What did John Lennon say? “War is over, if you want it”? It’d be lovely if that was the case in the real world, but it’s simply not that easy. Try telling that to the mainstream media though.
Outlets across the globe aligned to an anti-Gaddafi cause have painted a pretty picture of a war waged almost to the end since rebels reportedly surged into Tripoli over the weekend. Journalists and leaders alike are reporting that the end for Colonel Gaddafi’s regime is near, the rebels are taking control and the tyranny of the decades-long dictator is as good as gone.
But really now — what’s actually happening?
No matter what the mainstream media feeds as facts in an attempt to show a war that’s not a waste of resources, men and money, the reality of it is that the battle that is being waged against Gaddafi does not appear to be as far from over as most are led to believe. One would think so, however, due to misinformation represented with no regard for the truth and a public that deserves to hear it.
Monday afternoon in America, US President Barack Obama spoke to the country about the Libyan civil war. “This much is clear,” declared the president. “The Gaddafi regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people.”
“For over four decades, the Libyan people had lived under the rule of a tyrant who denied them their most basic human rights,” added Obama. “Now, the celebrations that we've seen in the streets of Libya shows that the pursuit of human dignity is far stronger than any dictator.”
And while Obama did not say that the war is in fact at an end, he did say one thing for certain: “it's clear that Gaddafi’s rule is over.”
Obama’s speech came within hours of announcement that the second son of Colonel Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, had been detained by authorities. The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for his arrest, which was then carried out by the Libyan National Liberation Army and announced by the National Transitional Council. Coupled with Obama’s assurance that the enemy’s empire was crumbling, the capture of the colonel’s son and main heir apparent would appear to be only a catalyst for the coup, signaling an end all too certain.
Hours after his supposed arrest, however, the younger Gaddafi rolled up to Tripoli’s Rixos hotel in a white armored limousine. The BBC described him as “pumped full of adrenaline”and “brimming with confidence.” He wore an army-green t-shirt as he flashed the V-for-Victory sign from both hands, entertaining reporters and supporters alike. “I'm here to refute all the rumors and reports," he told journalists, and then announced that they would “hit the hottest spots in Tripoli.”
The National Transitional Council had issued a report earlier that the colonel’s son was captured, being held “in a safe location.”
Saif’s response? Damn them.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi says it is an “electronic and media war in order to spread chaos and fear in Libya.” Are the rebellions really as raw as they are made out to be? "They are acting more as desperate militia. It is a de facto government but they haven't grasped this yet," Fawas Gerges, a professor of Middle Eastern politics at the London School of Economics, tells The Guardian.
And while that fear and chaos spreads among the citizens of Libya, for the western world it is a sign of hope and democracy. One must question how obtainable that really is, though, especially when the facts aren’t fully present.
Obama says the colonel is on the verge of collapse, but his own son tells reporters that “of course” he’s safe. The media makes it as if the rebel resurgence is ravaging his regime, but other reports suggest Gadaffi’s men are stockpiling tons upon tons of mustard gas, and others say they are wandering the halls of rebel hospitals, unloading bullets upon the war-torn and injured.
The mainstream media thinks otherwise. But what about those actually on the ground? Pepe Escobar, correspondent for Asia Times, tells RT that journalists from CNN and BBC “reporting” from Tripoli are “pathetic.” The story that they give to their audience is delivered from hotel rooms where they are held up, donned in bulletproof vests. The independent journalists actually on the scene, he says, are risking their lives to get the story straight, but few are willing to find an outlet for them to tell the truth.
Perhaps the biggest example of misinformation made available to the public was a release from Al-Jazeera TV on Monday. According to a news bulletin, a NATO warplane shot down a scud missile fired from Muammar Gaddafi’s home city outside of Tripoli. The release is great for those wanting to hear that NATO and American allies are in control and on the side of the rebels, but for those wanting the truth, they are sadly in the dark yet again. Why?
Planes can’t shoot down scud missiles.
By Tuesday morning, news sources show Gaddafi’s compound billowing with black smoke, fires raging and rebels rejoicing in tears. They say the war is almost over and the end is near, and hey, they have the footage of a mansion on fire to prove it. But where is Gaddafi? Where is his imprisoned son today? What is NATO actually doing and will they lie about it before the sun sets tonight in Tripoli?
While time may tell what’s to become of the people of Libya, time might be all the public has on their side. Surely the media can’t be relied on for the facts, but with the only the future of the world and the lives of millions at stake, what good are facts?