Libya: Imposing Western Democracy on the Middle East

Date: Thursday, 29 Mar 2012 6:30pm to 7:30pm
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Christ Church: Master’s Garden Marquee


Lindsey HilsumChris Doyle and Patrick Jephson.

Chaired by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Libya: Imposing Western Democracy on the Middle East

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For four decades Gaddafi was absolute ruler of Libya, a country where basic civil liberties were virtually nonexistent, and opposition not tolerated. In recent years, he sought a more open relationship with the countries of the West, touring Europe with his troop of female bodyguards and receiving Tony Blair and other world leaders in his tent. But despite indulging the British and French, the Arab world’s most bizarre dictator was brought down by his own people with the aid of NATO aircraft.

Are we the West hypocritical, motivated by economic and strategic considerations rather than human rights? What does the West do next? Should we try to impose Western democracy in Libya and other Arab countries? Will we stand ready to condemn any human rights violations by the new leadership, regardless of our interests?

These and other questions will be discussed by Lindsey Hilsum, author ofSandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution and Channel 4 News’ international editor, who reported from Alexandria and Cairo on the uprising in Egypt, and from Libya on the 2011 revolt, Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, who has travelled to nearly every country in the Middle East, and by Patrick Jephson, an editor, broadcaster and New York Times bestselling author whose latest book, an introduction to Azerbaijan, is to be published later this year. The discussion is chaired by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, author, columnist and broadcaster.