By Julian Lahai Samboma
The following is the Introduction of my new book, The Dialectic & the Detective: The Arab Spring and Regime Change in Libya.
“Because it bothers me, and I couldn’t sleep. And I kept thinking about it… “ – Lieutenant Columbo, police detective
This book is not an ode to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, nor is it a lament for his passing. Despite his anti-imperialist trappings, Gaddafi was a self-serving dictator. He called himself a socialist, but stifled the self-activity of his people. He called himself a Pan-Africanist, but was a racist.
My goal in this book was to study the 2011 imperialist aggression against Libya from the perspective of a detective investigating the murder of the Libyan leader. Put simply, this is a study of naked, imperialist aggression.
So, the reader might ask, why write a book about the aggression against Libya seven years after it happened? Isn’t that ancient history?
Quite the contrary. The Libya invasion is not “ancient history”. It is our present; it is our reality, the latest in a long line of Western, imperialist meddling in the affairs of weaker nations – especially those whose leaders are seen as antithetical to the interests of empire. A study such as this is important because, as socialists and anti-imperialists, we need to know everything we can about the methods and the machinations of the imperialist beast.
Know thine enemy, as the ancient philosopher said. [i] How are you going to prepare your defences, or even pre-empt the devices of your foe, if you have no idea of their modus operandi? You couldn’t even begin to guess how or from which angle they’re going to come at you next time.
I was prompted to write this book after reaching an impasse in a script for a documentary film I wanted to make about the intervention. I realised halfway through the script that I still had not figured out how the conspiracy to invade Libya unfolded. And those were details I wanted to include in my film. Like most people on the political left, I had surmised it was a conspiracy, but where was the proof?
Was my film going to say, “We know it was a conspiracy but, sorry, we can’t prove it”? There are enough of those on YouTube already!
So, I abandoned the unfinished script to “the gnawing criticism of the mice”. That was a few years ago. But I kept thinking about it. Then recently, it dawned on me, while watching an episode of the classic Columbo detective series, that one could study the imperialist assault on Libya seven years ago as if investigating a murder – in the manner of the lovable lieutenant. He invariably knew or suspected the identity of the culprit, but was always challenged in figuring out how they did it.
And that was the exact position in which I found myself: I knew imperialism and its Libyan running dogs killed Gaddafi. But how did they do it? If I could figure that out, I reasoned, I would know how the imperialist conspiracy to effect regime change in Libya was planned and executed.
Not long after that, during the umpteenth rereading of my old copy of Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, I was suddenly thrust into another Eureka moment: Why not use the method Marx used in his study of capital to investigate the Libyan leader’s murder? Indeed, why ever not? The result, dear reader, is this book.
As I progressed with my investigation using materialist dialectics (Marx’s method) as my framework of analysis, the various elements in this conspiracy and their interconnections and interactions became increasingly clear. Using dialectical logic, I was able to prove that the conflict that unfolded in that arid North African terrain seven years ago was essentially the faithful execution of an elaborate and ultimately successful plot to murder Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Yes, you heard that right. It was, simply, a plot to kill Gaddafi.
You may or may not be surprised by this statement. If you are, then you need to read this book, to find out exactly what happened and how it happened. You will discover why everything you thought you knew about the Libya intervention was a big, fat lie. If you already knew this (or thought that you did), then you also need to read this book – to ascertain whether what you thought you knew correlates with what actually happened.
Aside from the fact that this murder conspiracy theory is the only one that is in perfect accord with the objective reality of what unfolded on the ground, treating the Western intervention in Libya as a murder plot against its then leader enables us to look at this episode of blatant imperialist aggression from a different perspective – that of a murder detective.
And the vantage point of the murder detective has paid off handsomely; combined with the methodology of materialist dialectics, we have been able to decipher exactly how the murder conspiracy unfolded, providing a unique insight into the true nature of the so-called Arab Spring and how it functioned as cover for regime change in Libya.
Remember that famous scene from the film Dead Poets Society, the one where Robin Williams’s character, Mr Keating, reveals that standing on his desk prompts him to look at things in a different way? Well, our desk in this novel study of the imperialist intervention has been the Marxian methodology of materialist dialectics. And we have – literally – been able to see what others could not see.
However, unlike the traditional murder mystery, whose goal is to unmask a dastardly killer, we already know the identities of those who committed the dastardly deed; we also have an inkling as to motive – it was to protect Western economic interests. Our task in this unfolding discourse will be to shine a spotlight on exactly how they did it.
It is now seven years after the Libyan counter-revolution, but the mechanics of that imperialist operation are still shrouded, if not in secrecy, then certainly in ignorance. This book will finally put an end to that – through the simple device of positing the intervention as a murder mystery and then attempting to solve it by using the dialectic.
In that sense The Dialectic & the Detective: The Arab Spring and Regime Change in Libya could not have come at a more opportune time.
At its most basic, the dialectical materialist methodology perceives matter as a unity of contradictory opposites in a constant state of motion; and that phenomena are interconnected and functioning parts within a larger unit or organism.
As a tool of scientific investigation, it will enable the investigator to strip away what Marx calls “the outward appearance of things” to reveal their “essence”, their inner core. [ii] Marx deployed it to very devastating effect in Das Kapital, his seminal study of capitalism. And, quite naturally, it has proved more than adequate to expose the barbarity and the skulduggery of the imperialist intervention in Libya and the subsequent murder of Muammar Gaddafi.
The Dialectic & the Detective has not conjured up any “magical secrets” out of thin air. The material contained herein – or rather, the raw data – was already in the public domain. What we have done is posed the right questions and deployed an appropriate methodology to tease out the answers; or, as the master dialectician himself, Marx, would put it, smashed the “mystical shell” in order to expose the “rational kernel”.
In the process of this dialectical investigation, we have turned the spotlight on the intricacies of a well-planned and executed conspiracy which had remained hidden these past several years.
Before the publication of this book, the common perception of the so-called Arab Spring was that it was a rebellion against domestic despotism. However, by judicious deployment of the Marxian dialectic, we have proved that it was nothing of the kind. We show in these pages that the Arab Spring was anti-imperialist in nature.
To paraphrase a well-known thinker, previous perception of the Arab Spring had it standing on its head. What we have accomplished in these pages is to stand it rightside up. And we also demonstrate in these pages that the Arab Spring was a smokescreen for the murder of Colonel Gaddafi and regime change in Libya.
These may seem like paradoxical claims, but that is only at the superficial level. Because of false consciousness and the reified appearance of phenomena, we could not crack the mystical shell. We mulled over it for several years, but it was only after finally going back to my books and studying and applying the master's method meticulously like a devoted pupil, that we were able to finally get at the rational kernel. All is revealed in these pages.
Read for yourself, and find out why the mainstream, imperialist media got it so spectacularly wrong!
One incidental bonus of reading this book is that it renders the dialectical method so accessible that even a baby could apply it to get a firmer grasp of various social or historical events and processes.
And, finally dear reader, thanks for getting the book.
* You can download your copy by following this link.
[i] The ancient Chinese general, philosopher and writer is quoted as saying: “Therefore, I say: know your enemy and know yourself, and in one hundred conflicts you will naturally prevail.”
[ii] K Marx, Capital Vol III, https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch48.htm