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Political correctness on the silver screen

When censorship becomes ridiculous.

Paul Kindlon

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More and more people are using the term ‘whitewashing’ to describe the practice of casting white
actors as non-white characters. Initially the criticism made sense. For example, Othello really
should be a black actor not some bloke in dark face especially nowadays when there is an
excess of highly-gifted black actors.

Despite his brilliance, I was aghast years ago watching Sir Lawrence Olivier portray the bard’s character on film. It was a travesty and just plain wrong on so many levels. But there are many cases when it simply doesn’t matter what the ethnicity of the actor is because it is not relevant. Case in point… If you follow news about the entertainment industry or are simply a film buff you probably ran
across the following story recently:

“British actor Ed Skrein has pulled out of a role in the upcoming Hellboy reboot after a backlash
because he was cast as a character of Asian heritage.” This is courtesy of BBC. Just think about that for a minute. An actor has decided not to portray a character because he is not of the same ethnic heritage as a comic-book character. This is a slippery PC slope. Very slippery.

For if we are consistent in our belief (and logic) then it only follows that the role of Hamlet should never again be portrayed by a British actor because Hamlet was Danish. All of the historical plays and movies about the Romans must have Italians and not Shakespearean actors from Britain. Caesar must be Italian. Romeo and Juliet also. Nothing against Italian actors, but shouldn’t directors choose actors based upon talent and not ethnicity if the ethnicity is not an obvious requirement for the story?
This is PC overreach and it borders on outright lunacy.

Let’s be absolutely clear…

We are not talking about real-life people being portrayed here. The film Hellboy is based on a
fictional superhero created by writer-artist Mike Mignola. The characters in the film are simply
comic- book figures! Are we to ban further Star Trek re-makes until someone who is actually
half human and half Vulcan can be found to play the part of Spock?

Likewise no further movies about Superman should be produced until and when contact is made
with an alien civilization for as everyone knows “Clark Kent” was not a human being, but a
visitor from far away in the cosmos. Hopefully aliens will have developed their own civilization to the point where acting is an integral and advanced part of their culture.

Shall we ride this PC train all the way? Then the next time a film is made about Jesus Christ – as
a cultured man with modern sensibilities – I demand the real thing – the son of God Himself.
And when miracles are performed the studios won’t need any special effects. Think of the
money they’ll save.

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Helga Fellay
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Helga Fellay

what a silly article. The author seems to want to continue racism in Hollywood which runs rampant. The roles to play Black characters should go to Black actors, and the roles of Asian characters should go to Asian actors, and so forth. This is not over the top political correctness, it simply is the right thing to do. There are more than plenty of examples of ridiculous political correctness the author could have chosen, but this is not one of them.

Rastislav Veľká Morava
Member
Rastislav Veľká Morava

Why doesn’t this work the other way where you have white characters going to black actors, like in the many Marvel movies?

Why the double standard?

Helga Fellay
Guest
Helga Fellay

Actually there are a few enlightened and creative thinkers in Hollywood who have given roles written for men to women (if I recall correctly, Demi Moore’s role in A Few Good Men was actually written for a man). If it hasn’t happened yet, I am sure that eventually it will happen that a white character, unless race is of the essence for the plot, will be played by men of another ethnicity. Keep in mind that Hollywood is not leading in the Zeitgeist, and is lagging way behind the prevailing culture when it comes to enlightenment and creativity. Hollywood is… Read more »

Rastislav Veľká Morava
Member
Rastislav Veľká Morava

It has happened to predominately and long established Caucasian characters in the Marvel Comics, now in the Marvel Movies, such as Col. Nick Fury, The Kingpin, Ned Leeds, etc.

And now it is not proper for a Caucasian to play an Asian American?

I wonder how you do not see the hypocrisy (and therefore an alternate agenda) in these actions.

Helga Fellay
Guest
Helga Fellay

I have never read comics in my life and have no idea to what you are referring. Highly talented Asian actors are sitting around unemployed in Hollywood, and when the very rare opportunity of playing an Asian character comes along, that character should be played by one of the many underemployed or unemployed Asian actors. That’s the right thing to do. Your own personal sentimental fantasy attachments of white guys playing Asians in comics are your own personal issues – adjustments you have to make – grow up and deal with it!

Rastislav Veľká Morava
Member
Rastislav Veľká Morava

I listed the names, that you can simply google, instead of having no idea to what I am referring to.

