More NATO bombing will only harden resolve of Libya to resist
As the bishop of Tripoli, Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli has quietly counseled the Libyan capital’s small Roman Catholic community.
Since Western bombs began raining down on Moammar Kadafi’s Libya, Martinelli, 69, has become an unlikely source of international controversy. His persistent criticism of the NATO-led campaign has led some to call him a Kadafi appeaser, and to suggest he would be better off sticking to spiritual matters.
“Kadafi is a Bedouin: You can’t change his mind by bombing him. You cannot crush the Bedouin,” Martinelli declared recently in the shaded patio of a five-star Tripoli hotel as thundering detonations shook the capital, seeming to accentuate his point. “He is a proud man. Talk to the Bedouin,” he said, slipping from English into his native Italian.
“Bombing is always an immoral act,” he told the official Vatican news agency, Fides. “I respect the United Nations. I respect NATO, but I must also declare that war is immoral. If there are violations of human rights, I cannot use the same method to stop them.”
The bishop is in daily contact with Catholic agencies in Europe, and he invariably sends the same message: the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s bombing will lead to more civilian deaths and will only harden the regime’s resolve.