The BBC is facing criticism for shamelessly mocking a rendition of God Save The Queen by the Libyan army. Its gleeful tweet highlighting the “unique” performance led one observer to brand the broadcaster “wankers”.
Haha! Nobody can do it better than Brits eh? At least they made the effort, you wankers. https://t.co/plqQakfgPR
— Mr Ethical (@nw_nicholas) August 25, 2017
But as others have pointed out, these “snarky” comments aren’t the only problem with the BBC‘s coverage of Libya.
Let’s have LOLs
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has spent two days in Libya recently. It’s his second visit of the year to the country, which is now in absolute chaos due to the NATO bombing campaign in 2011. The UK, under then prime minister David Cameron, was instrumental in the military assault that left the country splintered; and a perfect playground for terrorists.
Nonetheless, the Libyan army band saw fit to entertain Johnson with the British anthem during his visit. And when sharing the rendition, the BBC told its Twitter followers, “You’ll want the sound on for this one”:
The Libyan Army band gives a unique rendition of God Save The Queen for Boris Johnson.
You'll want the sound on for this one 🔊 pic.twitter.com/M3pcONvJ3R
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) August 25, 2017
Nothing to see here
That the Libyan troops showed this level of respect to a British minister is, however, astonishing. Because not only did the UK play a leading role in NATO’s bombing of the country, it also facilitated unrest in the country while Muammar Gaddafi was in power. It reportedly allowed British Libyans to travel there freely to fight Gaddafi. But as foreign policy expert Mark Curtis noted, this awkward fact was conveniently missing from the BBC‘s reporting on Johnson’s visit:
— Mark Curtis (@markcurtis30) August 25, 2017
Having “hardline Islamists” in Libya now, however, seems to matter greatly to the UK government; as does the country’s geographical relationship to Europe. As Johnson said:
Libya is the front line for many challenges which left unchecked can pose problems for us in the UK – particularly illegal migration and the threat from terrorism…
So Johnson has announced he’s throwing £9m of British taxpayers’ money at the problem.
How very British
But despite Johnson’s financial pledge, the UK seems no closer to admitting its culpability in Libya’s present situation. In an interview with BBC Radio 4‘s Today Programme, the Foreign Secretary said that a “tragedy” has befallen the Libyan people since Gaddafi’s removal because NATO powers were “way over-optimistic” about how a post-obliteration Libya would fare. Go figure.
Until we own up to mistakes of the past, we’re destined to repeat them. And few are likely to kick up a fuss about the BBC‘s fun-loving mockery of the Libyan army’s band either if we don’t acknowledge how extraordinary it is that the army would attempt to play that song after all the UK has done.
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