The Guardian’s Brian Whitaker: Brutal Arab Dictator Whisperer

The Guardian’s Brian Whitaker, unlike us mere mortals – preoccupied as we are with such banal concerns as human rights abuses and totalitarianism – “gets” Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Whitaker, in today’s CiF, acknowledges that the Libyan dictator’s actions may seem a bit eccentric before insisting that there is, indeed, a method to his madness.

Though falling considerably short, on the political lunacy scale, of colleague Simon Tisdall’s passionate apologia for Sudan’s Omar al-Bashar, Whitaker’s sympathetic take on Gaddafi (who has ruled Libya since 1969) represents a classic example of the moral inversion which informs so much of the Guardian Left.

The following passage is typical:

“…mad as [Gaddafi] may seem, his actions usually have some kind of logic, even if it’s a logic that others, not attuned to the Gaddafi way of thinking, fail to recognise.”

Yes, clearly those of us who aren’t blessed with Whitaker’s sophistication, and penetrating empathy, tend to be distracted by such mundane concerns as (per Freedom House) Libya’s notoriety for possessing one of the worst human rights records in the Middle East – a very crowded field of competition.

In Libya:

  • Political parties are banned and membership in such entities is punishable by death.
  • Anyone trying to engage in political or civic activity is liable to severe penalties including arrest, detention, and possible torture.
  • Abortion is illegal and punishable under the penal code. Anyone who procures an abortion is liable to imprisonment.
  • Freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, and religion are restricted. Independent human rights organizations are prohibited.

Gaddafi, whose official title is “Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution”, has but one sin, according to Whitaker:

“he has lost touch with his people.”

Yes, Gaddafi has become so alienated from his national brethren that he ordered his Air Force to bomb, and direct artillery fire on, citizens peacefully protesting his 42 year rule.

In a 882 word meditation on the Libyan strongman, Whitaker didn’t even once mention Gaddafi’s brutality, nor was there even a cursory mention of “human rights”.

Yet, in fairness, Whitaker did acknowledge that Brother Muammar may not be perfect, and allowed that reasonable people may certainly view his sense of fashion as “bizarre”.

Whitaker’s empathy for brutal Arab dictators isn’t limited to the aesthetically challenged Gaddafi, as he’s also penned a sympathetic portrayal of Syrian despot, Bashar al-Assad – and, naturally, he’s nurtured by a visceral dislike of Israel.

In short, Whitaker’s fanciful musings represents another Guardian tale fit for a king or, at the very least, a Colonel.

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