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Libyan Writer Ghoma
الكاتب الليبي غـومة

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Friday, 15 June, 2007

The Question of The so-called Libyan-Jews...?

By: Ghoma

        Maybe that ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, was right when he said: from Libya comes the new! A Libyan, by itself, was a novelty. Despite all the time in the world so far, the noun Libyan alone is a mystery still to be cracked, and when it's compound and hyphenated, it becomes even more problematic! Both geology and history told us there were all kinds of fauna and flora in this land time ago but all had melted down in the desert and became oil & gas. To replace all the goodies that were there came the species Homo-Libicus. Only the existence of two species, so far, has not been stumbled upon yet and thus still in doubt: Dinosaurs and Jews. As a matter of fact, history does mention the existence of some Jews in the territory but were not indigenous, rather were outside comers from other lands and remained as loyal to those lands. Perhaps few of them were free spirits and unattached to any other lands, Zionism took advantage of their situation and opened branches specifically for the purposes of enrolling into the cause of establishing a homeland - Zionism came to Libya at the turn of the 20h-century, opened offices in major cities, bought land around urban areas (Tagiura) to train the youth on "farming" and helped them join the Kibbutzim movement and/or the Hagana in Palestine. Thus, soon after, by mid-20th-century, Jews became literally an instinct species in Libya. The few, who were left behind, was part of the European contingent, particularly Italians, who then had taken themselves out of the country in the aftermath of the '67's War.

        That anyone can form a group, call for a meeting anytime and anywhere is only subject to the whims of the various governments laws and regulations. Anyone can agitate as well for any cause he/she pleases and finds to his/her heart, is one of the basic rights guaranteed under most democratic constitutions. What the quarrel about is the idea that anyone -or a group of them- can shout foul, claims an injury, form an organization for it, stir enough noise, and demand compensation for the alleged harm(s) incurred. As oxymoronic as Libya Jews may be, if such an attempt would ever come to pass and gives the expected results then every one of the ever increasing disgruntled multitude of individuals of groups would be asking for compensations from here to Wazoo, as they say!

        Of course, any association can have a name and call for a meeting. It happens every day of the week and anywhere in the world. That's not the issue here. What's at issue here is, not every group who hangs a shingle is true to its name and has to be taken as a full-fledged organization. What's at issue here is not every invitation to attend a meeting is answered positively without some hardcore questions answered first. What's at issue, are those "others," whether individuals, organizations, or even state-sponsored pseudo- intellectuals[?], and who call themselves Libyans, who've heeded the call of a clique, and trudged their bloated egos to the parley, sparing no expenses nor praise the moans, if not the drools, of some self-inflicted injuries of a disgruntled group who claim to have belonged once to the land called now Libya. The question is not why "Libya Jews" have met in London but why Libyan non-Jews trudged to London and have attended their meeting? What were the misdirected individuals trying to show or accomplish? Historians -I've no idea what a historian is doing in a camouflaged political wrangling! - and others with long titles after their names, journalists and the like, all fell on London to monitor and report the event. Isn't any more only Western media plagued by the Zionism bug, Libya's also is getting infected? Songs, oops! Signs of the times!

        Libyans, through history or bad luck, came out rather a group of cynics. The first thing that pops up anytime they encounter a suspicious proposition usually, as the say goes, "reading the less rather than seeing the more!" When one of them, and more so when a group, was invited to anywhere for the first time a slew of questions would certainly start swirling in his/her head: Who are they? Why have they invited me? And what is expected of me and what's in it for me? These are only some of the questions that anyone's -who call himself/herself a real and true Libyan and carrying a somewhat still functioning pate- political antennas shouldn't have failed to register the alarm: watch out for the bumps in the street! But, if the grapevine could relay anything at all, one can notice instead a great deal of goodwill mixed with much exaggerated praises and emotionally charged, a la Libyan way! doses of alacrity, eagerness, and enthusiasm that have accompanied our ill-advised, injudicious -just to avoid saying foolish- countrymen and women[?] to the powwow of a self-styled group. What's alarming and uncomfortable to think of the eagerness that was not something habitually exhibited before for any other organization. Not many have shown such enthusiasm before to other Libyan groups -not to advocate their causes- such as the Amazeghen group gatherings or some other group(s) I'm not aware of! Why all the zeal for a Zionist group, even if it calls itself Libyan and more so because of that? Have those who attended the meeting any criteria to where they go and with whom they associate with? Have they any signs beyond which they stop and think twice? Or just because Zionist events have become such points of light to attract all and sundry of the moths and flies that keep swirling and whirling around for a chance or an opportunity to land on with no clues to add to what they're getting at nor to what end awaits them?

