A message from the pathfinders general
April 15, 2011
Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy, and satiny-jowled mafflard David Cameron have allegedly collaborated to produce an article about the future of Libya, in which “they” admit that they do not have a mandate to “remove Qaddafi by force” but, um, because it’s unthinkable and unconscionable and impossible that he remain in power, they are going to continue bombing Libya until such time as he “go[es] and go[es] for good”, which is nothing like removing him by force, is it, readers?
More interesting, perhaps, than this shameless contradiction which gaily treats the citizens of the US, France and Britain, and let’s face it the rest of the world too, as meek-eared morons, is the inspiring metaphor of a pathway to peace:
Even as we continue our military operations today to protect civilians in Libya, we are determined to look to the future. We are convinced that better times lie ahead for the people of Libya, and a pathway can be forged to achieve just that. [...] There is a pathway to peace that promises new hope for the people of Libya [...]
Is a pathway to peace a bit like a stairway to heaven? It has more alliteration (like everyone’s favourite pipes of peace) and maybe involves fewer drugs. It makes, too, for an interesting comparison with the notorious roadmap in Israel/Palestine. Whereas a roadmap is an aerial view of the whole terrain, with lots of roads and other interesting features like concrete fences or rocket silos, a pathway is a single route. I’m really feeling it from a first-person perspective, like some morose arthouse videogame. A pathway is, of course, more reliable than a mere path (which might be a garden path up which some joker is leading you). It is authoritarian (because unidirectional) and yet smirks with a complacent pretence of friendliness (it is earthy and trodden rather than industrial and macadam’d). Nonetheless the message is clear: it’s our (path)way or the highway.