The British Secretary of Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson has come under fire after he allegedly made some disparaging remarks about the current state of affairs in Libya on Monday.
Johnson is reported to have made a joke about Sirte, one of the largest cities in Libya, having the potential to be the new Dubai, adding that “all they have to do is clear the dead bodies away”.
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His statement appears to have rubbed many people the wrong way, including some British Members of Parliament who have been calling for his resignation, terming his remarks as “crass and cruel”.
Boris Johnson is seriously one of the most disrespectful and nasty politicians ever to exist. He has no morals whatsoever.
— Emma Bradshaw (@emma_lucy26) October 5, 2017
If Boris Johnson keeps his job then it provides further proof of just how corrupt our government is. What he did is gross misconduct
— AK (@1985AK47) October 5, 2017
But the Foreign Affairs Secretary has dismissed his critics, saying they do not have any idea what is going on in Libya.
Shame people with no knowledge or understanding of Libya want to play politics with the appallingly dangerous reality in Sirte
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) October 3, 2017
Here’s a piece of Mr. Johnson’s statement at the Conservative fringe meeting as quoted by the BBC:
“I look at Libya, it’s an incredible country. Bone-white sands, beautiful sea, Caesar’s Palace, obviously, you know, the real one. Incredible place. It’s got a real potential and brilliant young people who want to do all sorts of tech.
“There’s a group of UK business people, actually, some wonderful guys who want to invest in Sirte on the coast, near where Gaddafi was captured and executed as some of you may have seen. They have got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte into the next Dubai. The only thing they have got to do is clear the dead bodies away.”
The event’s host, Baroness Stroud, was forced to cut Mr. Johnson short as he continued to speak.
Reacting to Secretary Johnson’s statement, madam Sarah Wollaston, a Conservative MP, demanded for an apology, saying such “grossly insensitive” words are unacceptable especially from the person representing Britain on the global stage.
Demeaning jokes about real people murdered in Libya would be crass even from a stand up; appalled to hear this from our Foreign Secretary
— Sarah Wollaston (@sarahwollaston) October 3, 2017
The British Minister for Justice Philip Lee also condemned the remarks, adding that “anyone decent” should condemn such comments.
But not everyone is convinced that what Mr. Johnson said was out of line. Some are even accusing his critics of suffering from the Brexit hangover.
The campaign by remain MPs on here calling for Boris to resign, Woolaston, Allen, Soubry is co-ordinated and mendacious.
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) October 4, 2017
Sirte, a coastal city in northern Libya, is a former stronghold of the international terror group, Islamic State, locally referred to as Daesh. The city remains deserted with frequent fighting between local militia and terror groups.
Thousands of civilians and government soldiers have died and hundreds of thousands others forced to leave their homes for fear of attacks. It is therefore reckless and cruel for a British Secretary of Foreign Affairs to think that Sirte is a suitable topic for throwaway jokes.