        Anyway, Libyan, never was, and still is not, a great label to have, nonetheless, it's not so worthless to be thrown around for anyone to pick and appropriate, even for those who claim to belong to the "chosen people." Libyans may not have been chosen by anyone but chance and bad luck, and as such they represent a coterie of a kind: dumb but proud, poor with dignity, weak with guts, etc. So before anyone or a group of people attach themselves to such a label they better show some credentials that qualify them to belong to such a group: not only to have existed with them historically but most importantly to have shared their travails: borne their endless afflictions, endured their harrowing history, and partook in their numerous defeats and few successes. The so-called "Jews of Libya" notwithstanding the banner under which they've met, and that proclaimed in Italian[?] 24-centuries of continuous existence in the area[!], they were new comers, the earliest didn't precede the Arabs defeat in Spain and most of them trekked along with Western invaders. As a matter of fact most of them carried Italian, French, British, German, Spanish, etc. citizenships , and few if any at all opted and remained without the protections these powers had offered them even while back home were persecuting their brethren to extermination in their homelands in Europe. Someone has given statistics of less than 4000 Jews who took Libyan citizenship after it became a state! The rest either moved to the newly established nest of Zionism in Palestine or remained loyal to their old patrons.

        One wonders in which books of history the alleged resistance to the invaders was found! Why one cannot encounter the whole area of the Middle East, and Libya in particular, not one Jew was on the side of the people he now claims to belong to. Where were our Jewish brethren when the Italians were massacring the Libyans by the droves. Where was the conscience of a universally persecuted people? Why was it so dormant not even an article in a lousy newspaper denouncing the atrocities committed against their brothers and sisters, if in no other, then in humanity? On the contrary what the Tripoli city Jewish quarter had killed in one day (92) passed all what the rest of Libyans combined had allegedly killed of the Jews in the whole claimed 24-centuries of their claimed sojourn in the country. Not to forget the victims of the downed airplane! And now they've the gall to ask to be compensated and perhaps also thanked for enduring the heat, dust, thirst and hunger in Libya! Pooh! another sign of the nearing to the end, the Armageddon?

        If truth has to be said the so-called Libyan Jews, if they exited under such a label at all, never had done a damn thing to justify their claim. On contrary they helped and had collaborated with whoever came to the area. Some of them were used, and indeed acted willingly and enthusiastically, as a Trojan Horse to the Italian invaders, while others preferred to remain agents to their respective states in the markets named Tripolitania, Cyraniaca , etc. I'm not sure if there were Jews in Fezzan! And after so-called Independence, they basically became more Italians than the Italians themselves. I still remember going to Jews' shops on Independence Street, 24th December of Omar el-Mukhtar Boulevard, asking in Arabic only for the shop-keepers to answer back in Italian! One is not sure whether were only bad business people or bad colonialists or both?

        The point here is to demolish a new tendency, if not a naive practice, on the part of Libyans, to take some people for what they say without questioning their motives first. As not everyone who claims to be a doctor can cure a patient so not any group who hangs a shingle and makes a claim is to be listened to, sympathized with or taken for his/her believe literally without due probing. No government from the old or the present regimes has ever decreed to deny any Libyan his/her right to be in Libya -except perhaps few political dissidents! If they're Libyans, not dissidents, immigrants, etc. then who's preventing them from being in Libya. No one is banned from buying a ticket and catching a plane to Tripoli or Benghazi. So what all the hoopla is about? What kind of deal these folks are spoiling for?

        Compensation? If truth to be said, all Libyan, inside and outside, deserve some compensations, if for nothing, for the share in oil. Yet, so far, no one has heard of a Libyan, who's put a condition for his/her return to the country upon being compensated for whatever harms he/she claims to have incurred. If they've any claims, usually they go back there and then try to ask for their rights through the available channels and institutions, that's, to fight their battles in the country and to have their day in court there to. A preemptive tactic and a potential strike were not part of the Libyan arsenal before? Perhaps, putting the horse before the cart is a tactic "our cousins" and now putative fellow countrymen and women, the claimants, have used and perfected to a tee!


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