Something must have happened to jolt me out of my long hibernation from this column. Every one needs a rest from his labours at some point, and I thought this was my time to take a permanent rest from Beefs, which has been running since mid-1988. But well, as we say in Ghana, "man proposes, God disposes". So here I am, dear friends. Beefs is back!
The year 2011 is only four months old but the events and catastrophes that have happened around the world in these four short months make 2011 looks like it is already a decade old. From the apocalyptic floods in Queensland, Australia; to the calamitous rains and mudslides in Brazil; to the political revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and the protests that have convulsed the Arab world, most notably in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen; to the peaceful division of Sudan in a referendum; to the catastrophic earthquakes and tsunami in Japan; to the political unrest in Cote d'lvoire, these events have been so tightly packed and so numerous that in the mind's eye 2011 appears to be already 10 years old or more. If it continues to go this way, we should all gird our loins, for the remaining 8 months of 2011 could be a killer. What a year!
While the convulsive first four months of 2011 were wreaking havoc, the might of the powerful countries was being asserted in ways that, if not checked, will make the future of our world even more unsafe than we've known it in the recent past. Already the follies of the Bush and Blair years have ensured that, bar taking off our trousers and skirts at airports to allow the security staff to inspect our natural endowments, air travel has become so traumatic that one of these days they might ask us to go through airport security stark naked. Remember the new invasive body-scanning machines installed at some airports in the West that give some airport security staff the freedom to have a peep-show of the accoutrements of unfortunate passengers who happen to be picked at random to go through the machines. They made me go through one last October at Heathrow Terminal Four, and what natural blessings they might have seen from this son of Kwame Nkrumah's country where men are still men and women women.
It is thus of great concern that the countries of Bush and Blair and latterly of Sarkozy and Cameron - and their allies and "coalition" partners - are not learning any lessons and continue to behave to type. As Joseph Pierre Belloc, the Anglo-French writer, asserted a century ago, "whatever happens, we have the Maxim gun and they have not." Because they have stockpiled their big guns and have used bully tactics to stop others from having their own stockpiles, they are so puffed up with the idea of "might is power" that they think they can do whatever they want, by misusing a UN Security Council that they control, via Resolutions that they write and cajole supine "temporary" (as against "permanent") members of the Council to vote for.
Have you noticed how these days the government they don't like suddenly becomes a "regime". Gathafi's regime. Mugabe's regime. Mubarak's regime. Ben Ali's regime. Regime forces. The Libyan rebels. Since when did "rebels" become so glorious that news reports are written from their point of view? In short, "regime" has become a term of insult, meaning an "illegitimate government" that the powerful countries don't like, even though only yesterday they called it "the government of Libya", "the government of Zimbabwe", "the government of Egypt", "the government of Tunisia". Haba, how far can one take hypocrisy and cynicism? Do these people ever look at themselves in the mirror before they step out each morning? And nothing smites their consciences?
Now let me come to the point. I have watched with dismay in the past three months how an upstart four-word term, "the people of Libya", is taking the shine off our favourite word "regime". So who are "the people of Libya"? …