Every late August and early September, a hysterical paroxysm grips the country in a sort of frenzy which takes hold of its collective psyche. A pandemonium, of regalia and decorations, fireworks and gun salutes, whirling dervishes on the beats of drums and tambourines and trilling pipers; where the ensemble exhibits symptoms of tranced ecstasy of enraptured releases than a joyful shindig. The crowd made out of hordes of young and old (tarnished and shabby looking) are screaming out of emotionally discharged slogans and epithets, that have been around since the "Leader' was a petite officer, than a true expression of happy returns! The hoopla goes on amid the brandishing of banners and various colored rags and slogans while the foaming gangs are enacting the faked shticks and cheap performances in the absence of a genuine revolutionary uproar!
In the age of egotism, or as the Americans named its generation, "me first generation," one is not surprised nor expects otherwise than to see Qaddafi's pitching his camp each season to party the anniversary of his, first take-over and appropriation of a country; and, second of his discovery that its residents are a bunch of yahoos! But the set-up slowly has been losing its artificial glamour and came more and more to resemble a remembrance of a sad occasion, albeit the pretense of otherwise than a merry return. Through the years the ballyhoo came to look like a tribal carousal than a formal state celebrations. Since the noisy jamboree's main purpose is to demonstrate the popularity of the regime more than to revive the cacophony of a never existed revolution. The shrewdness of Qaddafi was to turn a plotted coup-de-etate into a hallowed revolution and keep the purported story (of a lies) alive, all these years, in the hope that somehow may get traction and turn into a fact.
Where all this is from the real revolution? As distant as Pluto from the Sun! Putting hands on the state and its resources can do a lot of things except turning a semi-literate Beduin into a true revolutionary and statesman. Self indulgence apart, promoting personal worship was never synonymous with patriotism nor consonant with true leadership. Found an empty place, he filled it with his nonsense. Thus in the jumble of the hellhole called Libya no one knows who's what or the buck stops just as in a mad house? Just as in an asylum the patients look on the doctor as a certified nut, and the doctor, well... Calling Qaddafi a moron is no news since his persona has been around but giving the same adjective to the other 5.8 millions is in need of some elaboration. To expand on such an outrageous name-calling is perhaps easier to say what's not than to define what it's and how and why residents of a whole country -both the tamed and the rapacious- are made up or became deranged locos! To keep myself on this side of humbleness, I'd say that I'm not up to it but I'll try to do my best at scratching on the surface of the hard rock called creativity which only few with more sharpened imaginations and well honed minds have ever tried to knock on than what a presumably moron-brained of a Libyan will ever dare to scrape! Perhaps, only Jonathan swift's imagination had been fertile enough to carve few chips away at that rock, which can also lead amongst its many paths and byways to the more familiar one: the absurdity of it all! He came close to describe a people as the Libyans when he shipwrecked Lemur Gulliver on the island of Laputa and discovered its people. The Laputans were busying themselves in all sorts of ridiculous projects as the Libyans have been pottering around -since at least the coming of what's turning, by the minute, to be one of the most ridiculous of all coup-de-etates termed revolutions, in the absence of a better words- as to be expected to deal with such serious and time consuming stuff as nation-building, development, or just providing a decent life for themselves!
Why Libyans are described as idiots and what makes them different from the rest of humanity. Here are some of the reasons: First of all no people have ever taken such a crap for so long and still consider themselves belonging to the homo sapiens. Any other group would have long passed out or away out of boredom if for nothing else. Listening to the freewheeling prorations of Qaddafi the elder and now his carbon-copy clone, the junior, for no end makes one give up any wish to live and least of all to procreate and continue life under such circumstances. Second, no people would have been so naive -not to say take it, for we don't know that for sure- but to endure the bizarre -if not absurd- turns and twists Qaddafi & company have been negotiating to ingratiate themselves with and maneuver into better positions in the eyes of those who pull the strings of this world. Thus the country has been moving fastest from the La-La-Land, the regime has been flaunting around since its coming, to today's basket case of Never-Never-Land of failed everything. From the land of the slogans of power, wealth and weapons, in the hands of its people, into a land where the power is theoretical, the wealth, non-existing, and the weapons no more needed due to the sudden volte-face of historical surrender without a shot! From a promised land of fairness, justice, and socialism to a land of dog-eats-dog where multinationals race to fill the humongous vacuum and to sell the usual empty promises of prosperity, etc. Way to go! revolutionaries of the world take notice Qaddafi is recharging his batteries by reversing his gears! Stay tuned, a new series of White Books will ensue soon on Nature's most valued creature, the chameleon, in its ability to camouflage itself and avoid detection by the predators. Maybe Herodotus had a point when he said: "from Libya comes the new." It's a matter of doing away with that old nuisance of: No new under the sun, which will leave plenty of wiggle room to wrestle with idea of what new means.
