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Libyan Writer Ghoma

Wednesday, 13 July, 2005

Once More On The Oppositionists' Get-Together!

By: Ghoma

       It's one of those known secrets among the political crass circles that if you want to dilute an issue form a committee to study it. It appears this factoid has been proved once again with the planning, proceedings, and the final declarations of our respected oppositionists. How so? Well, one needn't go far than reading the final resolutions, where there was a clear attempt to satisfy everyone and to reach every corner, except of course the ones that need some umph! But we're running way ahead of our steps, let's start from the beginning.

       The thrust of any gathering is usually set by the tone of the pro forma opening address. Whoever assigned this harrowing task must know that isn't a matter of ceremonious few words of welcome but more to sketch in broad strokes and delineate in general outlines what must be the task(s), what are the expectation(s) and thus direct the proceedings toward what will make them possible. It's also incumbent upon the introducer to remind his audience of who they're, where they're, and against whom they're struggling, and what they can do in this stage of the fight. Thus, if I were the one charged with this burdensome chore, I would've started it by saying:

       "You, 'Libyans in the daispora,' emigrants, exiles, and others, who heeded the call to leave your daily chores and headed for London, not for a break nor for a gain but rather for what you deem to be a noble duty and a moral obligation. As you live scattered in the four corners of the globe, as you may be loyal citizens to different countries, as you may speak different languages and conduct different daily routines, but your presence here today certainly tells that you feel something powerful that still connects you to the land where many of you have uttered their first cry. Altruism and nobility are powerful feelings but they're not enough for the tasks ahead of us, ...."

       And here where the rub becomes abrasive and the sight either blurs or becomes a vision panning out into the far horizons of the human future. Between the two possible choices, was the real difficile choise, which one was more adept to the historical phase and thus would energize the base to pull up their sleeves and start the real march. These two choices are: 1- work, for the short term, to alleviate the present blight of people at home; or, 2- work, for long term, on the renewal of the society and everything else that pertains to it. Each of these choices entails a different strategy and way of working. After making the appropriate choice, the speaker, that's the addressor, would proceed with:

       " ...But, ye heed me again, no matter what are the tasks you'll take upon yourselves, you're only a prodder, an inciter whose main duty to goad and to prod, to whip and to arouse the dormant multitude back what was once home so they can see their own blight with their own eyes. In other words, let's be real folks, your task isn't going to be the elixir of change but rather the catalyst that would help set in motion the bulldozer which will remove the juggernaut still holding it dormant. You, who have roamed the earth, seen the varieties of human conditions and experiences, experienced the bane of emigration and freshness of freedom, must tell your left behind families and relatives, indeed the whole country, what needs to be done to start the take-off. Et cetera, et, cetera,......"

       "Circumstances, fate, or pure chance have brought us to London. That's a fact. We're not in Tripoli or Benghazi, nor on the front lines facing the grind-mill of the regime. Most of us are citizens of the modern world, belong to different nationalities and have different obligations. We may assume different roles but nonetheless remain subsidiary, if not subordinate, to those in the theater of action. We may play the messengers, the link, and the bridge through which and by which experiences, understandings, and cooperation, between our adopted countries and our native land, can occur. We may even be the voice by which your long silence is broken and your simmering pain is aired to the world. But we cannot, we would not, nor we want to be your liberators. Liberty wouldn't mean much unless it's felt deep inside each of its seekers, fought for with whatever one affords, grabbed from its confiscators with one's heart and hands. We wouldn't do you a favor if we fight your fight, even if we could. We'll only deceive you if we tell otherwise. Liberty and freedom don't come from the outside. They're home grown. All we can do is to help you prepare the soil for such a seed to be planted and hopefully will have time to grow...."

       The rest of the talk will focus on the future. What's the objective here. To patch up things just to continue vegetating in half-alive, half-dead existence, or to work for a real awakening, a risorgimento, and a renaissance, all combined. The goal must be a truly modern, secular state, with checks and balances of power, and a bill of rights. For, if and when such a project will come to fruition, all the ills will find a way to be dealt with and all subsequent demands will likely be met. From the question of women's rights, to minority's uneasiness, to fairness and justice, etc. all and more will find a framework within which they could be addressed to the satisfaction of all.

       As for the economy and other issues as the military, etc. it's better not to hazard into these black-holes. Since the present state of the economy is called by such a term only for the lack of a better one. It needs to be started, like everything else in that society, almost from scratch. Since economy has strong correlation with the nature of the state and the social and other structures that will come out of it, it's too soon to prescribe what shape the economy will take: whether will be all private sector, mixed, or publicly run. So it's just waste of time and effort on some variables that lack all the constants necessary to their definition and determination?

       The armed forces? That's the $64k puzzle. The best scenario will envision the military as a guarantor to the constitution, a la Turkish way! until the Constitution can stand on its own. The worst, as a small state we'll never be able to project power beyond our borders, whatever armed forces will be strictly defensive. A popular citizens armed militia a la Swiss manner may be an example to emulate or some combination that will avoid the historical mistake of letting the military fill the political vacuum.

       One last point. There's a puzzling silence surrounding Libya's place and relations with the rest of the Arab World that verged on complicity. The guess is, it was purposely avoided for lack of clarity on one side and for not to appear as to criticize the countries where most of the attendees live and where the meeting was held. But that's pure hypocrisy or even cowardliness or both at the same time! To claim the mantle of freedom fighters and to shirk from not telling it as it's, particularly, when the freedom of others is in jeopardy; or to dodge criticizing the policies of one's adopted country when misguided or wrong; these are not a good sign of good characters, nor courageous fighters. A stand, at least verbally for what's taking place in Iraq, Palestine, Sudan, Lebanon, Algeria, Libya, the Arab Peninsula, and the Gulf states are de rigueur from any group seeking to further freedom and progress in that part of the world. These wounded parts of an already weakened body called the "Arab Community" is sapping and saddening us all. To say that all foreign troops must leave Iraq immediately, and leave the Iraqis solve their problems by themselves is part and parcel of the idea of self-determination and non-intervention in the internal affairs of an independent country. To say that all this foreign maneuvering, manipulations, and direct or indirect interventions are adding salt to injury and causing further instability and loss of life and resources to the area and indeed, to the whole world, is a moral obligation of those who believe in a peaceful and prosperous world, where issues are settled at the table and not with the bullets. To the states of the area, a message must be sent: enough back stabbing, liberate yourselves before offering yourselves and your lands as bases of aggression, etc.

       Otherwise, the get-together seemed to have gone smooth. The post meeting has not begun yet. But some voices have already started squeaking. There will be a lot of ink spelt on the ins and outs of the meeting but all will not undo missed opportunity. To show clarity of vision and guts to express it.


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