This short article is just to share few considerations on social change, based on observing current events- of course, the focus is on Libya.
Somebody could say: who are you to write about this subject? My reply? An ordinary citizen who did spend few decades studying organizations and societies to be able to give a better service on cultural, organizational, or technological change to his customers.
The main motivation? We keep talking about cyber this and cyber that, global terrorism, etc- but most of the human losses and sufferance are inflicted by ordinary, land-based conflicts, as shown by the constant stream of appeals from the UNHCR.
And, beside the local impact of any conflict, this usually generates a domino effect on neighboring countries, overloading often already scarce resources.
The last few years saw few strict dictatorships fall due thank to external military interventions- and I am obviously referring to Iraq and now Libya, both born out of a military coup.
From our unique perspective, we always look for a quick, technological or financial solution: something that might work where all the basic tenets required to implement our plans exist but, as I saw also often in business or technological changes, if you ignore what is really available on the terrain, you risk building just a “Potemkin village”- while reality keeps going on.
As an example, just consider what the loss of the revenue produced in Libya did to the communities where the immigrant workers were coming from, or the hundreds of thousands who ended up in Egypt, both Egyptians previously working in Libya and foreigners or Libyans running away from the war.
This week, as part of my experimental changes on TAD, my worldwide news review format (3 articles or threads a day, picking up news from about half a dozen newspapers around the globe), I ended up looking to more and more articles talking about the usual question: “and now, what”- and decided to keep simply posting daily relevant articles (on @aleph123 and on Facebook (sometimes on Facebook I added also short comments- this article derives from one of those comments).
I remember that when I started working in late 1980s I was told in FIAT by a manager “you learn everything from your green booklets (the company’s training units had a green cover), like the guy in Libya” (Libya’s investment fund had been a FIAT shareholder).
He usually added something that could be translated into “drones” or “zealots”.
But a corporation, training staff from scratch, aims to efficiency and cultural homogeneity- and, despite some valiant attempts and various “new age” change initiatives, often the cultural homogeneity is stretched a little bit to far- echoing an old song from Peter Gabriel “One voice, one truth”, generating a tunnel vision (usually the wake up call comes from a competitor or the market).
Libya was managed more like a (personal) company than a country- up to the investment of State assets (still frozen, e.g. the quota in Unicredit, a major Italian bank; albeit the WSJ reported on activities to try releasing those assets to the new Libyan government), and the appointment of his childrens and relatives/tribe members to critical positions (as Saddam Hussein had done in Iraq).
Before you ask: no, I will not name the almost-deposed dictator- I will wait.
Everybody is now calling for a quiet transition: but, after 40 years of brainwashing, the reaction could be akin to opening a Pandora’s box.
As the new ruling group, and/or the NTC, said, we from NATO countries were welcome to support them by bombing the dictator’s forces and mercenaries, but more than once, when they seemed to be winning, they invited us to pack and leave.
While we could support the integration within the international community through economic and technical cooperation, probably thinking again to the potential side-effects in the region would be helped by re-reading (as I did this morning) few articles and chapters from the UN Charter.
I am referring to the concept that the purpose of the UN is to ensure and keep peace, and that regional arrangements might be useful to this end, while self-determination should be a guiding light for any “trustee” or other entity administering a territory.
As I said at the beginning: those of us living in the peaceful West are so obsessed with “cyber” or “sneaky” threats, that the concept of a war and its social unrest spilling across the borders has become a remote memory.
Look at the numbers involved in the movements from Libya and Tunisia to Egypt and those moving to the EU shores, and you will see how what seems to be the Apocalypse for us is a minimal fraction of what is really happening.
Some countries in the Middle East are already working to reduce the risk of an implosion or continued unrest in Libya, and while NATO is de facto becoming a subsidiary army of the UN, and its members have experience in rebuilding countries, a stronger integration with local, regional agreements or “catalysts” would help to build what 40 years of brainwashing never let develop: the political, organizational, and social humus needed to help self-determination develop in Libya.
Or: another application of thinking globally, acting locally.