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Libyan Writer Ghoma

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Friday, 26 January, 2007

The Show Must Go On!

By: Ghoma

Though Bubba doesn't know/ everyone is watching him,
He thinks of himself a god on earth/ while he's just a hen of birth.

        Once again, this week, that ineffectual body of semi-robots blabbers has held and concluded its on the fly session. The misnomered "General People's Congress'" (GPC) rap session has rubber-stamped what was fed to it by, who else, the dictator. Most of the final declaration was taken by the padded encomiums to the Leader and the rest was fluffed with marginal issues of non-consequential importance or effects to the average citizen. The Congress has formalized the few changes in the government skirting in the same time the most important decision the government has taken, that's, to lighten its load by 400,000 of its employees. So, it's useless to repeat again the established fact that this kind of pow-wow was as useless, as sterile, despite the inapt boisterousness of its name, as the scrub lands its members claim to represent and on behalf of which they purportedly parroted their "decisions". Basically this time, as in the times past, the session was a mere gabfest for dispensing of the habitual bag of horse manure of lauds to the caudillo who's made sure that the "People's Congress" remains a gathering of caricatures than of real flesh and blood human types. As to the 400k 'condemned victims, well, when they've accepted to work for him they've also put their fates in his hands, and what the boss decides the underlings have to accept. Masters never let their serfs on what future awaits them!

        The final declaration of what could only be described as pro forma, nominal session. Two days were not barely enough to leaf through the final declaration! The question when they'd time to deliberate on these worthless resolutions? The "declarations" and their tone, sound more like what one would hear from student's meetings, full of pompous nonsense and empty rhetoric, than a national legislative body presumably expressing, if not embodying, the collective wisdom of close to 6 million souls, in an third worldly "independent and sovereign state". High on empty rhetoric and short on what counts. Abstract nonsense that most Libyans don't give a darn fig about. Where did the everyday problems (education, healthcare, unemployment, etc.) Go; and who's taking care of finding solutions to them these days?

        The GPC's round has been echoed by another no less formulaic in its squeaks than the gathering of the group of the Muslims Brothers, or whatever they're! These latter, though their location was improbable, have timed their get-together with the same calendar they habitually calibrate their deliberations and findings with, that's, according to the logic of somewhere out of the Milk Way galaxy's circumlocution. They declared and re-affirmed their desire for reform! But only they, one doubts if God also knew, what was meant by it beyond the perfunctory rhetorical phrases. Since God, according to Mr. Darwin, had missed on the business of creation in the first cycle, maybe this time around He wills to catch up with and help these folks effectuate their desires!

        Whatever else Herodotus had meant with his observation "from Libya comes the new," it'd have, and still is, made more sense to mean some strangeness of habit or bizarreness of behavior rather than the more habitually thought of and wishfully boasted about, that of ingenuity and inventiveness. There's nothing in recorded history or under our eyes to support the imaginative side. And, to be honest with ourselves, strange things do occur in that parch of all strange lands. Just to stick close with the times, for instance, one doesn't need a lot of head scratching or brain wracking to realize how in the last 38-years, actions and their counteractions were carried out by the same actor over and over again. Bizarre! Hold on to your seats. There's more to come.

        Revolutions and coups do occur in many countries. Revolutions, occasionally, do get deviated and mismanaged, coups do get vitiated and corrupted. But in almost alle times, the old guard was ushered from the stage by a new crop of leaders, who, in taking over the helm would purge the corruptions and start maneuvering to redirect the march. This has never happened so far in the land of scrub, sun and sands. The same guy, or bunch of guys, who did the coup, turned it into a revolution, then when time came shook it up, you guessed, to devolve to something else, perhaps another undreamed of cockamamie. It ain't even with the tune of the old refrain: one step ahead, two steps back, but rather, this time, a complete U-turn, all the way back to square one! After close to 4-decades of beating up on the songs, of the "God Is Great" mixed sometimes with the"Internationale," the conductor -who thinks of himself as no less than a virtuous maestro!- thinks now it's time for change to:" I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy!" and his choir will hum back: "New York, New York it's a wonderful town! The Bronx is up and the Battery's down." After all the promises to building a stairwell to Paradise, the Libyans now have to start digging a hole for who-knows-where, perhaps even to Hell, if where they live now is not hot enough to quality for the Inferno?.

        To be fair, neither the coup nor what came after it were original thoughts or genuinely thought about. They were mere copies of other bad enchiladas. Nasserism, Maoism, Castroism, Bismarkism, Garibaldism, etc, name it, all were Mimicked never were reached. The thoughts and methods of the mavericks were chewed upon, distorted, and got mixed into bizarre brews of Islamism, Arabism, Socialism and the foggiest of them all, 'non-exploitable Capitalism'! Thus a vague and nebulous wish of Never- Never-Land's hazy dream was concocted, and a dismantling of an already decrepit coalitions of tribal association with their pro forma and dilapidated half-standing state apparatus was started. What was, in the best description, no more than perhaps, badly, if not wrongly, half- built state, were to be replaced with a never tried hallucinations which have ushered in some sort of phony republic. It was named, from all things, the 'People's Republic!' Where neither the people nor the (re)public came to anything. It was a sham. A playacting as one of those plays in the theater of the absurd, with no actors or script, only the director looming large on the stage.

