A View from the Villa

29 October 2011

Dear Avnery, and the other friends of Gush Shalom,

I am a constant reader of your comments on the Middle East events, and a supporter of the Palestinian rights (all the rights, including the return of those expelled from their land in 1947-48) and liberation, and of all the Israelis who stand for this struggle. For this very reason, I cannot accept some of the historical mistakes evident in Uri's article on Gaddafi killing, "A View from the Villa". I will just list them briefly:
1) Avnery writes: "When the partisans caught the fleeing Benito Mussolini, he pleaded piteously for his life, but they killed him on the spot together with his mistress. Their bodies were thrown into the street, kicked and spat upon by the crowd, and then hanged by their feet from meat hooks from the roof of a gas station, where the public threw stones at them for days on end. I don’t remember anybody in civilized Europe protesting". This is incorrect. Months before his capture, Mussolini had  been put under trial by the Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale, the provisory, underground government set up by the Resistence in the nazi-occupied Italy. He was condemned for war crimes, and according to the sentence was executed when captured by the partisans while trying to escape to Switzerland with a couple of trucks laden with the gold marriage rings of the Italians. The war crimes of Mussolini and his associates, the support to the nazi occupiers, including being accomplice in torture and killings, were proven beyond any doubt by overwhelming evidence. I was living in this Country in  those days, and those events were part of our life. This is now part of the history, and can be found in reliable text books, written by a large number of historians.

2) Avnery writes:"There can be no doubt any more that the vast majority of the Libyan people detested Gaddafi and welcomed the NATO campaign that helped to remove him. It was an important contribution, but the actual heavy fighting was done by the ragtag people’s army. Libya liberated itself. Even in Tripoli, it was the people who put an end to the tyranny." No Uri: the vast majority has not been consulted yet, much less before the NATO attack. So, we must wait for a free  expression of the Lybian people's will, and research with more rigorous methods the history of Lybia after World War II. What is true beyond any doubt, is that the NATO attack, which determined the military "victory" of the NATO supported Lybian rebels, caused the massacre of several thousands Lybians ( the exact number has still to be determined, if ever it will be), and the war ( NATO airplanes and the anti-Gaddafi army) carried out also the atrocious killing of many immigrant workers from several African countries, many of them defined,  with no evidence, as "Gaddafi mercenaries". Personally, I have no doubt that the leaders of  the NATO powers involved in the attack: Barrack Obama, Cameron, Sarkosy and the ridiculous Berlusconi are responsible for these massacres, and should be put on trial for war crimes. So should be the military down the hierarchy of command, till the pilots on the fighter planes, and those sitting comfortably in front of a computer driving the drones to their dirty work in a faraway country, merciless for the women, children and men of Lybia. Didn't we agree, at the time of the Eichmann process in Tel Aviv, that the man who obeys criminal orders from a monstrous authority is himself a criminal? On this basis, Eichmann was condemned, in spite of the fact that he declared that he only obeyed the orders of his Fürher.
 I know that it is not always easy to have real human courage: but we must make serious attempts at it, if we want to have a chance to live in a better world. So the Israelis should stop obeying the orders of their present fascist government, and stop oppressing the Palestinians in the cruel way they do, as you (and many other Israelis as well), correctly state in your writings. I have the highest admiration for those Israelis who oppose the 64 years-long Israeli policy of occupation and oppression of the Palestinians. And I see the Refusenicks as the representative of the modern stance in favor of ethics against the obedience to oppressive and injust authorities, who usually speak in the  "sacred name" of the Fatherland idol, the Nation. There have been too few examples, in the tragic history of the last 100 years, of such human courage ( starting with the rebellion of the Russian navy sailors of the Black See fleet of 1905, which you certainly remember in the images of the famous Eisenstein movie): it is time that we start a drive to a new conception of human relations. Israel is a most crucial point in this difficult enterprise.
3) Avnery says:THE OBAMA administration was clever enough to jump on the bandwagon of the Arab revolutions, though at the very last moment. We Israelis did not have this sense. Our Islamophobia has caused us to miss a golden opportunity for a new image among the young Arab revolutionaries.
Unfortunately, Obama did not jump on that bandwagon: the evidence is that, while Obama accepted ( as the minor evil) the expulsion of Mubarak, who by the way is over 90, the USA policy ( "inspired" by Israel) seems to be to support the military dictatorship in Egypt with minor concessions to the "revolution", such as a change of the language to accomodate some of the most popular expressions of a "historical change" in Egyptian society. The very hearth of the matter is the stability of the pro Israel orientation of the Egyptian military government, which is insured by the continuity of the military rule in politics as well as in economy ( the military in Egypt owns a large part of the big firms). The workers rebellion, if strong and continued, will probably endanger such stability, which the USA administration is trying to insure according to the will of the Israeli government.

Best regards,

Giorgio Forti,
Member of the network Ebrei Contro l'Occupazione ( Jews Against the Occupation)