According to you, proving hypocrisy by pointing out specific double standards is an adjustment that I need to make, by growing up and dealing with it.

Hmm? I didn’t know that hypocrisy by employing double standards can be cured that way? Thank you for that:)

Isabella Jones
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Isabella Jones

A movie isn’t a piece of socially responsible equal rights activity. It’s to make money in the first instance, and to mind manipulate via CIA and Pentagon operatives, in the second. There should be total freedom to cast whomever the director wants. If he wants to cast a blackened white man to play a leader of black uprising in Hawaii, he should be able to. The fact that everyone will laugh at the movie, give it a thumbs down, and he’ll lose money and status will be his just reward!!! And if he doesn’t, and it’s a success, well, it… Read more »

Seán Murphy
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Seán Murphy

I always laugh when I see obviously Caucasian actors playing “Indians” in Western movies. Most of these old Westerns, up until the sixties, featured white actors in such roles. One badly miscast was Burt Lancaster as an “Indian Chief”. And can anyone forget John Wayne as the Roman centurion, with his drawling American accent saying, “He was truly the son of gad”. Before any pedant attacks me, I know this latter was not a Western.

Manimal
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Manimal

And John Wayne in “The conqueror”? 🙂

Daisy Adler
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Daisy Adler

Why?
Marlon Brando playing a Japanese in “The Teahouse of the August Moon” was quite a performance. Couldn’t recognize him almost to the movie’s end.comment imagecomment image

Isabella Jones
Guest
Isabella Jones

We have to remember that much of Hollywood casting is done purely with an eye to the box office. Simply put, if you can get Tom Cruise – who will pull in a huge audience, thus increase your ratings and takings – why would you give his part to someone who is, yes, more “racially” appropriate, but perhaps lacking his high name and presence. Even perhaps a racially appropriate someone never heard of – knowing it will lose you audience appeal and thus money?? Hollywood is all about CIA and Pentagon propaganda, and money, and mind manipulation. Racism has nothing… Read more »

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

“Othello really should be a black actor” Why? William Shakespeare’s character Othello is described as “Moor”. The Moors or Berbers were the ancient population of the actual Morocco, who were not black. Peter Ackroyd, author of Shakespeare’ Biography, wrote, “It is a mistake to consider Othello to be of African or West Indian origin. He was of Moorish stock, olive-skinned, and Shakespeare portrays him as ‘black’ or “swarthy” for the purposes of theatrical emphasis and symbolism.” It is believed that the ambassador ben Messaoud of the Moroccan king at the court of Queen Elisabeth I of England, inspired the character… Read more »

Helga Fellay
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Helga Fellay

You are absolutely correct. Othello was a North African, Arab or Berber, of olive complexion, and probably very handsome. As the English of Shakespeare’s time favored fair skin over darker tones, they would have considered him less handsome. But in order for the plot to make sense, Othello had to be perceived as ugly, so they decided to make him coal black. Othello doubted Desdemona’s love for him because how could such a beautiful woman love him, the ugly Moor? The concept of racism did not as yet exist at that time. That’s why the play Othello is somewhat problematic… Read more »

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

I don’ recall from Shakespeare’s play that Othello was described as ugly. On the contrary, as a very manly, proud and victorious general, fighting for the glory of Venice. From my childhood favorite book, ‘Tales from Shakespeare’, by Charles and Mary Lamb: “the noble Moor wanted nothing which might recommend him to the affections of the greatest lady. He was a soldier, and a brave one; and by his conduct in bloody wars against the Turks, had risen to the rank of general in the Venetian service, and was esteemed and trusted by the state.” Her father loved me; oft… Read more »

Helga Fellay
Guest
Helga Fellay

Of course Othello was not described as “ugly.” I think he was described as dark and swarthy, which translates to the audience of the time as not attractive. The entire plot makes no sense if you can’t accept that basic premise. Othello would never had doubted his devoted and loving wife unless he had accepted that he, a dark and swarthy man, could never really be loved by that beautiful woman. Don’t you get that?

Odidi
Guest
Odidi

LOL this buffoonery continues I am in stitches! You all think you are so intellectual but this says intellectually challenged,

englishvinal
Guest
englishvinal

Go away! You are ill educated and arrogant…what a disgusting combination.
Take a hike, read a book, educate yourself.

