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Libyan Writer Ghoma
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Saturday, 17 October, 2009

In Qaddafiville Nepotism is the Working Model...!

By: Ghoma

What goes on in their minds?
These folks were summoned up, after Qaddafi had made a hearty appeal to his minions to find an influential and permanent position, in the bloating Libyan state apparatus, so Junior could carry on his long touted Reform agenda: To sweep clean the mess his Dad has piled up in forty years in power.
The apparent drowsiness was perhaps due to the excessive zeal with which they've recieved the quest than from the rather easy task: to find a job for a member of the family which owns the whole damned feud!

        A conventional piece of wisdom which has been circulating around for quite some time and has been repeated often enough to become almost a fact of life, namely, the one that says in the wretched parts of the globe there's some sort of a tacit consensus that runs between the ruled and their rulers and which also governs their mutual relationship. This unwritten contract, if put into concrete words, in a country such as Libya, would go like this: Any ruler who provides the goodies which Libyans value most, i.e., plenty of bread, lip-service to Religion, and decorous respect for the womenfolk, would be left alone to do whatever he wishes with the country.

        Qaddafi has been around long enough to have wind of this rule. It is not difficult to prove there's such a thread running through what Qaddafi has been monkeying with for the last 4-decades. The way he's set up the so-called Jamahiriya system: a chaotic and eviscerated state, a structure without scaffolding, a body without spirit. It was made purposely to answer Qaddafi's pecking order. Thus when he'd made the request to enthrone his son, Saif, at the top of the pyramid without the due apprenticeship nor the pro forms rung climbing, there was very little surprise from the throngs that make up the system's foot-soldiers. Qaddafi was unabashedly confident his wish will be carried out literally without undue delay. People's wisdom aside, the system is still one man's show. The Jamahiriya order works from top to down, set up to receive directions, from the Leadership, and execute them without questioning. All these various hodgepodge committees, the alphabet soup, given the mutual distrust among their members, do, after the prescribed mumbo-jumbo sermons about the greatness of people's direct democracy, is to rubber-stamp their seal of approval of whatever the ‘Lider Maximo’ had wished. Case closed, no questions asked!

        However, the question remains, what kind of messages these folks are sending to their progeny and to the rest of the world? It says to the average Joe of Libya: Don't take the rhetoric literally, don't step out of your bounds, don't raise your hopes, for certain positions at the top of the hierarchy are beyond your reach. After all we're still Arabs where family connection counts more than what any individual effort. Meritocracy? What's that? A Western humbug that they keep hawking it around to no avail! Nepotism is alive and kicking in Libya, and the rest of them. Now, after the great Republics of North Korea and Syria, it's also official in Libya. Eat your hearts you bunch of invidious idiots, talking about Reform, Constitution, Rule of Law and the rest of the guff.

        Nepotism in that neck of the woods seems to be the working order in every sector of life. It's not only tolerated but rather celebrated, to the extent it let to permeate all the interstices of life in Arab and Libyan society in particular? The traditional set-ups of Family, Clan, Tribe, etc., have made Nepotism the sine qua non thread which bounds the various strands together to make a yarn out of them! It’s become the working medium that feeds on itself - it’s fed by and in the same manner it perpetuates these traditional notions. In the culture at large from the pr-Islam through the Islamic and on to the contemporary age, Nepotism has been the strong force and a constant which runs through the Arab culture. From the days of the Prophet, and on to the Islamic state and all its subsequent descendants, have all suffered, in various ways, from this stubborn bug. Islam itself was split and its state was torn apart because of Nepotism!

        Nepotism is actually expected to run the show, notwithstanding, all the blather about democracy and the rule of law. Thus, without a nary drop of a blush nor a sign of embarrassment, with cold eyes and straight face Qaddafi had asked his apparatchik council, of gathered minions to find for his Son a position so he could make a difference, presumably like Senior himself! Way to go! What dads after all are for? The Caudillo, after has made sure that the rest of the brood have been taken care of, each with cushier job than the next, now is the turn has come too for the freelancer, Saif, to grow up and have a permanent day job. But, mind you! not any job. And not a job he's to find on his own either. But one that Libyans, through their alphabet soup committees, would beg him to accept? Things change only to remain the same! Let the so-called self-made man be somewhere else, let meritocracy bubble and boil in its own juices, in Libya we know what's good for Qaddafi is also good for bu-Me3erqa.

        Fixing Qaddafi junior a cushy job won't be the first booboo nor will be the last. It ain't going to be the end of the world either. The question which begs itself what such a public gesture will do to the practice of Nepotism in the society at large. What message is sending? Wouldn't the state be a closed circuit, full of those already there, with their broods, siblings, cousins, clans and tribes? What will happen, then, to thousands upon thousands of other Libyans’ sons and daughters who are as well qualified, as say the-Son-of-his-Father, and who have no connections in the state apparatchik? When, Qaddafi, the Leader of the ‘Revolution’, doesn't feel legally or morally or any other way, bound to think about all these sons and daughters of Libyans but only about his own brood, the 7 of them. Who will help the unemployed find, or invent ex-nihilo, even a little charity organization, where they could make a living before thinking about making a difference?

        A problem may pop up very soon. To land at the top of the Libyan state, all one needs strong shoulders to launch there. No qualifications are necessary nor any experience required. For Saif, a virtual rookie, all he's done so far was to run little charity. Is it sufficient to cut one's teeth in charity work? And was that enough to pay one's dues to society? Rubbing shoulders with the biggies at Davos, or earning a Ph.D. in People’s democracy - from that Old Venerable Oriental School of Colonial Sciences, from all places, the London School of Economics- notwithstanding, these a statesman don't make. Saif still needs all the Hosannas, Hallelujahs, and the Amens combined! Poor Hamlet of Libya, he has been caught between the love of a country and the contempt for its people.


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