After the much awaited first speech by Barack Obama to the United Nations General Assembly in its 64th session in New York on Wednesday, where he called for collective responsibility and greater cooperation in addressing its challenges, the next speaker was Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddaffi, who had also attended the General Assembly for the first time in the 40 years of his rule.
In his speech, addressed in Arabic, Col. Gaddaffi produced a devastating critique of the Security Council. His speech kept, I presume, not only the attendants of the assembly but also all the people that followed the proceedings on television everyone on edge.
I would like to take this opportunity to analyze some of the crucial elements in his speech.
As an African, one of the major factors that cause discontent , as highlighted by the Libyan leader, is the Security Council’s veto powers.
Any sane person would argue that it is very unfair to put the world’s security in the hands of only five states. To echo his words, democracy is not just for the rich and the powerful.
All countries should be equal at the Security Council. Just as president Obama called for greater cooperation against the challenges of the world, so it should be in deciding the world’s security. Super powers should not use the UN to protect their interests at the expense of the less privileged.
The second and one of a few factors that have of recent received criticism especially on the African continent is the unfairness of the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
As he stressed, many Africans have come to believe that the International Criminal Court was a creation of the Western powers to criminalize and cripple powerful Africans, thus paving way for neo-colonialist forces to work without much resistance.
What’s made most of us disagree with the ICC is the indictments African leaders involved in war crimes while it has ignored everyone else involved in similar crimes.
If the ICC was genuine we would now be following George Bush’s or Bibi Netanyahu’s court proceeds at The Hague.
We shall only hear about Omar Bashir, Charles Taylor, Jean Pierre Bemba and Thomas Lubanga in the dock. This anomaly has caused many of us to lose confidence in the whole ICC arrangement.
This is totally unfair and unacceptable. We all require equal treatment.
Last but not the least; he didn’t forget to mention Africa’s demand for reparation for the ills of colonization.
Although I wonder whether the figures ($7.7tillion) he claimed for compensation were consensually agreed by all African leaders, I still support the idea. Europe should pay for the colonial harm they inflicted on the African people.
The author is a regular contributor