Letters: Libya after Gaddafi

The end of Gaddafi's regime bodes ill for Libya
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The Independent Online

With the execution of Muammar Gaddafi by al-Qa'ida's Libyan divisions deployed back from Iraq and Afghanistan, the world's longest serving non-royal ruler is gone.

In contrast to the recent slaughter, he overthrew the Anglo-American puppet King Idris in a bloodless coup 42 years ago and dismantled the corrupt remnants of western colonialism.

As a result he replaced Nasser as the Western bogeyman, was styled the "Mad Gaddafi" and every act of terrorism up and to and including Lockerbie was laid at his door.

In practice he was one of the better third-world rulers, giving one of the poorest nations in the region food security by irrigating the desert and ensuring a stable water supply.

Perhaps his great achievement was to protect Libya's minorities from Islamic repression – the real losers of this Western neo-colonial interference are the Coptic Christians.

Dr John Cameron

St Andrews

I am disgusted by the sensationalist pictures on the cover of today's Independent of a 69-year-old man being murdered. If you were going to publish them, they could have been on an inside page; instead you are pandering to the worst possible moral values.

Gregor Tassie


The Libyan National Transitional Council talks loftily of a new era in Libya of democracy and justice. But the capture and summary execution of Muammar Gaddafi when the opportunity existed for him to be handed over for trial by due process does not augur well, particularly as the NTC were aware that the International Court of Justice was ready to indict him for crimes against humanity.

Not that the Libyans lacked a precedent; after all, the US had treated Osama bin Laden in similar manner.

Benedict Birnberg

London SE3

The fact that Colonel Gaddafi was found wounded and hiding in a drain like a rat is perhaps a fitting tribute to a man who savagely and brutally ruled his people for 40 years of misery.

With Gaddafi out of the way, Libya and its people can make an immediate start in establishing their freedom and democratic rights.

Dennis Grattan


Mr Cameron did not "call Libya right". Without Nato's support the insurgency would have faded and died, as it did in other Arab states. Far from supporting the side destined to win, Nato determined who would win, completely ignoring any supposed role to protect civilians.

The premise of our involvement is once again morally dubious. There is no evidence Gaddafi would have carried out his wild threats of massacre. There is no certainty that the tribes arraigned against Gaddafi will form a stable government now their only uniting factor has been removed. The roots of Islamism are already in evidence in the new Libya. The outcome of the war is to have removed one Middle East hardman who will like as not be replaced with another.

From a rebellion that would have faded in days with dozens killed, we precipitated a war with thousands killed.

Des Senior

Ware, Hertfordshire

There is much to be done and many risks ahead in Libya. The West can help by encouraging a reconciliation process that, without blame or rancour, accounts for every death in the last nine months, accepting everyone's entitlement to grieve at the death of those they loved irrespective of the side they were on and their participation in the violence.

The West should insist on a public record of all oil sales to promote the transparency needed to stem corruption. Further, it should encourage the Libyans to set a realistic date for elections and an interim government consisting entirely of people who agree not to participate in those elections.

Jon Hawksley

London EC1

British justice subverted for sake of 'US intelligence'

We have already changed the law to enable the Government to avoid inconvenient arrest warrants for suspected war criminals and we appear to be allowing our open system of justice to be subverted behind closed doors to avoid the legal disclosure of "American intelligence" – without which we would still be ignorant of much torture and abuse (front page, 20 October).

We cannot always rely on Wikileaks-type disclosure to reveal the facts. We would have been much better off without the faulty "American intelligence" and the illegal American wars with which Tony Blair subverted our parliamentary system. With illegal drone assassinations being carried out across the world, we need to strengthen our justice system not weaken it. Let all those suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity fear visiting the UK.

Barry Barber

Great Malvern, Worcestershire

If Ken Clarke does succeed in making legal secret trials in the UK after demands of the CIA – a foreign intelligence agency – does it then mean that people could be secretly extradited to the US under the one-sided extradition treaty we have with them? If so, we should thank goodness that the US is not an imperialist power!

Bob Morgan

Thatcham, West Berkshire

Don't go gaga – it's just a gadget

Three cheers for Howard Jacobson: "A gadget may be wonderful – but it's just a gadget" (15 October). In the same issue you show pictures of crowds queueing for their new iPhones.

