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COSATU condemns foreign military occupation in Libya

Published Mar 31, 2011 9:31 PM

Bongani Masuku, international relations secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, issued the following statement on behalf of the labor federation on March 22.

COSATU has reiterated its position in support of the legitimate and genuine struggles of the people and workers of the Middle East and North Africa for democracy, human dignity and social justice. In doing so, however, we seek to exercise caution [at] the manner Western powers claim to be advancing the struggle for democracy in that region.

In their own imagination, military occupation can deliver democracy to the masses. Is it not the same doctrine that failed in Iraq before, Afghanistan recently, and is it not inevitably bound to fail in Libya? This can be best described as helicopter democracy, which disempowers the masses in whose name the struggle for democracy is waged and renders them spectators as foreign powers arrogate [to] themselves the role of liberators.

It is very clear that the United Nations resolution fit into a well-designed scheme which was deliberately set by the big powers to ensure military occupation and regional reconfiguration to further assert imperialist domination and neoliberal economic orthodoxy in the interest of profiteering at all costs for their giant oil companies. It was further meant to ensure stage-managed “regime change” which sought to impose regimes that would best service their interests, as was the case with [former Egyptian president] Hosni Mubarak for a long time.

International solidarity does not mean foreign occupation or undermining the sovereign rights and territorial integrity of any country and peoples, but supporting the struggling masses to defeat an oppressor through their own struggle.

The abuse of the U.N. system to advance narrow corporatist interests of Western countries and their big multinationals [which], for too long, have been eager to secure for themselves the huge oil and natural gas reserves in this part of the world, discredits the standing of the U.N. in the eyes of the world. In particular, the double standards of the U.N. Security Council and the International Criminal Court are shocking.

The world is still waiting for action in relation to the war crimes charges against Israel following the findings of the Goldstone Report, and we have not seen anything close to that, except for continuous U.S. blocking, with the full support of the European Union, of any resolution holding Israel to account.

In this regard, we believe that the honesty of the U.N. in dealing with global problems is in doubt. We have not seen similar determination to deal with despots in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, where people are being killed and imprisoned for marching peacefully, state of emergencies have been declared and foreign forces have been called to reinforce against peaceful activities for democracy. Could this be explained by the fact that U.S. oil supplies are guaranteed by the existence of the despots running these countries, as with the U.S. military bases in this part of the world?

From Western Sahara to Palestine and Libya, foreign military and political occupation is wrong and must be fought with all the determination necessary. Wherever it happens, it threatens and substitutes the genuine struggles and role of the people in determining the future of their countries.