‘Should I stay or should I go’ [1, 2]. It’s a 1981 song by the English punk rock band The Clash . In my mind this week I almost heard Colonel Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi singing its words . Gaddafi, now aged 68, has ruled Libya, dictatorially, since 1969  – making him the longest serving of all current non-royal national leaders  and the fourth longest in history . And as recent happenings in Libya have shown, to maintain his hold on power he’s not above a spot of violence – including ordering snipers to shoot, and warplanes to strafe, protesters . If that’s not human rights abuse then I don’t know what is. On the topic of human right abuse, the self same Colonel Gaddafi’s the eponymous founder and funder of the annual Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights. The prize is awarded to ‘international personalities, bodies or organizations that have distinctively contributed to rendering an outstanding human service and has achieved great actions in defending human rights, protecting the causes of freedom and supporting peace everywhere in the world’. Sounds grand. But perusing the list of winners  instantly tempers one’s enthusiasm. The prize’s website’s emblazoned with the slogan ‘As the sun shines for everyone, freedom is a right for everyone’ . Everyone, that is, who’s not in the cross-hairs of Gaddafi’s snipers and planes. Should he stay or should he go? The answer’s obvious. And the sooner the better.
3 days ago