Some days ago I got a mail from the (mostly) online pressure group avaaz.org. Usually it's about cutting my carboon footprint, saving a tribe in the Amazon rainforest or some other pressing issue. But this was speacial, this was current, this was about right vs wrong, us vs them, our sacred democracy against the evil dictator. They were loudly clamoring to introduce a no-fly zone againts Qadafi and in such a manner like it will solve all the problems AND cure cancer. So, below is the mail I sent to them, and below that, excerpts from the original mail.
date17 March 2011 09:16
Dear friends at Avaaz,
usually I'm very symphatetic with your proposals and with your cause, but for this one, I cannot imagine myself giving you a supporting click and let me tell you why.
You say that you are committed to non-violence, but still you support the no-fly zone. Don't you feel the problem here? A no-fly zone automatically brings more violence with it - you have to shoot down planes, destroy radar and other anti-aircraft facilities, which - you can imagine - will be full of supporters of Col. Qaddafi, posing as "innocent victims". Then you achieve what? That military planes are not flying? This could be very good for your consience, but has nothing to do with the rebellion, which can be crushed by artillery, by tanks and by paid soldiers, unless the Libyan army turns against its masters.
Don't forget the side-effect of the no-fly zone - it is requested by the Arab League, but most probably it will be enforced by NATO. Young white christian soldiers fighting against the legitimate leader of an Arabic country - if this sounds familiar, it's because this is what was happening in Iraq for the last couple of years and you were not so happy there, weren't you? Qaddafi can pose again like a victim, suffering at the hands of Western crusaders, potentially confusing it's own people and most likely drawing support from Arab nationals and religious zealots.
If you really want to hurt him, if you really want to stop him, if you really want to support the opposition and their rebellion - why don't you campaign for cutting of the revenue sources of the regime? Why don't you campaing for an international ban on buying oil from Qaddafi-controlled companies? An international arms embargo is a good thing, but even better if the regime doens't have the financial means to buy support, weapons and troops at all.
I really hope you will re-consider this campaing or at least you will include the financial strangulation into the aims of your campaing. Then I will be more than happy to send a message to the UN SC.
On 16 March 2011 15:27, Stephanie B - Avaaz.org <email@example.com> wrote:
This is what they sent - and beautiful exercise is futility...
This is what they sent - and beautiful exercise is futility...
The Arab League has just formally proposed a resolution at the UN Security Council to create a no-fly zone over Libya.
Qaddafi's forces are crushing the rebellion town by town. If they retake the country, brutal retribution awaits Libyans who challenged the regime. Already, reports of torture and killing are flowing from retaken areas.
Ordinary Libyans are asking if the world has abandoned them. The Avaaz community is deeply committed to non-violence, but enforcing a no-fly zone to ground Qaddafi's gunships is one case where UN-backed military action seems necessary. Polls of our community show 86% of us support a no-fly zone. Now, as the decisive UN vote nears, it's time for the biggest outcry we can raise.
We cheered when Libya's people rose up, and we cannot, we must not, ignore their plea for help now, in their darkest hour. Even if you've sent one before, click to send a message to the UN Security Council now:
The UN is split, but the ground is shifting rapidly -- with China, Russia, and Germany arguing against, and the Arab League, the Islamic Conference, the UK, and France pushing in favor. The US and India are on the fence. This is no old-style East-West debate, nor, as some fear, an oil-grab conspiracy. The Libyan provisional council, which France has recognized as Libya's legitimate government, is desperately calling for the no-fly zone and international support, but with each passing day, the danger grows that any help will come too late.
A no-fly zone alone isn't a silver bullet -- it should be matched by still-stronger targeted sanctions and asset freezes, jamming of Qaddafi's violence-inciting broadcasts, and more countries extending diplomatic recognition to Libya's provisional council. Even with all of that, it could fall short. But those opposing strong action must ask whether, with tens of thousands of lives in the balance, they're ready to call for inaction.
International law and the UN Security Council have made clear that, when mass crimes against humanity are committed, the international community has a responsibility to protect people from these crimes, even if their attacker is their own government. While we do not yet know the full magnitude of Qaddafi's crimes, we cannot look away. Click to send an urgent message to the UN Security Council delegates:
In the best-case scenario, Qaddafi would react to a UN resolution about a no-fly zone by ending his air attacks. But if he does not, enforcing the no-fly zone would require strikes on fighters he attempts to use, and possibly air strikes on Qaddafi's anti-aircraft missile batteries. There is a chance that a no-fly zone could lead to deeper international military involvement in Libya.
While the world (and Avaaz) objected strongly to George W. Bush's war in Iraq, and we have advocated for peaceful solutions to conflicts in numerous places, this is not Iraq. If we don't act soon, Libya could look more like Darfur, with massive crimes against humanity committed against whole communities of people. The Qaddafi regime has a long history of torture, massacring its own people and sponsoring international terrorism, and the Libyan people are unified against Qaddafi’s troops – even his own tribe and hometown have distanced themselves from his actions.
The situation in Libya -- and the world's response to it -- is complex, with many different actors and agendas, and the future of a post-Qaddafi Libya remains unclear. While this complexity must dictate the care we take in our actions, for the sake of tens of thousands of Libyan people, it cannot, it must not, render us inactive. Let's make the best choice we can, and act, now.
Stephanie, Ricken, Ben, Alice, Graziela, Benjamin, Rewan, and the whole Avaaz team