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The regime and, also, sadly to say it its feeble and sterile opposition have focused their attention on the STATE: Either how to keep it or how to make it do what's deemed appropriate. Thus all the jockeying was for the aquisition of power, plain and simple! The working paradigm was always change come from the top down and the bottom will follow. Hence issues dealing with the state, as endowing it with constitution or making it work with the rule of law, etc. were bandyed around for to no end in sight. What nobody bothered dared to mention was how the bottom, the real possessors of power, the people who will receive the presumtive concoctions awaiting them? A fatal mistake which has been let to endure all this time, and which has led into the current stalemate with its potential catastrophic consequences. By missing the crucial factor to any reform, both the regime and its antagonists have been waging all this time a rather quixotic squabble than vigorous and sincere debate to search for a way out! Let's break the problem down. While the state aaws alawys a social construct, the country instead was a historical product. However, before there was a state and a government, there was a country. If one reason or another the state has failed meet the expectations of its citizens most likely the root causes must reside somewhere were the state was generated, that's, in the people and their culture. Thus changing the top without changing first dealing with the bottom most likely will be a waste of time. Because no matter how easier dealing the state, it will not be an effective and durable change unless the whole country and its people were ready to abide by it. For obvious reasons changing the state is tempting. Since manipulating few institutions at the top is much more malleable than dealing with the larger and messier enchalada of people and culture. But the state, not its neo-colonial version, but in its essence was always a derivative from people and their culture, and as such any manipulation will remain superficial and mechanical until its impact can be made to penetrate deep down into the way how people think of themselves and of their state. Thus no amount of monkeying with the apparatuses of the state will substitude for the real deal: Changing people's minds.
The failure of the oppostion in the last one-third of a century to make any lasting impact, was perhaps duly for targetting the wrong side of the equation: the state instead of its foundation. If the opposition has built its strategy, as all those who succeeded before had done, to address people's attitudes toward themselves, toward their country (including the state), and towards life in general the result would have been much more dramatic than the meager performance so far exhibited. But adopting such a strategy would have required different strategies, different set of ideas, and different tactics. Foremost, was to foregoing the aspirations of playing the prima donnas status of the groups and their leaders, and perhaps working long enough underground among the people to prepare the grounds for the next stage. This appraoch certainly would have also required more sacrifices, more acumen, and more subtlities, than the crude and ridiculuos refrains often heard about democracy, constitutions and the other nonsense blahs.
In accepting the logic of the political refrains, dealing with the world as it is rather that as it ought to be the opposition has frozen its imaginstion and paralyzed its abilitiues to forge new and fresh alternatives. Still the puzzling question facing both sides of the barricade who're busy these days in political dithering, is twofold: Whether reform can occur at all, without popular pressure, and if so could it happen from the top down? Can, will the regime of Colonel Qaddafi, in the absence of popular demands, reform itself from within? And if so at what price to the country?
Radical changes did take place in many parts of the world? But only when conditions were ripe. The latest, was in China! Could Libya emulate China? It all depends on whether conditions in Libya are comparable to those of China and whether Libya nad China have something in common beyond the mere fact of existance on the same planet earth. Has a regime, in essence, still a one-man's-show, any of the ingredients that would help in emulating the Chinese Communist Party or for that matter any other successful model, such as that of Singapore for example? Assuming others' experiences are transeferrable the question then becomes has Libya anyone close to Deng Xiaoping or Lee Kuan? Seif, not likely in a million years! The guy was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and a bunch of servants to clean it, never waded the muddy world or has known what real life limitations are. Thus why and how could such a person be expected to reform a regime he grew up with and to which he owes all what he's now? For survival! The regime was never in danger of collapse. To establish a dynasty? Perhaps! What about the so-called conservatives? Well, they've to fight for what they got. Whatever the bunch of fat-asses have gotten was only thanks knowing how to ingratiate themselves to whoever was holding their leash. As to the notion because these folks are scared from change? Well, who blames them! If only they knew were change is going and what will bring to their status.
One can argue the whole notion of reforming a sclerotic and atrophied regime as that of Libya is no more than a figment of a puerile imagination, a wishful thinking of scatterheads that have grown weary of waiting, than a real working possibility. No one has explained so far in plain terms how and why a regime which has been around for 42-years is now malleable to commonsense and is ready to listen. If so, on whose terms and to what? A regime which has excelled only in its awkward cluminsiness, utter ignorance, pure dumbness, and haughty arrogance; and has mocked and ridiculed almost any other human experience, has by far passed that stage where a bit of prod would suffice to bring it to its senses to recognize its limitations. Thus it's a waste of time and resources to expect an aging braggadocio, like Qaddafi, whose scorn for other people's thoughts and his trampling on other countries experiences have far exceeded even God's hubris, to offer the other cheek and reform Himself. It's clearly plain that the last 42 years haven't wisened up Qaddafi a bit to accept others' contributions or even to pay an ear to the grumplings and moanings of the millions who' still kept enslaved under his boots.
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