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Libyan Writer Ghoma

Saturday, 15 July, 2006

OR The Jazzing Up of Nostalgia + Bankruptcy...?

By: Ghoma

        We all have heard by now about the pow-wow held two weeks ago in Washington, D.C. by a group of self-chosen, self-described, and well-restricted "constitutional proponents". The group of ALFA-istis, one can say without much qualms, most of them wouldn't hesitate nor argue against calling themselves an 'elite group' of Libo-Americans met, out of all places, in the halls of neo-cons driven and Republican controlled Congress!. The confab's declared subject was the 'Constitution' and its future, to which, according to the literati of this encounter, Libyans should be walking to it looking backward! Reading through some of the material -papers- which has been read at the get-together, one can sense only the agitated state of mind some these folks must be going through. In the regurgitated rivers of staled and hackneyed history, there appears some bright spots here and there amid the ups and downs of machinations of powers and forces beyond the control of the slumbered herds that inhabited the land called Libya but no brights starts to follow. However, overall one couldn't begin to understand why these folks are fond of , to the nauseam! to repeat the sing-songs and refrains of a history mostly was made, if not written, by others. Why waste time on a nominally defunct document which time and events have long had relegated to the dustbin of history. If this kind of puttering is not the proverbial beating on a dead horse, then these self-esteemed folks must be living in their own warped time where they could at a flip of a switch, fling back to their childhood years and see its long haloed tail refracted and twisted in the abyss of history's blackhole come flashing their way. For it's not clear yet whether the reminisces were some form of yearning or just to kill time and show some life is still kicking to whoever is pulling their strings

        Revisionism, acute historical revisionism! [ The group seems to be a motley collection of reactionary right wingers, monarchists, and repentant -or just strayed! former leftists]. There was very little Constitution debate per se. Instead there were rivers of regurgitated hackneyed narratives on how Libya got its nominal independence. Followed by the fake mechanics of the writing of what they all have come to resurrect, the Constitution. Being Arabs, religious culture is always there and resurrection is the dominant theme of its mainstay. Were these folks really meaning well or the mounted show was a camouflaged and disguised attempt to resurrect something else: the monarchy? For, from the composition of the group, mostly easterners- to their ages, one has a sense of them having not only an ax to grind with this regime but also a lost benefits to return to, if not to collect. The "ole good days", if they ever existed, were not really good for all but only for some in particular. The easterners, being numerically a minority, seem to have had put their fate a while ago, in the hands of a roaming Sufi and had pledged their allegiances to his off-springs too to end of time. [Otherwise what to make of the presence of that stiff kid who still has 'the faccia tosta' and the gall to claim he's the legit hereditary crown of Libya among them? And what the rest of us, the close to 6- million ass---- supposed to feel: a herd of cattle corralled by one wrong sperm to another?]. But on the whole, it's not clear yet whether the discussion was a form of yearning, to kill time and show some life still kicking, or was about serious subject with some claws and teeth to go with it.

        If time matters, as all laws of this earth recognized, then a document that had lasted only a fraction of the age of the state of which it presumably was the foundation cornerstone, must have exhausted its statute of limitation. Aside from that a constitution that was willed by outsiders, whether were UN, big powers, or the devil incarnate, and was written by relatively a small number of individuals with no legitimate mandates from the populace at large, must have had -another serious problem on its side from the get-go. Not only its math was of its own invention sui generis!- where 40,000 equals 250,000 and these each equals 800,000 but there was more of this distorted logic. The committees of the 10, the 21 and the rest of the charade were chosen by individuals with instigation and okaying by the big guardians Add to these the fact that a Constitution which had been written in the abject conditions of a Libya under occupation and protection of big powers had some serious legitimate concerns to answer to. A constitution which was written for a populace 90% + illiterates and poor under the advise of some 3 so-called "constitutional experts" with little or no input from the intended population was not worth the paper on which it was scrambled on.

        As a matter of fact the so-called Constitution was never applied nor followed. Whatever one calls the entity that came out of the mayhem was not a Constitutional State. It was an absolute and primitive. and some sort of Sufi tribe-backed monarchy. The tilt of the so-called Sufi-cum- king toward the area which had proclaimed him as their 'emir' was so steep that the other two areas couldn't climb nor bring it to level. The tribal formation in one area, the east, and the overlording of two families in the south made any attempt by the third and largest area, the west, to redress the mistakes in the balance of power distribution in vain. The east got the lion's share, the south was neglected completely, and the west wallowed in its own misery.

        But the point here is not to argue against a document better left to archeology and its museums but to point to some lessons, if there were any, to be learned from the first attempt to write something resembling a Constitution. First, a constitution cannot be written for people who have no idea of what a constitution is and how it should be. Second, a constitution cannot be written if the sovereignty is attributed to some other power outside of the people who're going to live by it -for the constitution is a terrestrial product for the here and now and must address the life on earth and not worry about the Afterlife. A constitution cannot be written, by any other except the legit representatives of the people, and not in a hurry or to meet any deadline or interest beyond what the people are willing to wait for and admit to. And the list can go on to infinitum....

        The Republic is here to stay. A Constitution for it has to be written when conditions are apt for it. The folks could have saved us and themselves the wasted drools by accentuating some points, punctuating some sentences, defining some terms for a future writing of Constitution. For example, what's meant by modernity, modern state, and modern constitution? Can a constitution be written under the aegis of religion and its moral codes and still meets the scrutiny of contemporary human rights, fairness, and equality? What's the overarching idea that a constitution should work for and thus would frame such its deliberations: happiness on Earth or nirvana in Heaven? And so on, and so forth... Such a debate is involving and may be also useful. It could bring the different parts around and focus their attention on the future and thus help them also clarify their present approaches, methods, and alliances.


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