Edmund burke326
Guest
Edmund burke326

The original inhabitants of northern Africa looked as the Tawergha and other native tribes today in Libya and throughout the north of Africa, they were not Arabs (who are invaders to Africa). Berbers and other tribes, after the invasions by the Arabs, either moved down to eastern Africa (though not entirely) or were wiped out or enslaved. The west has always supported the narrative that northern Africa is Arab territory. Theresa May can’t get enough Arab money. The West Indies is a colonial creation populated by people of various ethnicities including African, British, European and Asian on numerous islands, it’s… Read more »

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

Morocco Ambassador to Great Britain in the 17th century:comment image

Odidi
Guest
Odidi

No they were not. You are imaging your entire ignorant racist rant. Why people like you even dare to humiliate yourself by actually making it public is beyond me. The Duran is not a space for this kind of juvenile stupidity. Use the internet for more than propagating your hate and actually research and learn something besides affirming duplicitous inferiority complex. Clearly Africans are only the colour black to you. LOL what buffoonery, I’d be embarrassed

englishvinal
Guest
englishvinal

Good heavens Odidi… You wouldn’t have some kind of “dark skin” would you?…’
Read some history just for the fun of it…Daisy is correct, regarding Shakespeare writing about Othello…. You have just made a racist fool of yourself!

Punisher 1
Guest
Punisher 1

They did something like that in the Hollow Crown. Where they had black actors play a Queen of England. And a high noble warrior relative of a King.They did a great job in acting the parts.No complaints about that. But it was so historically inaccurate that it badly deflected from those parts in the movie. But there is another point involved. That is done for PC reasons involving European or European American people. It would never be turned around. Can anyone imagine the horror and fury unleashed if a studio was to announce a movie on the life of Mandela… Read more »

Aleksandar Tomić
Guest
Aleksandar Tomić

Alright then, i want for Idris Elba to stop playing Heimdall in MCU.

Christinamellis
Guest
Christinamellis

Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family!!!
On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
>>>http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash320TopValue/GetPay$97/Hour………

Manimal
Guest
Manimal

Why? Just a Norse guy who spent too much time in the sun… 😉

Rastislav Veľká Morava
Member
Rastislav Veľká Morava

Don’t you dare joke about it:) Those indoctrinated the West take things literally and do not seem to understand the concept of irony.

Manimal
Guest
Manimal

Good :-).
I like them pissed off.

Le Ruse
Guest
Le Ruse

Political correctness, is virus, that’s killing the mankind &… Womankind as well, of course ??..comment image

Odidi
Guest
Odidi

This article/opinion is amateurish and juvenile. The Duran can and does do so much better than this waste of space. There are far too many Asian actors were overlooked for the role and smacks of laziness, ignorance just bigotry. Don’t claim authenticity and professional standards if every role is gonna be played by a Caucasian Anglo-Saxon including female roles! Yes its a whitewash and to Le Ruse. I’d like to see the day you conceive and give birth to life. Womankind is the only reason there is mankind. The Duran can do so much better than this please!

Rastislav Veľká Morava
Member
Rastislav Veľká Morava

The Duran are doing better since inception, and continue to do so.

Odidi
Guest
Odidi

Thats is what I said in my first dentence
But this article is racist buffoonery, in my opinion, an error.Mistakes happen even to the. Best intentioned. Ye of blind faith “Question More”

Rastislav Veľká Morava
Member
Rastislav Veľká Morava

Uhh, no.

englishvinal
Guest
englishvinal

Go away!

Odidi
Guest
Odidi

Not a chance!
The Duran is of a better pedigree than this and I am a loyal follower who does not take to juvenile petulance as expressed by you. You stand down!

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Major Syrian Army Assault On Southeast Idlib As Sochi Deal Unravels

Though the Syrian war has grown cold in terms of international spotlight and media interest since September, it is likely again going to ramp up dramatically over the next few months. 

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Via Zerohedge


The Syrian Army unleashed a major assault across the southeastern part of Idlib province on Saturday, a military source told Middle East news site Al-Masdar in a breaking report. According to the source, government forces pounded jihadist defenses across the southeast Idlib axis with a plethora of artillery shells and surface-to-surface missiles.

This latest exchange between the Syrian military and jihadist rebels comes as the Sochi Agreement falls apart in northwestern Syria, and in response to a Friday attack by jihadists which killed 22 Syrian soldiers near a planned buffer zone around the country’s last major anti-Assad and al-Qaeda held region. The jihadist strikes resulted in the highest number of casualties for the army since the Sochi Agreement was established on September 17th.

