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Libyan Writer Ghoma

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Thursday, 22 November, 2007

The Question Is: What for?

By: Ghoma

        The latest Volte-facie of the regime has dealt another blow to the inchoate and amorphous individuals and groups who go under the epithet of Opposition. All of a sudden, the already fractured, confused, and rudderless remnants of a weak and inorganic Opposition found themselves facing other reasons for discord. Be that between those who're for the "Reform" and others who, though, short on vision and alternatives, are not quite ready to throw in the towel and declare the fight is over. Now there's another raft calling for kicking the rhetoric few notches up by stiffening both strategy and tactics all the way to "Armed Struggle"! Though the reasons for such a change of heart were not lacking, the thinking itself lacks clarity and coherence. To look for ways to breathe some fresh breath of life to an Opposition weary of years of roaming in the wilderness is one thing to think to overcome such weariness and fatigue by pushing a weakened amalgam (body) to perform beyond its capacity is bound only to fasten its final expiration. Such thinking was perhaps familiar to some Libyan oppositional groups and individuals since it's the stuff from which and by which a lot of hot-headed, little-learned guys/gals would buy to fasten 'final salvation' and accelerate the dash to 'liberation day'. It's based and stemmed from the little paid attention and perhaps less noted fact that for many "opposing," since its inception, has been synonymous with changing the regime. And for these, it seems, the 'fight' had, from the get-go had reached its turning point: by any means if not fair then be it foul. Were there some misplaced expectations or only misstated and miscommunicated set of priorities and goals? If lack of unified and coherent visions have hampered the Opposition so far, though, those perceptive, not to say sincere enough, must have known what they were doing was for the long haul and far from certain that it'll lead to the promised land in the near future. Neither the numbers nor the means were of such weight to cause any disturbance the regime couldn't cope with. Further the means available, or were chosen, to wage the fight was a mixture of innocuous hosannas and empty threats. Both these were of scathing nature to let life goes on without any interruptions. Were the ends means matching? Perhaps! Then what's new to alter the equation? The new some are tired of the old game and now want to change the means, though the ends are still fuzzy to say the least. What has happened to justify such drastic calls? Have the Libyans suddenly jolted up from their slumber, or the ends have changes dramatically? All indications point to all still calm on the home front. People are still as usual, and the ends, if there were any, couldn't be far from what those groups duking it out, by any means, in near and far swathes of the Middle East still have? Not a glint yet from a goal worth fighting and dying for?

        Is such an argument of the type let's discuss the means to fight a dictatorship valid for the time being? Sure! But given all the factors surrounding both the regime and its Opposition, is it practical first and then reasonable second to try to sic them against each other to go to blows? And then what? Armed struggle, violence, in general, has its own logic and laws: it doesn't obey neither! Once blood runs anything could happen. What's started for one objective may become objectiveless blood bath. What initially was for political purposes may turn into myriads of other seen and unseen claims and complaints. No one can predict the impact and extension of the law of unintended consequences. So why call for a remedy worse than the disease? Desperation? Power grabbing mentality? Etcetera...

        Sometime one can sense from the argument and its heat that it comes from yet spring-greens. One hopes, time and experience will abate their temper and slow their rush. If they hang around long enough, they'll discover soon human apathy and inertia and perhaps will knock them into that old cliche: Rome was not built in one day. What interesting to ponder however, it seems, this time such calls were coming from old geezers, who perhaps out of fear from being outfoxed, are acting the lion's pluck. For commonsense would dictate that before going to too much more demanding tactics of using hard-core power, one should have asked first if all the soft-core means were exhausted. Perhaps a more appropriate question is: What and where went wrong, of not reaching the intended audience and exciting them about the new possibilities? Why the 'insiders' are still taking it and living with it without much ado? Why are the disconnections and frustrations still piling and accruing? Which side is to blame or both were equally derelict in their duties? Perhaps the schism between the outsiders and insiders, was a result to their different life experiences as well as difference of the metrics of expectations. The insiders, to start with, seem to compare what they've and what's going on with their lives with that of their fathers and mothers, grannies, etc. generations' lives and perhaps had come to the conclusion that on the whole theirs aren't as bad. While the outsiders are looking to the world with different specs, standards and other peoples ways of dealing with the same issues, and have come to conclude there must be something wrong with the folks back home. There's! But the solution ain't by jolting them to wakefulness by violent shakes that may only cause them to suffer heart failures or complete deafness, instead harkening to the squabbles of the outsides' messages.

        To disagree on something with someone is not necessarily to oppose in toto on what's or what was not the bone of contention. And the bickering and dithering, which usually follow such occurrences, do not necessarily come to qualify beyond what they usually were: mere venting! To raise some of the diatribes that the Net-mill overflows with to the level of opposition would come close to edging on the proverbial, making a mount out of a molehill. To distinguish, in particular, what's an opposition from what's not, has always remained one of the unsolvable conundrums of any time - and must be left to history to winnow them down. In such an atmosphere the operational tools of the Opposition perhaps should remain as foggy as its definition. Since there're plenty of normative statements of the types 'must be or shouldn't be' and since these are in the realm of wishful thinking rather than actual acts or facts on the ground, then there's no point in trying to do anything, at this time, the tide is running too strongly in the other direction; better to sit tight and wait.