        The sham went on longer than what was in the normal run-of-the-mill situations would have or reasonably expected to go. Had not Libya been an oil-producing state, Qaddafi and his cronies would have long run themselves into bankruptcy. But thanks to oil and what magic it can do, a plethora of tricks matched with a proliferation of wanna-bees or hired hams, hacks, and their sisters, cousins, and aunts kept the ship from sinking. Committees here, committees there, committees everywhere. Long meetings, shufflings, communiques, declarations, and what have you, all were out of hot air. Tragic actors performing pitiful roles in cameos not of their making. The script was written and the play must go on. The director with his baton, on the central stage, from applaud to another, waves his magic wand to change the scene and send the actors to pack or just to put on new costumes for the next episode.

        This show has been going on now for 38 years, and no interruption is on schedule. Unlike many who'd preceded in the art of magic, their deceptions went just for so long, until someone else had inherited the mantle to start assembling the broken pieces together again, perhaps with new crews, set and equipment, a script, and no less a slogan(s) for the caravan to move on. The Libyan show was stuck, as anything else has with the Arabs, in a vapid refrain not many want to hear anymore. But the phoney night-on-white-horse, the Saladdin, and the savior of the wretched, depressed, and oppressed has still with few tricks up his sleeve. Mu'ammer , who has, for so long prattled about socialism, is now ready to turn the page and to go capitalist, if that's what the people want and desire, ha, ha, ha! According to the improvised scenario, he's mere servant of the people,, and whatever they wish, become his orders. (Nice try in humility!). Instead of the passive consumerist 'welfare' or rather Hell-fare! state now it will turn into Wild Wide West of capitalism and fast. The only thing is what was done over a period of more than three decades, has now to be disposed of in matter of few years, three years! 400,000 employees of the committees have to be dismissed and their shouts, screams and fartings have to be done away with! Overnight, the state has realized, it needs to be smaller! Why? What difference does it make, if the state doesn't work, to be big or small. No one, it seems, have yet figured out, what will happen to the market, economy, employment, corruption, crime, etc., once one-third of the population finds itself on the sidewalks of life. What buying, that's paying, these unfortunates will do to the demand and supply? And what would happen once they've spent their money?

        Self-motivation, initiatives, and entrepreneurship are not genetically encoded in each one of us, they're acquired, thus they need to be sowed, watered, guarded, and encouraged. It'll take generations to have such an outcome, if ever, meanwhile the "Committees" are stuck with what they've been sowing for so long, and they cannot wash their hands off that easily, from the consequences of their actions. They've to deal with the crop, even when they don't like the harvest. The cast has long been molded. The spots are there and the giraffe cannot be expected to morph into a gazelle to fit with the new circumstances, at a wave of a wand. Change and evolution take their time, and to accelerate their rates, one must go by their laws and understand their processes in order to find what kicks them on and thus interfere at the right point, in the appropriate stage to achieve the desired speed.

        But this could only happen in a place where rational human beings and not a bunch of nuts reside. For as it's also customary, at least for others, to have an opposition that opposes on principles.. An opposition with visions and a will to work for something and to say something beyond the customary hosannas, as well as some ways to go about doing business of opposing. Libyan opposition groups, such as the one just met, are proving there's always the exception that makes the rule what it's. They're proving that opposition opposes until they reach to bargain their way in. To this kind of oppositors, Qaddafi has become a feature, no different than the many other natural and man-made features in the country, though harsh yet one learns to live with. Therefore, if one wants reform, one ought to start by reforming oneself, and one way to do it is by reducing one's expectations. Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeform!

        Between the Soviet Union and China, there're a bunch of other countries which took other ways to affect meaningful changes -Korea, India, Singapore, etc. One thing, though was constant, that's, any change starts in the minds and hearts before it finds its way to the realty of brick and mortar. A conscientious and critical self-awareness, foresight, hard work, continuity, and a burning desire to change course and to seek a decent and better way of life. Without any of these, reform or change, will remain mere cosmetics, if not for their own sakes, then for the convenience of those who initiate them. Libya has been changing from its modern rise, just to remain the same. Because it wants to be, as the Italians say, the flask full and the wife drunk, be religious and conservative and modern in the same time. Squaring the circle! A mother of all contradictions and a puzzle to all time: How to change yet remain the same?


More Articles Written By Ghoma

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