Libyan oil of greater in­ter­est than peo­ple


THE CRI­SIS in Libya con­tin­ues to twist and turn each pass­ing day. It now seems that NATO are tak­ing over from the orig­i­nal “coali­tion” in the pur­suit of a rem­edy to the woes of the Libyan peo­ple who are be­ing op­pressed by Mis­ter Gadaffi. Tripoli, the cap­i­tal of Libya has been bom­barded with air as­saults nightly, ground troops are be­ing men­tioned more fre­quently each pass­ing day, and there is more and more talk about the need to re­move the dic­ta­tor Gadaffi from power as soon as pos­si­ble.

I won­der is all what it seems though. Is it re­ally the case that the Bri­tish, French and Amer­i­cans, and their sup­port­ers, are that in­ter­ested in the wel­fare of the Libyan peo­ple? Or is there some­thing else driv­ing them on in what it seems will turn into a war sooner or later.

What I'm think­ing of is of course, oil. Petrol and diesel prices have been soar­ing over the past while. It could be a case of the trou­bles in the Mid­dle East, and now North Africa too, which are driv­ing up the cost due to de­creased pro­duc­tion which is re­sult­ing from the “un­rest”. Or it could be a case that the in­ter­ven­tion of the “coali­tion forces” is be­cause of the fact that Libya has oil, and Gadaffi con­trols Libya, there­fore the re­moval of Gadaffi means eas­ier and cheaper ac­cess to oil. It's the prover­bial “chicken and egg”, which came first?

I was speak­ing to an Amer­i­can friend dur­ing the week and we were dis­cussing the events hap­pen­ing across the world. I men­tioned my sus­pi­cion that the go­ings on in Libya had as much to do with oil as it had to do with free­ing a peo­ple from op­pres­sion. The re­sponse was, “if this man is caus­ing our gas prices to in­crease, then we need to re­move him. He doesn't have a right to con­trol the oil re­sources, just be­cause they are in the coun­try he rules.”

There is a man called Elias Cha­cour, who is the Arch­bishop of Galilee and has been nom­i­nated a few times for the No­bel Peace Prize. He wrote a book chart­ing his peo­ple's story in Is­rael, from the ar­rival of the Bri­tish, their re­moval from their homes, to their strug­gle to re­gain their home­land and the sur­vival of their cul­ture. His book is called “We Be­long to The Land”. One of the strong­est themes of his book is that his peo­ple, the Pales­tini­ans, are in­grained in the land they came from, and it is in­grained in them. Their forced re­moval from that land is akin to tear­ing out their hearts.

The oil that is to be found un­der the earth in the Mid­dle East, and in Libya, be­longs to us all. The peo­ple in power in these coun­tries have con­trol over this oil, and they make money from sell­ing it to those who wish to buy it. I think it's fair to say that oil, as well as other nat­u­ral re­sources are there for the whole of hu­man­ity to ben­e­fit from.

How­ever it seems to me that we are less con­cerned about coun­tries where there isn't as much to be gained. Geno­cide has hap­pened in many coun­tries, and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity was very slow to act, to pre­vent the op­pres­sion of the peo­ple.

Yet in Libya it's dif­fer­ent. The dif­fer­ence be­ing, of course, that Libya has some­thing valu­able. It's in the world's in­ter­ests to in­ter­vene in Libya. Ro­man Abro­movich, and count­less oth­ers in other coun­tries too, have made bil­lions of Eu­ros from oil. Surely there's some­thing wrong in that, if the oil is a re­source that be­longs to us all.

But we are stew­ards of cre­ation. Mankind was cre­ated to look af­ter cre­ation. We be­long to the land; the land doesn't be­long to us. We are merely pass­ing through, ten­ants so to speak, who have the use of it for our time. We have an obli­ga­tion to look af­ter the earth that we in­her­ited from our an­ces­tors, to make sure that it is there for gen­er­a­tions to come. En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists have long been fight­ing for the pro­tec­tion of the earth. Maybe it's time we lis­tened to them more care­fully.

Rebels ad­just an anti-air­craft gun as smoke from a dam­aged oil fa­cil­ity dark­ens the sky in Ras Lanuf, Libya. Many say it is in the world’s in­ter­est to in­ter­vene in Libya.

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