Though the Syrian war has grown cold in terms of international spotlight and media interest since September, it is likely again going to ramp up dramatically over the next few months.

The Al-Masdar source said the primary targets for the Syrian Army were the trenches and military posts for Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in the towns of Al-Taman’ah, Khuwayn, Babulin, Haish, Jarjanaz, Um Jalal, and Mashirfah Shmaliyah. In retaliation for the Syrian Army assault, the jihadist rebels began shelling the government towns of Ma’an, Um Hariteen, and ‘Atshan.

Damascus has been critical of the Sochi deal from the start as it’s criticized Turkey’s role in the Russian-brokered ceasefire plan, especially as a proposed ‘de-militarized’ zone has failed due to jihadist insurgents still holding around 70% of the planned buffer area which they were supposed to withdraw from by mid-October. Sporadic clashes have rocked the “buffer zone” since.

Russia itself recently acknowledged the on the ground failure of the Sochi agreement even as parties officially cling to it. During a Thursday press briefing by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova admitted the following:

We have to state that the real disengagement in Idlib has not been achieved despite Turkey’s continuing efforts to live up to its commitments under the Russian-Turkish Memorandum of September 17.

This followed Russia also recently condemning  “sporadic clashes” and “provocations” by the jihadist group HTS (the main al-Qaeda presence) in Idlib.

Likely due to Moscow seeing the writing on the wall that all-out fighting and a full assault by government forces on Idlib will soon resume, Russian naval forces continued a show of force in the Mediterranean this week.

Russian military and naval officials announced Friday that its warships held extensive anti-submarine warfare drills in the Mediterranean. Specifically the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s frigates Admiral Makarov and Admiral Essen conducted the exercise in tandem with deck-based helicopters near Syrian coastal waters.

Notably, according to TASS, the warships central to the drill are “armed with eight launchers of Kalibr-NK cruise missiles that are capable of striking surface, coastal and underwater targets at a distance of up to 2,600 km.”

Since September when what was gearing up to be a major Syrian-Russian assault on Idlib was called off through the Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement, possibly in avoidance of the stated threat that American forces would intervene in defense of the al-Qaeda insurgent held province (also claiming to have intelligence of an impending government “chemical attack”), the war has largely taken a back-burner in the media and public consciousness.

But as sporadic fighting between jihadists and Syrian government forces is reignited and fast turning into major offensive operations by government forces, the war could once again be thrust back into the media spotlight as ground zero for a great power confrontation between Moscow and Washington.

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Trump Quietly Orders Elimination of Assange

The destruction of Assange has clearly been arranged for, at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, just as the destruction of Jamal Khashoggi was by Saudi Arabia’s Government.

Eric Zuesse

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On June 28th, the Washington Examiner headlined “Pence pressed Ecuadorian president on country’s protection of Julian Assange” and reported that “Vice President Mike Pence discussed the asylum status of Julian Assange during a meeting with Ecuador’s leader on Thursday, following pressure from Senate Democrats who have voiced concerns over the country’s protection of the WikiLeaks founder.” Pence had been given this assignment by U.S. President Donald Trump. The following day, the Examiner bannered “Mike Pence raises Julian Assange case with Ecuadorean president, White House confirms” and reported that the White House had told the newspaper, “They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward.”

On August 24th, a court-filing by Kellen S. Dwyer, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia, stated: “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure [than sealing the case, hiding it from the public] is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged. … This motion and the proposed order would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.” That filing was discovered by Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. On November 15th, he posted an excerpt of it on Twitter, just hours after the Wall Street Journal had reported on the same day that the Justice Department was preparing to prosecute Assange. However, now that we know “the fact that Assange has been charged” and that the U.S. Government is simply waiting “until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter,” it is clear and public that the arrangements which were secretly made between Trump’s agent Pence and the current President of Ecuador are expected to deliver Assange into U.S. custody for criminal prosecution, if Assange doesn’t die at the Ecuadorean Embassy first.

