While the US headlines were full of Charlie Sheen’s rants and news of labor union protests in Wisconsin,  here in the Philippines, the headlines are about our stranded OFW (overseas foreign workers) in Libya.

Every paper has photos of those who escaped arriving at the Manila airport, and the Philippine Inquirer notes that the government arranged to rescue another 1200 workers by chartering a “luxury” liner. Alas, that still  leaves quite a few behind, since the estimated number of OFW in Libya is 26 to 30 thousand workers, many of whom are stranded in central or western Libya.

China has chartered airline flights and deployed military planes and a Navy frigate to rescue their 30 000 workers from that land, but several thousand remain there.

In the meanwhile, the UN has declared an emergency, noting that 100 thousand civilians from various Asian countries are still stranded there.

From the Manila Bulletin.

Diplomats said more than 100,000 Asian workers are believed to be stranded in the fighting around Moamer Khadafy’s clampdown. About 26,000 people from the Philippines, 25,000 from Thailand, more than 50,000 Bangladeshis, 18,000 Indians and thousands from China, Nepal and Vietnam are still trapped.

In past humanitarian disasters, the US has intervened. Reagan invaded Granada to rescue trapped US medical students, Bush 41 invaded Panama after attacks on US civilians there, and even President Clinton intervened to save Kosovo from disaster and bombed Serbia to stop the bloody European war that Europe had watched for years under their noses.

So who helps the Asians? The UN?

The fact that the UN Human Rights council announced Libya was getting an award for their wonderful Human Rights record only a month before they threw Libya off of the UN’s “Human Rights” council and agreed to send him a “nasty letter” of protest shows the problem.


Alas, after years of constant criticism and demonization of the US intervention anywhere (especially after they removed mass murderer Saddam Hussein) by the international left, most normal Americans feel like the father in the movie “The Incredibles”: instead of thanks, all the super heroes got was threats of punishment and ridicule, so they are ready to say the heck with it, and retire.

But the really bad news is that one doubts that the present US president has the cojones to start a war that might upset his “base”, i.e. “MoveOn and their friends. Let’s face it. The real “enemies” of America, in their eyes, are the “teaparty” movement by the evil “Koch” brothers who are threatening to destroy unions for the fun of it and impose a theocracy on the US.

But the rabid left in America isn’t alone in rewriting and spinning every American intervention as “evil”. Anti Americanism is only sleeping in Europe, and one has to remember that much of the Arab language press is funded by the very dictators who are being protested by their people.

Hatred and ideology indeed triumphs the lives of the innocent, as this article in the trumpet of the European left, the UK Guardian, insists:

Intervention in Libya would poison the Arab revolution-Western military action against Gaddafi risks spreading the conflict and undermining the democratic movement

Of course, having billions of dollars in the bank so that you can hire African mercenaries to shoot your own people also is a fairly good way to undermine the democratic movement in Libya, but never mind. It’s okay in the UKGuardian’s eyes for dictators like Khadafi to kill, because then they blame these deaths on Tony Blair and Cameron.

Another dirty little secret is that, despite all the stories that the protests  are about unemployment for young men in the Middle East, the dirty little secret is that foreigners do a lot of the skilled work and the dirty work in many of these oil rich Arab countries.

MSNBC notes that there could easily be a food shortage since many of the farm workers and agricultural processing plants are run by Egyptians and Syrians, and many are now stranded and unable to work. The Chinese and Filipinos tend to work in transportation, oil, and telecom industries, and so many of them have left with help of their employers.

But the logistics of getting out 100 000 foreign workers, some in remoter areas, remains.

However, the good news is that the USS Ponce and USS Kersarge, along with 400 Marines, are on their way. So the Marines to the rescue: help is on the way.

Or are they? From the WAPOST:

Gates noted that the U.N. Security Council had not authorized military intervention in Libya and that NATO was also divided on the subject. He also suggested that such a military campaign could drain U.S. forces away from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Uh, Clinton didn’t wait for the UN or the Europeans to “approve” of stopping a Kosovo genocide, and if the war was officially done under the guise of “NATO”, most Americans knew it was really President Clinton who insisted that they stop the killing (and if the war distracted people from the Lewinsky scandal, so much the better).

But when it comes to the UN: Since when does the US ask the impotent UN to approve of intervention? The massacres of Rwanda and Bosnia, the starvation/disease deaths in the Southen Sudan and Dafur, and the Central Congo wars, the Burmese hurricane deaths and other civilian humanitarian disasters have occurred either because the UN refused to intervene in “internal” affairs or because their “peacekeepers” were unable or unwilling to intervene.

Reality check, please. A nasty letter isn’t exactly scary to a dictator who has long sponsored terrorism until Reagan bombed his tent, and only got rid of his nukes when he thought he was next in the gunsite of a certain Texan.

But Gates reveals the real reason that Obama won’t help the poorly equipped Libyan rebels from being killed by Ukrainian trained African mercenaries, and won’t intervene to rescue the estimated 100 thousand Asians are in peril.

“We also have to think about frankly the use of the U.S. military in another country in the Middle East,” he told reporters at a news conference. “So we are sensitive about all these things.”


Hillary was right. When the phone rings at 3 am with an emergency, you don’t want a Mr. Sensitive to answer.

Alas, if Hillary or Mc Cain were running the US, one suspects just a soft word would be enough to encourage Khadaffi and his Ukrainian bimbo to decide retirement in Malaysia sounds like a good idea.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She blogs at Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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