24 May 2011

Phony Humanitarians


In relation to the war in Libya we are predictably faced with overwhelming evidence intervention has nothing to do with humanitarian inclinations. The bombing has not improved the humanitarian situation, but made it worse (duh). This on its own could theoretically be put down to incompetence and stupidity rather than a lack of noble intentions. The attitude of intervening states to the humanitarian disaster they magnified, however, gives lie to their claim that attempting to mitigate suffering was why they became involved.

The bombing campaign conducted under the pretense of a "no-fly zone" added to the number of people fleeing just as it put an end to the airlift evacuation making it more difficult for refugees to get to safety. Probably many that would have otherwise not fled or would extricate themselves by air were condemned to desperate alternatives like braving the Mediterranean on overcrowded vessels or crossing the Sahara. The result has been that of people dying from drinking contaminated water or drowning as they try to get away. Associated Press estimated the number of refugee deaths could be in the thousands:
"They are the latest among hundreds, probably thousands, who have died in desperate attempts to get away from the fighting — and escape charges that they were fighting for Gadhafi as foreign mercenaries."
The intervening states are humanitarian enough to rain down bombs, killing children and wrecking schools, but not humanitarian enough to receive the refugees fleeing the fighting and their anti-Gaddafi allies with open arms. The refugees who make it to Italy are being accommodated only begrudgingly and within set quotas. UK, one of the most aggressive when it came to expanding the business of killing people, refuses to accept any at all. Denmark, all the while proudly flying air sorties over Libya, reinstituted border controls defunct since 2001 partially on the back of fears it would be affected by the refugee situation.

Meanwhile a boat carrying people of various African nationalities fleeing Libya was left floating dead in the water for 16 days without any of the NATO vessels in the vicinity responding to its its calls for help. By the time it washed up on the shore most people on board had died from thirst. NATO literally would not give a glass of water to people dying in front of them.

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