Hal Pepinsky, pepinsky@indiana,edu, pepinsky.blogspot.com
February 27, 2011
The transliteration of Gaddafi’s name has even been simplified. David Cameron has just asked Mr. Gaddafi to leave office. Meanwhile, in classic military/penal logic, my national government is doing all it can to cooperate with Euro-others to take away Gaddafi’s foreign assets or capacity to travel abroad. Libya’s head has been made a national pariah. He has nowhere to go. He is odds on to die at home. The problem remains: once you’ve lopped off her/his head, what next?
I guess what I most regret at this moment is how focused on the moment, how divorced from the history of “revolutions,” excitement at these “critical moments.” Meanwhile, by US/UN design, Gaddafi has been condemned personally to death. Problem is, the problem of what to do next only then emerges, where the tendency is for those who were well politically and economically connected to “stabilize” oppression that has supposedly been overthrown. Marx radically distinguished political revolution from human emancipation. I think he was right, and I regret the momentary focus on when Gaddafi will die. When revolution is focused on beheading a sovereign, revolution is cheap, especially for those of us who in this case happen not to be Libyan. Love and peace--hal