By Muhammad Al-Ghazali 

The late president was viewed as a ‘hardliner’ in the West. It is a term they use to distinguish between patriotic leaders of nations and compliant simpletons in the mould of Mobutu ever willing to do the bidding of their Western oppressors.

World history teaches us that those leaders we can classify in the ‘patriotic’ category all perished under tragic and often controversial circumstances, and in the developing world, the list is quite long.

They include the late Patrick Lumumba of Congo, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, who died years after his overthrow; Samora Michaels of Mozambique, whose aircraft crashed in mysterious circumstances in apartheid South Africa.

Others include the late Amilcar Cabral who fought against the Portuguese colonial authorities in Guinea Bissau and, of course, our very own General Murtala Muhammad who was violently killed in a coup in 1976 barely few months after delivering his famous “Africa Has Come Of Age” speech at an OAU conference in Adis Ababa in which he pushed back at American and Western dictates in our support for the liberation struggles in Southern Africa at the time.

The violent regime change in Libya and the brutal murder of Gaddafi was also conceived and boldly executed from the cosy confines of the same Western capitals, and they didn’t even bother to hide it in his case. Today, with the raging anarchy in the country, it is easy to identify the principal beneficiaries of the dubious regime change they actively craved in Libya using their hopelessly discredited slogans of freedom and democracy as the tagin Gaza crisis has crudely exposed.

Before Libya, recently declassified documents also shamelessly revealed how the CIA sponsored the military coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in 1973 only so that the brutal dictator General Augustus Pinochet could take over the government during the Cold War.

Today, as the rest of the civilized world join the Iranian people in mourning their beloved president, history also suggests that we may have to wait another fifty years before the exact circumstances in which his helicopter crashed can be revealed through another set of “declassified” documents from the West.

The fact that we may have to wait half a century to know the truth is indicative of the sort of world we live in.

While many nations have rushed to express their solidarity with the Iranians if not their government since news of the tragic incident broke, Washington and London merely put out surreptitious statements to say that they were still ‘studying’ reports of the crash.

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