        What prompt such a thought was the call by some to hold the arms and fight the tyranny with its own medicine. It's tempting to either let it passes, or even to disagree strongly with such risky and potentially hope shattering matter. However, there's a fallacious turn here, if it's true, humans, with their sciences and knowledge were based on the principle of fighting a thing by its own tools: from eye-for-an-eye to microbes and their diseases, the kill and being killed was constant in the historical arsenal of every living being -perhaps it's part of its genetic make-up too! then there's nothing new in saying let's fight violence with more violence, let's give 'em some of the medicines they've so much used to intimidate and ultimately rooted out any opposing voices; and see what will come out. The wish is, this kind of pressure will bring the arrogant dictator to his senses and make him realize there's such a thing as'Others,' who though contend they were part of the mesh were never been recognized or given the chance to have any say on issues of national concerns. The faith is: Power used in the right dose and direction will temper power used in excessive and misdirected way. The risk, most likely the regime will opt for, is the scorch-earth policy that will set the whole place on fire!

        The contenders of such an 'approach' though are a bit fusty. The way they went about shuffling the argument was below logic's muster and was full of loopholes and the likes. Bouncing the pot around and mixing the ingredients in whichever way it comes ain't going to make the recipe give tastier and more digestible food. Cracking a lot of fireworks wouldn't add moxie to what supposed to be a cold-calculated approach. A confused and haphazardic equating of "Resistences' to colonialism and imperialism to Civil Strives and up to resisting a dictatorship was the sort of fly-in-the-cake that would quash the appetite and uncover the shaky props and speedy rush in the oversight of such gross and sweeping historical generalizations to give credit to an argument otherwise has no bones to stand on. For, to fight invasions or to resist outside interferences was one thing , and sticking a gun in the face of someone who has as much right as you do is another!

        To make it short, ain't deciding where one wants to go comes before what road one takes to get there. Deciding on the approach to fight a regime before getting some agreement on what will be the ultimate goal is repeating some of the mistakes, though understandable, committed by the colonialism's fighters. Omar el-Mukhtar and his likes, were caught by surprise in an unprecedented historical blindness, had fought, if for nothing else for their humanity, in the only way they knew how until their ultimate defeat. That's not the same with their present aspirants and successors! The reasons for today's players, their aims and tools, have, or should have, changed considerably since then. Qaddafi is no Giolitti and neither is a Mussolini, aside from the deceptive and recurrent comparisons! If the reasons for the previous generations were relatively circumscribed to those of invaders and the kicking out of their plundering armies from the national territory, they 've become since rather more ambitious and far reaching, that's, to establish first and then to participate in and to maintain a Commonwealth. If the goals went from reactive to what're now, hopefully, proactive, that's, because instead of battling foreign invaders, one's to argue with one's fellow citizens on how furthering rights and getting and preserving freedoms for all including the target(s) of contention must conducted. The objectives, mechanics, and therefore tools which are available today, or ought to be, are quite different from what were available to the generations of the Resistors of yore.

        Aside from the fact that in-your-face differences, between Resistance and today's Opposition go beyond the abstract and superlative uses some un-attentive writers have submitted them to, that only point to the deeper flaws in reasoning of their proponents -they were merely swooping high over the horizons into the stratosphere where terrestrial features were no more visible or even relevant to their logic. To compare Qaddafi with Mussolini, as some did with Saddam and Hitler, was and still is a gross historical mistake. Such comparisons would only lead one to fall into the trap of simplicity, and the simulacrum of appearances, nay! to miss the whole intricate subtlety of actual facts. Such pairs's similarities, as well as the many others who may fit the bill, were/are mere cartoonish appearances that fit into Marx's comment on apparent history's deceptive repetitions: the first occurrences were real tragedy and the second were mere comedy! How true it's! The latter day's simpletons, Qaddafi & Saddam, etc. have lacked, not only the historical context, organizational skills, purposes, as well as the tools and sophistication to effect even a ripple on the surface of a world gone by them. They, as well as their entire generation, have missed the opportunity to realize how deep in sh their societies were. They never understood themselves and what they saw, were mere symptoms of a deeper cancer that still gnawing at the body politic and the rest of the cultural-social fabrics. They may blame their lucks! Their circumstances have turned them from benign surgeons to full- blown butchers. If their ignorance and inexpertise have conspired to make of them murders in the garb of surgeons, nonetheless the apathy and indifference of their fellow travelers have turned the game of power into pure butchery.

        Adding fuel to a burning fire ain't going to quash it. More slaughters and violence will not make a revolution. Rather persistent and more patient work of building the social body brick-by-brick, like what everyone had done, is the more fruitful approach, though may take longer. What's the hurry? Perseverance and the drudge of routine and sometimes uninspiring work were the stuff from which history and perceptive visionaries had woven the successes of societies we admire. All good works need enough time!


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