On November 3rd (which, of course, preceded the disclosures on November 15th), Julian Assange’s mother, Christine Ann Hawkins, described in detail what has happened to her son since the time of Pence’s meeting with Ecuador’s President. She said:

He is, right now, alone, sick, in pain, silenced in solitary confinement, cut off from all contact, and being tortured in the heart of London. … He has been detained nearly eight years, without trial, without charge. For the past six years, the UK Government has refused his requests to exit for basic health needs, … [even for] vitamin D. … As a result, his health has seriously deteriorated. … A slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes. … They will stop at nothing. … When U.S. Vice President Mike Pence recently visited Ecuador, a deal was done to hand Julian over to the U.S. He said that because the political cost of expelling Julian from the Embassy was too high, the plan was to break him down mentally…   to such a point that he will break and be forced to leave. … The extradition warrant is held in secret, four prosecutors but no defense, and no judge, … without a prima-facie case. [Under the U.S. system, the result nonetheless can be] indefinite detention without trial. Julian could be held in Guantanamo Bay and tortured, sentenced to 45 years in a maximum security prison, or face the death penalty,” for “espionage,” in such secret proceedings.

Her phrase, “because the political cost of expelling Julian from the Embassy was too high” refers to the worry that this new President of Ecuador has, of his cooperating with the U.S. regime’s demands and thereby basically ceding sovereignty to those foreigners (the rulers of the U.S.), regarding the Ecuadorian citizen, Assange.

This conservative new President of Ecuador, who has replaced the progressive President who had granted Assange protection, is obviously doing all that he can to comply with U.S. President Trump and the U.S. Congress’s demand for Assange either to die soon inside the Embassy or else be transferred to the U.S. and basically just disappear, at Guantanamo or elsewhere. Ecuador’s President wants to do this in such a way that Ecuador’s voters won’t blame him for it, and that he’ll thus be able to be re-elected. This is the type of deal he apparently has reached with Trump’s agent, Pence. It’s all secret, but the evidence on this much of what was secretly agreed-to seems clear. There are likely other details of the agreement that cannot, as yet, be conclusively inferred from the subsequent events, but this much can.

Basically, Trump has arranged for Assange to be eliminated either by illness that’s imposed by his Ecuadorean agent, or else by Assange’s own suicide resulting from that “torture,” or else by America’s own criminal-justice system. If this elimination happens inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, then that would be optimal for America’s President and Congress; but, if it instead happens on U.S. soil, then that would be optimal for Ecuador’s President. Apparently, America’s President thinks that his subjects, the American people, will become sufficiently hostile toward Assange so that even if Assange disappears or is executed inside the United States, this President will be able to retain his supporters. Trump, of course, needs his supporters, but this is a gamble that he has now clearly taken. This much is clear, even though the rest of the secret agreement that was reached between Pence and Ecuador’s President is not.

Scooter Libby, who had arranged for the smearing of Valerie Plame who had tried to prevent the illegal and deceit-based 2003 invasion of Iraq, was sentenced to 30 months but never spent even a day in prison, and U.S. President Trump finally went so far as to grant him a complete pardon, on 13 April 2018. (The carefully researched docudrama “Fair Game” covered well the Plame-incident.) Libby had overseen the career-destruction of a courageous CIA agent, Plame, who had done the right thing and gotten fired for it; and Trump pardoned Libby, thus retroactively endorsing the lie-based invasion of Iraq in 2003. By contrast, Trump is determined to get Julian Assange killed or otherwise eliminated, and even Democrats in Congress are pushing for him to get that done. The new President of Ecuador is doing their bidding. Without pressure from the U.S. Government, Assange would already be a free man. Thus, either Assange will die (be murdered) soon inside the Embassy, or else he will disappear and be smeared in the press under U.S. control. And, of course, this is being done in such a way that no one will be prosecuted for the murder or false-imprisonment. Trump had promised to “clean the swamp,” but as soon as he was elected, he abandoned that pretense; and, as President, he has been bipartisan on that matter, to hide the crimes of the bipartisan U.S. Government, and he is remarkably similar in policy to his immediate predecessors, whom he had severely criticized while he was running for the Presidency.

In any event, the destruction of Assange has clearly been arranged for, at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, just as the destruction of Jamal Khashoggi was by Saudi Arabia’s Government; and, just like in Khashoggi’s case, the nation’s ruler controls the prosecutors and can therefore do whatever he chooses to do that the rest of the nation’s aristocracy consider to be acceptable.

