I do not wake-up in the morning worrying about pleasing people. I do not also seek to displease anybody. All I am concerned with is pursuing what is right: according to my conscience. If that wins me support, so be it. And if it brings me criticisms, I would welcome them without regret. A 19th Century African sultan, who researched extensively on slavery once wrote, “Conscience is an open-wound, only the truth can heal it.” I agree.
For months now Britain has been shamelessly trying to extort money from Libya. Some members of the British parliament termed this maneuver: “Compensation for the victims of Northern Ireland conflict”. But I disagree. I regard it as another blind stupidity, which is alloyed with greed and insensitivity. The Libyan government has never denied selling weapons to the Irish fighters during the period in question. What they insist upon is that they never interfered in the fracas. They also (rightly) advised Britain to abandon its hypocrisy; since it has sold far more weapons to many warmongers all around the globe: including folks like Saddam Hussein.
Yes, I am aware that Britain has done such things in the past; and would not hesitate to repeat it in the future, if they like. Britain has also been tainted with aiding and sponsoring Coup D` Etats in parts of the world. And less than five years ago, the son of former British Prime Minister, Margret Thatcher, was jailed in South Africa for helping coup conspirators to acquire weapons and other military hardware.
What goes around comes around. And what is good for the goose should also be good for the gander. If Britain does not deem it appropriate to atone for any one of its many sins, it should not be the saint blowing the trumpet of redemption. Everyone knows that British citizens and soldiers committed all sorts of crimes in many of their former colonies (including India and South Africa). More recently, they have killed innocent civilians in both Iraq and Afghanistan without tendering any kind of compensation. Therefore, the country remains morally unfit to start raising hell about Libya, whose soldiers did not kill anybody in Northern Ireland. The Irish (who are also British) perpetrated all the atrocities. And despite my displeasure with Libya’s involvement in the said arms trade, I continue to oppose any sort compensation in that regard. Britain should practise what it preaches, if it wants to win support. It should put its own house in order first, before asking others to do so. Oh yes! Good old leadership by example!
The implications of this kind of outrageous demand could be far-reaching. And despite my unwillingness to go into details here, I shall highlight a few of them. For instance, what if all the aggrieved parties in Iraq and Afghanistan file petitions for compensation? Could those be honestly dismissed, given this latest British pursuit? If at all Britain has reasonable claims against Libya, it should pursue it. However, dwelling on half-baked antics would seriously backfire. Many people around the world: from Asia to Africa and from Australia to South America could easily find corresponding claims not just against Britain, but also against the United States and other countries. Needless to mention the possible demands of Iraqis, Afghanis, Filipinos, and all those citizens whose overbearing rulers and dictators stole and stashed away billions of dollars in Britain and other countries! In contexts like the one Britain is now obsessed with, such people would have legitimate compensatory demands to tender.
Endless bickering, bad-blood, allegations and counter-allegations would inevitably arise from such a thing. And if I may ask, who needs that kind of situation now? The world already has more problems than it could grapple with. Raising more would be suicidal. Hence, what should preoccupy men of goodwill ought to be ways of rectifying the errors of the past decades, and not how to witch-hunt, bully, and pursue ill-advised agendas, which would create far more problems than solutions.
It is obvious that British motives are shrouded in greed and recklessness. After all, these so-called Irish victims have seen the eleven-and-half million dollars per person compensation, which the Lockerbie bombing attracted from Libya. But they must not forget that their own case is very different from Lockerbie’s. And if justice must be upheld on this kind of turf, then their own country would have to vomit a lot more than it swallowed. A word should be enough for the wise.
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