After listening to Colonel Gaddafi being interviewed by BBC TV, I had to dig out this little cartoon of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning.
Either he has a very sound exit strategy which he is not divulging, or the man is completely nuts. The people love him? Al Qaeda has been feeding them alcohol and hallucinatory drugs?
It sounds like he is the one using hallucinatory drugs.
The astonishing speed with which the wave of discontent has swept across North Africa and parts of the Middle East has been breathtaking. The momentum of the protests carrying through to regime change even more astonishing. Accelerated by social media it may have been, but it still an extraordinary series of events.
Western leaders have marched up to the microphones and TV cameras with predictable regularity to express support for the protesters and condemn Governments for even thinking of using force against “their people”.
So this raises a number of intriguing conundrums:
The Governments that are being overthrown, bad as they might be, were until a few weeks ago the Establishments responsible for governing the countries concerned. Western and Eastern leaders were quite comfortable doing business with them. Britain even going so far to appease Gaddafi that the Lockerbie bomber was released from jail and returned to an enthusiastic hero’s welcome in Libya.
The protesters, however noble their causes and however morally justified their protests may be, were in many cases breaking the laws of their countries. The deliberate damage of private and public property is a crime in any society.
What would our Western leaders reactions be, if the irritatingly frequent protests in Greece were ratcheted up in intensity and levels of violence to the extent that the authorities there had to use “deadly force” on Greek citizens to maintain order and protect property? Would there be immediate condemnation, calls for restraint, or even demands that the Greek government surrender power to an unelected mob?
Extend that line of thinking to the protests in Wisconsin, the excesses of which seem to be largely ignored by the mainstream media. Wouldn’t that be a feather in China’s cap if they could point fingers at the USA for harsh treatment of protesters on American soil.
The USA and the Britain have been heavily criticised for invading Iraq and somewhat less so for the Afghanistan campaign. The justification for Britain’s part in the former is still the subject of an enquiry, the conclusions of which may have severe repercussions for one or both of the former Prime Ministers involved.
After the fuss about Iraq in particular, a reasonable person would have thought that we would by now be seeing a huge show of opposition to any intervention or even influence in the Middle East by the USA & Britain from the liberal media, celebrities and left of center politicians.
Having suffered dearly from the consequences of the West’s outright betrayal and irresponsible meddling in parts of Africa, I am perhaps more sensitive than most to this blatant display of double standards. To me, it also reeks of self righteous arrogance for our governments to dictate the course of events in these places.
Don’t think that I am a fan of Gaddafi, Mubarak or any of the other leaders who are or will be looking for new employment. I will be overjoyed when Gaddafi gets what is coming to him, not only has he persecuted and robbed his own people, but he has caused further misery in Africa with his meddling and support of other brutal regimes.
As for Egypt, I fear that the Egyptian people might be cursed by getting what they are wishing for, but have not yet realised, military rule that is no more benevolent and less efficient than the old regime.
The first interim prime Minister of Tunisia has already resigned under mounting pressure from the people. Is this a sign that no government ministers in any of these countries will be acceptable for more than a few weeks, because they cannot immediately transform the economies or peoples lives.
Yes, let the people protest and overthrow their governments to their hearts content in their countries, but let’s be honest and recognise the process for what it is, take over by mob rule.
What are the lessons for marketers here?
A reminder that we need to be careful about the people or businesses with whom we form alliances. Are we sacrificing long term integrity for short term gain?
Nothing stays the same, who would have predicted the events of the last few weeks even as recently as last year.
Former allies and supporters will withdraw their support the moment the tipping point of a new movement to displace you appears to have been reached.
Certainly interesting times.
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Check it out here The 11 Forgotten Laws
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Wishing you success in all your endeavours.