The assault against truth isn’t only against Assange, but it is instead also closing down many of the best, most courageous, independent news sites, such as washingtonsblog. However, in Assange’s case, the penalty for having a firm commitment to truth has been especially excruciating and will almost certainly end in his premature death. This is simply the reality. Because of the system under which we live, a 100% commitment to truth is now a clear pathway to oblivion. Assange is experiencing this reality to the fullest. That’s what’s happening here.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Libya’s Peace Process Dies in Palermo

The best the Palermo negotiators could come up with at the end was a bland statement declaring their hope that sometime in the future all the Libyan forces will meet to sort out their differences.

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Authored by Richard Galustian for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity:


“Resounding flop” was the verdict of Italy’s former prime minister Matteo Renzi on this week’s Libya peace conference held in Palermo. He’s not wrong. The conference hosted by Italy’s new government achieved the remarkable feat of making Libya’s tensions worse, not better. Acrimony broke out between the parties, and Turkey’s delegation walked out, its vice president Fuat Oktay accusing unnamed States of trying to “hijack the process.”

Some sources in Palermo suggested, yet to be verified, that the US thought the Conference was not too bad: a joke if true.

Moreover the mystery we might ask is what “process” is there to hijack? Because the truth is, the peace plan the conference was supporting is already dead.

That plan was the brainchild of the United Nations, launched more than a year ago with the aim of ending Libya’s split between warring Eastern and Western governments with elections in December.

Even before the first delegates set foot in the pleasant Sicilian city of Palermo this week, the UN admitted the election date of December 10 they had decided to scrap.

The eastern government, led by the parliament in Tobruk, had made moves in the summer to organize a referendum on a new constitution which would govern the elections. But no referendum was held, and most Libyans agree it would be pointless because Tripoli, home to a third of the country’s population, is under the iron grip of multiple warring militias who have the firepower to defy any new elected government. Hours after the delegates left Palermo, those militias began a new bout of fighting in the Tripoli suburbs.

The best the Palermo negotiators could come up with at the end of the talks was a bland statement declaring their hope that sometime in the future all the Libyan forces will meet in a grand conference to sort out their differences – and this after four years of civil war. To say that chances of this are slim is an understatement.

Dominating the Palermo talks, and indeed Libya’s political landscape, was and is Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army, the country’s most powerful formation. In four years, the LNA has secured Libya’s key oil fields and Benghazi, its second city, ridding most of the east Libya of Islamist militias.

Haftar met reluctantly negotiators in Palermo, but insisted he was not part of the talks process. The Italian government press office said Haftar was not having dinner with the other participants nor joining them for talks. Haftar specifically opposed the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood champion, Qatar, at the event along with Turkey.

Haftar clearly only attended because he had a few days before visiting Moscow – which sent to Sicily Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev – and because also of Egyptian President Sisi’s presence along with his allies.

Possibly Haftar was simply fed up. Twice in the past two years he has attended previous peace talks, hosted each time in Paris, giving the nod to declarations that Libya’s militias would dissolve. Yet the militias remain as strong as ever in Tripoli.

Haftar is detested by the militias and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) but supported by a large segment of the population – 68 percent, according to an opinion poll by America’s USAID. His popularity is based on a single policy – his demand that security be in the hands of regular police and military, not the militias.

Not everyone is happy, certainly not Turkey, which is backing Islamist, MB and Misratan forces in western Libya who detest Haftar. Yet Turkey’s greatest statesman, the great Kamal Ataturk, was a champion of secularism: After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire following World War One Turkey faced the prospect of utter disintegration, and it was Attaturk who rose to the challenge, defending the country’s borders, while ordering that the mullahs, while responsible for spiritual welfare, have no political power.

Political Islam is not popular in Libya either. Libya is a Muslim country, its people know their faith, and most want government to be decided through the ballot box.

The problem for Libya is what happens next with the peace process broken. Haftar has in the past threatened to move on Tripoli and rid the militias by force if they refuse to dissolve, and it may come to that – a fierce escalation of the civil war.

The second possibility is that Libya will split. The east is, thanks to the LNA, militarily secure. It also controls two thirds of the country’s oil and operates as a separate entity, down to it banknotes, which are printed in Russia while the Tripoli government’s are printed in Britain. A formal split would be an economic boon for the lightly populated east, but a disaster for Tripolitania, its population losing most of the oil, its only source of export income.

Yet with the failure of peace talks, and no sign of Tripoli militias dissolving, military escalation or breakup seem more likely than ever.

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