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Libyan Writer Ghoma
الكاتب الليبي غـومة

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Wednesday, 6 June, 2007

WHO SAID MISERY DOESN'T LOVE COMPANY?

By: Ghoma

        The elephantous-faced, clownish-duds weirdo of Libya, the Colonel, the eternal putterer and bungler, has just gathered his latest formed company, made up mostly of the lame, the cripple, the blind, the deaf, and their sisters, brothers and cousins. The phonies and weirdos of the scorched and parched belt of Africa have been summoned to their annual -or semi-annual?- pow-wow, where else from all places, Sirte! What this band, actually junta, of the truly wretcheds-of-the-earth meeting for? Cheap talk apart, not to find ways to alleviate some of the persisting and pressing problems or to assuage the pangs of pain of this part of the earth; not really, but to discuss how to make of them and the whole continent of Africa, hold into your seats, a United States of Africa? To paraphrase an old Italian joke about Germany, back then during the Cold War after that other really heated one, the WWII, which says: As if one Germany was not enough, they'd made two of them! One can say the same thing about this farfetched fantastical hallucination: As if one USA is not enough in this world, Qaddafi wants another one more in Africa! Africa, the real Hobbesian state of chaos, moans from old and newly pestering wounds: genocides, fratricides and a mania of decomposing and disintegrating. Qaddafi's brilliant idea is to use that old Libyan anecdote: when complained of being tired, his companion hanged a watermelon -or just cantaloupe!- to his balls. Tribal Africa, neo-colonialized Africa, is beyond the pale of its current crop of charlatan leaders. For help to all its problems and corruptions: wars, famines, diseases, poverty, ignorance, etc. is not what the Colonel has in mind: hey forget about your problems now, come here, let's make a big bang. Oh, Africa, how close to Libya and how far from commonsense! Africa, as the last place on earth, after the Arabs, of course, which is still stuck in the mud of tangled primitivism, has not yet even crossed the threshold to statehood, despite the Genius-of-Libya pretensions to try once again another his failed schemes; the same schemes which have already run out of fiat -or juts gas! with the Arab- are used to unite the hodge-podge of Africa (bundle of kurnaf) into a super-dooper-state and uber-confederation.

        What's expected from a gathering that includes 25 (notice the same number of states in the EU!) of the most wretched places on earth. The 25 so-called Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) with about 350 million people, includes most of North African ( except Mauritania & Algeria [?]) plus Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Comoros, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina-Faso, Togo, Benin, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Ghana, Guinea, Sierra-Leone. With no questions asked, anyone can apply! Though there's no shortage of bad states in this world, but certainly this cluster, in particular, breaks any record of badness, so far registered anywhere, anytime. They've left no room for any other state to compete for malfunction. And yet the bungler of all times, Qaddafi, who himself had looted power and pillaged Libya, by highwaymen methods, in the middle of the day, and reduced the country to one of the worst managed states in today's world, is volunteering to fix the problems of all places, Africa? Irony? Tragedy? Or tragicomic that one who couldn't fix relatively simple problems of a small country, with a population of around 2-million, when he appropriated power by literally guns and tanks, a country which has been endowed with one of the most scared-cows of contemporary world, that milks plenty of hard cash flow of Green-Bucks-knocking-Green-Bucks everyday of the week, wants to get his stubby hands to solve the intractable problems of an entire dysfunctional continent with a close to 700-million souls and counting? What a nerve? Bold gall beyond belief! Unshameful and unembarassable, and as the Italians describe such a character, with faccia-tosta, too. In 38-years and coming to the 39th Libya went from bad to worse with all indices, except for its population's ability to survive in dire circumstances and proliferate too.

        Beyond the banal question, of a bunch of idiots having a gabfest, what's the purpose of all this? Why Qaddafi's going through the trouble and paying for the expenses? There must be a reason that, at least to him, justified the whole shenanigan. Perhaps to give him some purpose in life? To feel useful or to acquire some clout with which he'd be bargaining with the grandees of this world? To raise the bar for the Egyptians and Saudis and create in the process a turf, though in the middle of the desert. But can Qaddafi be trusted by anyone? Were all those funny-attired group of bloodhounds so naif they didn't know what he's up to? Some of them, at least, must have some clues. However, they must have their own purposes too. Since each of these guys is a good boondoggler, trying to appear to be doing something for his country, by basically shooting the breeze on the Mediterranean shores. In Libya from all places on earth!

        Is there a chance any CEO, with few synapses on his/her pate still working, will hire the Qaddafi guy to run anything at all? Well, let's not be all negatives! Perhaps some bungled down big-city mayor in America, will hire him to shoot the crab and entertain the skid-row residents! But kidding apart, Qaddafi should recluse himself from anything that deals with something beyond taking power and keeping it crudely and brutally. Anything which has to deal with development, economics, financing, and practical matters in general must be banned from his vicinity. His freewheeling rambling may qualify him for one those extinct professions: fabulator, cantor, narrator, etc. Or, with Jellud, Hawadi, Younis, Khweldi, and whoever is still there of the old gang, Qaddafi should be given more of the rags, he took to wearing lately, and provided with a band of drum-beaters and maybe a shiekh-3esaawiay and let them all go roaming around the country entertaining the masses, a la Dervishes, with folklore tales, Religious and otherwise lores daily doses. Hallelujah! "Dastoor yaa Moammer! It wouldn't be log before they start praying on the hems of his cloak!

        Is he serious or what? It would almost be inconceivable that he's not aware of what Africa is all about. The "heart of darkness'. A continent riven by civil strives, like summer fires; steeped in age-old traditions, superstitions, and bad old habits where power always meant perks for family, relatives and friends. The same not-so-timid and outward-looking corrupted leaders, he's meeting with, are the ones who keep stoking the fires that's eating what's still standing in Africa. A sick, hungry, and thirsty continent is far from the stage where it can come together and make a difference. The ability or desire to invoke a new architecture, or some mega-structure cannot be add ed to a badly built shacks of imported and plumped high from the sky state solutions that never have worked and probably never will work in their present designs.

        While it's true Africa is in need of a new architecture, but where are its architects to take stock of what kind materials is made and what can be molded out of such resources? If anything to work in Africa, ain't going to be a skyscraper type glass towers, but rather more modest beginnings. Not from huts to steel & glass structures but rather it's to start from scratch, from the bottom up, building whatever it can brick-by-brick and stone on stone until one day will be able to reach the skyscraper levels. In the meanwhile it's to accept its conditions, to tie its belts and save its meager resources, and content itself with its shacks. As modest a dwelling as "architecture without architects" could give, Africa today is far from the reaching the stage where it can train enough of its sons and daughters for the use of its resources and abilities in a creative and imaginative ways. Qaddafi and his schemes are only smoke screens -if not outright waste of time and resources, to screen and hide the real issues facing Africa and Libya with it: How to tame first and then mold, if not melt, the hodge-podge of amoeba-like tribes into some sort of modern state structure.

Ghoma
Ghoma47@hotmail.com

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