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Libyan Writer Ghoma
الكاتب الليبي غومة

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Saturday, 23 April, 2011

North American Libyans Have Just Held a Meeting..?

By: Ghoma

        I'm puzzled! I still cannot fathom how Libyans do things. For, sometimes, I couldn't but wonder why they do what they do or for what purposes. Thus, for instance, it's not an every day occurrence when a scattered group of expatriates come together. One expects before it happens a gran hoopla would precede it, and a great noise would fill the air waves and its surrounding ether, announcing to the multitude the advent of this unique and rare historical occurrence. That was not what took place this time around when a gathering has been called for and Libyans as it was claimed from all over the North American continent's hills and vales came together. They'd just concluded the meeting, in Washington DC. and a bunch of photos have popped up on computer screens. That's what caused the thinking of: there must be something peculiar about this group of people in the way they do things. With all the available means of communcation, that have linked people with each across time and space to rise and demand their denied rights all around the globe, Libyans appear to still prefer that old-fashioned way of connection: word of mouth. So the guess is, some group or another must have taken initiative and had called on some others to come together in a hotel conference room in Washington DC, this last weekend. And indeed, if one believes in the truth of photos, they did gather, presumably on behalf of the rest of North American Libyans. Hallelujah, rejoice, oh busy and scattered flock! your shepherds are toiling hard on behalf of you! Nontheless all the happiness, one question remains to be answered: Who had called for this meeting, by what means, and why?

        In these trying times when their old country is in turmoil, trying to join the global village, Libyans in North America are still insisting on perpetuating the ways reminiscent of the Colonel. At least in some of his not very subterefuged ways, as when he pumps his fists in the air claiming to be loved by the masses while killing them. Or whatever and whenever he says something it's directly inspired by that much despised yet obliging flock, called the Libyan people. Thus his faits were always: In the name of the Libyan people, for example, I'm waging a war to exterminate those who rebel against their masters. You got the drift!

        I'm not sure if I've to say it nor how to say it but clanism and cliquism seem to be alive and well among Libyan expatriate community in north America! This last episode is but one good example of how the old-country-home-grown-tradition of chummy-chummy, scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours, has been trasplanted intact onto the north American continent. Maybe such habits by their nature are hard to die. Maybe they're held no differently than say any treasured icons of relics for old times' sake, or mementos to remind of that far away place. These and others, rest assured, are succeessfully inhabiting their new fertile grounds and blooming.

        Had I been talking about some banal and forgotten item, the matter wouldn't have necessitated all this excessive seriousness. Nor am I talking about some back-alley ways which some folks may use when they've to deal with some unexpected event, rather what I'm trying to belabor is a full-fledged way of proceeding that's so ingrained -and revered- to such an extent that it's become the dominant modus operandi among these folks. However, before it gets even hotter, let me stop here to take a deep breath and say: it's timely, at this point, to state an obvious fact, that's, such a gross generalization would be as valid as it's close to the truth, but like any other generalization dealing with a large number of people, its closeness to centering on and hitting the target as doubtful, when the numbers grow larger, as a high flying airplane will spot Qaddafi and hit him. However, it's also opportune to remind ourselves that this mode of doing things, unfortunately, was not an acquired new habit, dictated by the circumstances of emigartion, nor is a newly advised way to operate, Perhaps necessitated by the 42-years of the police-state. No, its strain goes deeper in the pysches, if not the genes, of Libyans and has been passed on to the present crop of operaters in the North American market. That may have been the reason that the hunchos who'd called on some expatriates while neglecting the rest seem to have done it with ease of conscience; for they must have felt no compulsion to spread the word about their intended affaire. They have called on their friends and followers, in the Libyan community of North America, to come and hear them expostulate what was on their minds, on behalf, of course, of all Libyans and/or Libya.

        These maybe harsh words but as they say tough times demand tough measures. Let's be straight and tell those who've organized last weekend events they should have met under their own banners. Instead of North America Libyans, only those who were present. Perhaps under Libyans for this persuasion or that, or for this cause or another. They should not have appropriated and used the name of the community when most of this community had no inkling of the meeting. It's possible that the confab was for good and legitimate reasons, but one must ask if that was so, why then it had been kept under lock and latch until it was over. Perhaps they were aware of an old fact: communities in general dislike surprises. As when particularly something as big as mobilizing a whole community, appears all of a sudden on some websites: A meeting was held this past weekend, 16-18 April, 2011 in Washington DC, under the banner of: "North American Libyans Conference". These folks, which from the pictures that were posted on Libya Watonana, appear to have been of a good size but far from all Libyans in North America. Though they had met for three long days no word has leeked out yet with information about the confab's goings, or something on its proceedings. No text has accompanied what they'd deemed appropriate for the public to see. Hence, one senses, the series of photos must be seen as to have been intended as proof there was a meeting held than to let people know what the meeting was all about. Not even a bit about what had transpired in these meetings, about its deliberations, or what conclusions were reached. One regrets this lack of information that may have shed some lights and put in context the documentary character of these photographs. As, for example, divulging who'd called for the confab, how it came about, perhaps few words about the motivations which had prompted it, and the conditions under which this meeting, as it appears to have been hurriedly put together, was held. But most importantly few words on what has been reached.

        I don't know how many Libyans in North America have heard of this meeting, but I for one have not heard until it was concluded and someone posted some trace of it. If the meeting was intended for all Libyans then there should have been a better way to promote it and let people know of its agenda and all the other relevant information, its sponsors, etc. advertized in advance. If it's just for a specific group of Libyans then they should not have availed themselves of all encompassing banner under which they'd met. They should have restricted themselves to who they were! As " The Activist Libyans in North America" or any other title suitable to their fancy.

        This will bring us to an important question to ask: is this mode of operating the best way to proceed and to build a loyal expatriate community? Certainly not if the few activists, or those in the know, were in the habit of calling only their buddies and acquaitances. How then to get out of this jam and institute an expedient and trasparent way to do things? By effecting some changes to the traditional way of doing things, as, for instance, going from exclusion to inclusion. Availing themselves with traditional as well the other kinds. All Libyans should be invited regardless of their opinions, regions, or any other mark or trace used to differentiate between one individual and another or one group from the rest. Meetings then will become true Libyans and could be appropriately intitled to the all-encompassing epiteth, that's of all Libyans. Short of that no one individual or a group is intitled to appropriate the name of Libyans nor worse to be their spokesperson. It goes without saying that any number of individuals or a group are free to meet whenever they please, the only condition, if it can be called that, is to be under their own wieght and name.


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