I own a computer. It is old. It sits on a table, but it does its job. I was consulting a website last week when a message suddenly appeared: "THIS IS NOT A JOKE. You are the 100,000th visitor today. Win an iPhone." I tried to delete the message. It kept coming back until I closed down the machine. Why does someone out there think I need an iPhone? Why is everyone in thrall to these gadgets?

I sometimes carry a mobile phone, mainly at my wife's insistence. (I concede that the torch function might prove useful.) I don't give the number out as I do not wish to have people phoning me at inconvenient times.

To my mind, this is normal behaviour. What appears abnormal is the sight of people wandering the streets, fingering keypads, gazing sadly at gadgets in their hands, completely unaware of the world, the people, or the traffic around them.

Colin Hayward

Fareham, Hampshire

Better controls on EU doctors needed

I fully agree with the House of Lords EU sub-committee's recommendations for more robust controls on EU doctors (report, 19 October). I have been working on EU proposals to modernise the Professional Qualifications Directive in the European Parliament's Health and Environment Committee and have reached broadly the same conclusions. Patient wellbeing must be upheld, which is why I have pushed to make language testing compulsory.

Healthcare is the duty of the UK government and not the EU. The UK should have more say in how it tests language competency. I have recommended to the committee that testing be carried out by the General Medical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council or the NHS trusts themselves. We must learn the lessons of the Daniel Ubani case and ensure that patient safety remains paramount.

Marina Yannakoudakis MEP

Conservative Spokesman for Health in the European Parliament

London N3

At last, practical skills recognised

John Hayes, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, tells us: "To build a truly sustainable economy we must have regard for practical and technical accomplishments." (letter, 14 October).

What a shame the Thatcher government didn't recognize this when they decimated British industry and told us that our future lay instead as a service economy. What a shame they reformed the education system to place all the emphasis on academic subjects, based upon a perceived need to train up an elite in order to fuel a trickle-down economy that never worked. And what a shame New Labour pushed education further in the same direction to try to get 50 per cent of school leavers into university – many to gain Noddy qualifications that nobody needs – at the same time doing practically nothing for the remaining 50 per cent.

Hayes tells us the Government plans to create "250,000 more apprenticeship places than Labour planned". Why did it take an international banking crisis for both parties to realise that the soundest economies are those with a solid manufacturing base?

Francis Kirkham

Crediton, Devon

In brief...

Unprepared for the digital age

I live just 30 miles outside London and as yet I don't have a Digital Freeview or a DAB radio signal – even though I have bought new equipment for the purpose of receiving these signals. Nor is there cable in the village. The date of 24 October 2012 seems an ambitious one to switch off our analogue feed – I don't think I'm in a particularly remote region.

Jonathan Allen

Great Missenden, Bucks

Clegg's promises

Reading Nick Clegg's opinion piece (20 October) on the threats to an emerging Egyptian democracy, it struck me that there can surely be no man in Britain better placed to comment on the risks of breaking political promises.

Jonathan Aird

Letchworth Garden City, Herts

Strike too

As well as restricting "industry" to manufacturing (David Day's letter, 19 October), could we eradicate "industrial action", which invariably means "non-industrial inaction" – two negatives do not make a positive here.

John Birkett

St Andrews, Fife

Save local radio

Recently, BBC6 Music was saved after a campaign by its outraged listeners. Now the BBC's cuts to local radio threaten to sweep away specialist music programmes whose boldness of playlists and encouragement of young musicians cannot be matched by the national stations. Here we go again...

Alison Brackenbury

Cheltenham, Glos

Schoolboy error

Henry St Leger-Davey (letters, 13 October) makes a valiant attempt at defending single-sex schools but destroys his argument with his closing remark, by referring to the opposite sex as a "distraction".

Will he see female colleagues in this way once he enters the workplace, defined by their gender rather than by their skills and attributes? Will he blame the "distraction" of female colleagues if his career fails to progress as he intends? He may find it hard to enter a profession where his interaction with women can continue on a purely "social" level, as at present.

Deborah Andrioli