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Libyan Writer Ghoma

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Saturday, 9 February, 2008


By: Ghoma

"Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few.
Very few people have the guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend.
Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies or cannot be born."
                                                                          Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

        All the hoopla and fanfares the Qaddafi regime goes around brandishing are masquerades and fig leaves to cover their weaknesses, not much different from that of Saddam's. With all the Armies, Police Force, spookies and 'intelligences,' committees everywhere (popular and less so!) and what-have-you, anytime one single individual opens his mouth and describes what he sees as he sees it, the whole place goes berserk! The State and its phoney "institutions cannot stand the truth even when it comes from one single mouth. The few times an individual dared and took them at their words, they've suddenly lost the little cool they usually in the habit of exhibiting, and not only showed all their teeth but they bit as hard as they could. Though, as Lessing observed: " the number of people in a society really prepared to stand against a current, really ready to fight for the truth at all costs is so small that..." Nonetheless, the few who dared were cut at the bud before people have heard of their names or what they did or said.

        The State, as Louis XIV had put, l'Etat c'est moi, a personal and private fiefdom, has reached its apotheosis in contemporary Libya! Otherwise how could it be explained anytime an individual voices some opposition to the regime the whole place gets the jitters and goes bunkers! The case of Fathi Eljahmi is a lucid example of how much the regime of Colonel Qaddafi is vulnerable, not to say full of cowardice, to the degree of losing its sleep because of one individual's voice and is risking alienating its hardly won new "friends and allies." Fathi, a man who's served for long under this same regime, was thrown into the dungeons, when he dared to utter some criticism of the Caudillo! Before he'd even finished what he was saying -and what every Libyan should have been saying all along: Enough of this charade, there's liberty in Libya! The mouse that once attempted to challenge the elephant to duel, could not take a word of truth and all hell broke loose for Fathi. Whatever he contributed to the regime went for nothing and was soon forgotten the minute he expressed, what many long have thought but couldn't bring themselves to say: Enough blathering, it's a dictatorship! Describing the leopard by its stripes was enough to land him, literally into the dogs' pound, in the dark dungeons of Qaddafi's & Sons', Inc., and their so subterranean world of that Republic of Fear, they call Jamahiriya! All that machismo and confidence, the Colonel never tired of showing anytime he talks about his Jamahiriya, vanishes once one Libyan plucks out the courage to express even doubts about the touted freedoms and rights produced by that chimerical fantasies of Qaddafi, and disappear on the spot behind the cordons of the goons, lackeys, and rabid dogs, whose only roles to protecting an illegitimate regime long discredited and passed the stage of hate. The fact remains, no matter what Qaddafi says or does, his regime has lasted so long, only by terrorizing everyone under its jurisdiction and even beyond the borders of Libya. And if he still deals and wheels with the carriers of today's banners of Civilization, Human Rights, Freedoms, etc., from Bush to Sarkozy and everyone in between, it's only because these later are as hypocritical and opportunistic as he's! Is it all for the Oil? Well, yes! But not entirely?

        The question is who still believes in Qaddafi & Sons, Inc. when they go around preaching their brand of "democratic" travesties, and their jails are full of people whose only guilt being that of having expressed their frustrations and disappointments -with the long nightmare under which they live/ if they've any resonance there must with Western business circles? Why? Because as simple and as in the same time disappointing, the fact of today's business' ethics. More and more big countries, firms, and companies are trudging the slippery slope of moral constraints. What makes it even worse is the coalescing of the political views toward those of business. The so-called Cold War's doctrine, under which the Imperialists, and their sisters and brothers, had long operated, is still in vigor. Under the rubric: it's better to keep the S.O.B. one knows than to try to figure out and deal with the one doesn't know, some horrendous crimes have been ignored. Unfortunately for Libya, Qaddafi, was long a known quantity, and this just suits as well many countries and their interests.

        One may think that there seems to be some unexpressed Faustian deal working here. Perhaps, long stuck but never talked about, between the regime and the powers that were pulling the strings of this world. The deal that says in exchange for using your regime and the country as l'enfante terrible and pied noir, as place-mats, to rub some of the bad events that take place from time-to-time in this world, the Colonel was to be left alone in hallucinating whatever he pleases with his desert kingdom. Was it feasible that such a deal could be struck and came to pass? On the face of it, it seems another of those far out fantasies, parts of the conspiracies' lunacies that populate our world, but the more events unfold the more such explanations acquire some credibility. Particularly, if we take into consideration that many of the things that move the world were first reached by nods, so to speak. Implicit outreaches! Some sort of gentleman's agreements, a la, you rub my back and I'll see what I can do when it's my turn.

        This brand of relations between and among nations were not new at all. They've been long the fuel, if not engines, which powered and drove foreign policies of many big nations with the small ones in particular. Wrapped under "the carrot and the big stick," such practice was no more than a code name for what usually passes as diplomacy. When a great power sends some envoy to a Godforsaken hell-hole on earth, the mission usually involves reaching some, if not outright explicit, then a tacit understanding, a bartering of favors: We're willing to tolerate this, to close an eye on that, etc., if you're willing to do such and such. The West, as the dominating powers, has long known how to use its levers with countries in the doomed regions such as the Middle East.

        The funny thing anytime one of these regimes, has attempted, too brazenly and without a drop of shame or embarrassment, to stand its grounds and show some toughness, with its leash-holders, had lost! The pinch would be hard to forget, as when R. Reagan sent his boys (and girls) to hunt for "the mad dog of Africa." But that's only in extreme, when things go out of hand and some reminders were needed to be expressed strongly of who's the boss type! Look what it did? Since then the regime has been as smooth and as polished as a China plate. Whatever America wanted, the Colonel obliged! If billions were needed, so be it. If other favors were requested, as giving up the alleged nukes, why not! Only when it comes to democracy and freedoms, the Colonel is adamant of not giving an inch. A dangerous precedent! Where it'll stop?

        Fathi, Bufayed, and all the others, Muslims and not, who're paying for their daring to tell the Truth, no matter what are the consequences, to them and to the few or many silent sympathetic, we say, trudge on! History will never forget your sacrifices. Your courage and voices are what keeps some hope in a world bent on its own gratification. And if another truth to be said, let it be with that Ghanian wise lady, Ama Ata Aidoo's words: "Because it is really true that we are all a joke, both the pigs who run our [country] and us the chickens who criticise them." Libya is where it's, liberties in it as scare as water in its parched soil, a silent place where to voice a truth will really hurt!


More Articles Written By Ghoma

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