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Libyan Writer Ghoma

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Sunday, 15 June, 2008


By: Ghoma

        The heavy and absurd sentences handed down the other day by the State Security Court were truly an embarrassment to the universal sense of justice in general and to that of Libya in particular. Once again, the Jamahiri System has reverted back to what it knew best: repression of any form of free expression. It's also shown its bizarre and eccentric ways of abiding by the treaties it'd willfully accepted and signed, perhaps, in good faith. The irony, in the same time, Libya offers itself as "the final and ultimate solution" to a host of long and intractable human problems, starting with freedoms and ending with happiness, it still refuses to play by the universally accepted norms of civilized conduct.

        The sentences, handed down by what amounted to no more than a Kangaroo Court ( the so-called State Security Court) against Idris Boufayed, Jamal al-Haji and the other 10 individuals, were truly heavy: the verdict ranged from 25 to 6 years in prison. The sentences came after the accused have been in custody for more than a year now! They've been arrested in the middle of the night for the simple reason they'd intended to hold a demonstration in Tripoli on the first anniversary of the Benghazi likewise heavily handed quashing of another peaceful protest, in front of the Italian Consulate, against the Danish Cartoons, the year before, when 11 people were shot dead and scores of other were wounded. These intention-bound folks, the intendees, instead of being treated as prisoners of Conscience, as truly were, have been roughed up a bit first and then were subjected to all kinds of tortures, only to be put incommunicado afterward. On what charges? Listen and hear to what the custodians to the Jamahiri system could come up with: The trumped up charges went from the absurd to the ridiculous: "attempting to overthrow the political system," to "spreading false rumors about the regime," and "communicating with enemy powers." This later charge referred perhaps to the meeting with a US diplomat -since when meeting with someone who was vetted and admitted to country legally by the same regime doing the prosecuting, was considered a crime?

        Now, if a bunch of disarmed individuals, called for a demonstration, which is going to be held in the middle of the day in the biggest square of the city, could be construed and in fact interpreted as an "attempt to overthrow the political system" one wonders how this very system could have lasted such a long time, if as its justices have pictured it to be no more than a vulnerable, brittle and fragile entity; in other words a cartoonish tiger, that could be blown away anytime by simple puff from a gaggle of civilians. Only if it were true...! As to "spreading the false rumors..." perhaps posting some announcements on the Internet was all it took? Freedom of expression, in the Qaddafi's Jamahiriya is only rhetorical device, perhaps to dupe some naive locals or care-less foreigners, never meant to be taken seriously or at face value.

        The tragic fact is no matter what Qaddafi & Sons, Inc. promise, it must be taken with a grain of salt, since nature seems, in Qaddafi's Eldorado, always to overcome nurture! No matter how much they promise to change they'll always remain the same. Rhetoric is cheap when it comes to freedoms and other rights. For instance, Qaddafi, the other day, talking on the 38th anniversary of the American evacuation from the Air Force Base, outside Tripoli, has, once agin, ridiculed and made fun of, the American and Westren elections and their democracies in general as being no more ploys to game and dupe the masses; and instead has boasted of his people's direct democracy as the true representation of citizens' wills and power. But, the thing is, he's forgot the main axiom to any form of true representation: freedom of expression! Without the freedom to express one's opinion, without fear of arrested and imprisoned, all else is of little value as far as rights are concerned.

        These folks, the charged ones, one doesn't necessarily have to agree with, to see they've done nothing to deserve such savage and ruthless form of justice. The only thing they did, they'd expressed an intention to hold a peaceful protest. Intentions, in themselves (barring the Libyan religiously inspired dictum which says: the deeds are in the intentions!) were never, and still are, a crime? All civilized forms of human justice were predicated on the simple proposition, that's, one has to commit first the crime to be charged for, indicted, and prosecuted. The deed has to be done first and the person has to be caught red-handedly committing the crime, for the charges of breaking the laws to be triggered and started. The law also has to exist in the time of the crime!

        Qaddafi may disparage America and its President, but, so far, particularly lately, he's done nothing to give credence to his to his piquant form of criticism. The fact of the matter, in actuality, he's shown to have learnt, Mr. Bush, one or two tips, as: The outrageous notion of Preemption: and the other absurdity, that one, the one of not following the existing laws of the country and international protocols of treating prisoners of war, humanely. Both President Bush and Qaddafi, were bound to uphold the sense of justice and decency; instead they both found it easy to trump up some charges against people they may not like! While America has not exhausted its options and has not said the last word, the system may linger and fault at times, but it's also its checks and balances, However, Qaddafi, without bounds or limitations, has still a long way to go to meet what his own mouthed cheap drivel, day in and day out: of recreating and building that famous Camelot in the middle of the desert.


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