An island on a far off planet, Libya as perceived by the rest of the world and Libyans have done very little to change such a view. [Look to how everyone is asking for the release of the Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor and what that says about Libya and its judicial system!]. But let's be realistic what's put Libya on the world map was not its heroism or wisdom but rather that most mundane of all commodities in today's world: oil. If, by definition, the desert is synonymous of waste land and thus not much of life beneath the sand dunes and scrub lands resides gold, black gold: one of the biggest reservoirs of crude energy. But true to the dichotomy between the surface of the desert and what's beneath it, the Libyans have what the always had, very little, as for the oil discovery and its exportations as for the use of its revenues -wasted opportunity. Close to 50 years after oil discovery, the golden age of Libyan oil, very little have changed as far as what really matters: humans and their attitudes. It's still one of the most eccentric societies on earth: conservative, judgmental, hypocritical, ignorant, and self-righteous. An empty shell, a den of shambles, without a center nor a focus, things are doomed to fall apart!
37 years of hallucinations, drivels, ridicules, buffooneries, and above all, of failures on all levels; and the count still going on, yet some people expect miracles still to happen. Some are already all gaga about what possible "reforms" the "Leader' will announce on his usual sermon on the 1st September. Some others are salivating on the ideas of Constitution, Parliament, Elections, Free Press, and even Supreme Court; they fancy these springing up in mid-air high above the heat of the desert and watered by the neo-conservatives' sprinklers on the other side of the ocean. While the vast majority (the so-called silent majority) are happy like clams just in finding their staples in the stores. This is the stuff ( half-dead-brained and the rest of the non-brained at all) from which the country, by default was called Libya, is made up, if Libya can be defined as a country!
For, in any other half-decent country, Qaddafi would have been kicked out of office long time back, otherwise at least now is beyond indictment and impeachment and on the way to the firing squad -especially after admitting of the failures of everything with the country! After 37 years of childish games, the "Leader" comes out now and chastises everybody for letting the country down! According to the "sage of Serte" everything is falling apart, no one knows how to fix a light fixture or handle a screwdriver, all projects are turnkeys, all goods are imported, all ideas (if there're any of them) are borrowed, from the Green Book to the Communes, all oil concessions are on the auction block, all workers are on the government doles... No one in that big Sand Box could stand up and say: wait a minute! Who's responsible for all of these fiascos? Aren't you at the helm of the decrepit boat, why didn't you e warn us in time of its sinking before it's too late? A country, down the rain, since its inception, only the oil is keeping it afloat.
I'm sure many will object to this characterization of a whole country as mad house, as made up mostly of morons. I can understand the objections. But bear with me for a minute, I've not finished yet. Had Libya been a different society one would have found difficulty in brush painting it all in one color. But being what's it's, a country made up of a tribal, conservative, and conformist aggregates of like-minded clans where no individual (or individuality) is allowed to disturb the millennial-mode nor questions its eccentricities. Thus rich and poor, learned and illiterate, old and young, male and female, are all under the same spell which their great-great-great---- fathers and mothers had found there and lived by. And since the so-called modern institutions, such as, education, health, army, government, etc. have been imported and superimposed on this flailed and derelict architecture, whereby the structures have been so deformed to such an extent that barely one could recognize their original forms as they still exist in other countries. As to their contents, they never had. They were imported privy of any content, just empty shells, with the proviso and in the hope they'll be filled one day with the local lore of necessities. However, since these necessities have to be identified and defined -again brains put at work!- it was found easier to just let the form modifies itself to go along with the existing practices of tribal arrangements. The result? What you see! A mess of proportional epic. A disordered chaos or chaotic disorder. A dysfunctional state that competes only with Iraq, Somalia, and the rest of the so-called failed-states in its dependency, corruption, and incompetence! As one doubts whether the Prophet was of the same flesh and blood of today's Saudis, one must question whether Omar el-Mukhtar and his cohorts ever existed in the land calling itself Libya.