (Ayesha Gaddafi had taken the world stage in July 2004, when she joined the legal defense team of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.)
Praise for Gaddafi was not limited to the U.N. In February 2009, he was elected chairman of the African Union, where he was instrumental in protecting Omar al-Bashir for his genocidal crimes in Darfur. Italy, France, and other democracies have welcomed him. The Swiss government quickly undid a moment of moral clarity by the Swiss police, who had arrested "Hannibal," Gaddafi's son, on charges of beating his servant. The Swiss issued a cowering apology and restored normal diplomatic relations.
The approbation for Gaddafi is all the more striking when juxtaposed with the condemnation Israel receives from those same beacons of morality. Israel is a true democracy, where the rights of minorities are sacrosanct, where freedom of religion is protected for all, where a robust press never fears to criticize those in power, where an Arab Supreme Court justice found the former president of the Jewish nation guilty, and where soldiers drop warning leaflets and send text messages notifying civilians to evacuate areas the military is preparing to oust armed terrorists. Yet Israel is the recipient of more U.N. condemnations than what all other nations get. Israel, not Libya, is the only state (of all states which belong to the U.N.) that is not allowed to sit on the Security Council, ever.
What explanation can there be for the inversion of morality in which a nation known for its brutality and repression is held in esteem while a nation committed to human rights and liberty is denigrated? It is a world turned on its head, or a world which has lost its head, and a world where Gaddafi is a U.N. value.
Peggy Shapiro is Chicago Community Coordinator, StandWithUs.