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Time To Grow Up

My dear brothers and sisters

Again I have to apologize for those of you who do not read or write English. Believe it or not I am still working on acquiring Arabic software for the Macintosh. In any event I am very pleased that at least I am able to read your Arabic posts off the net without much difficulty. Thank you for writing and for sharing your ideas and thoughts. Please permit me to express to all of you my sincere thanks for your courage, particularly those of you who have as much to lose as everyone else but took the plunge and wrote using their real names.

I am really disturbed and disappointed at some of the posts I have been reading over the past couple of months. Maybe I am wrong but what I am seeing are posts by Libyans who spend more time attacking each other other than attacking the regime. Mr. Abdulhamid was attacked for what was perceived by some his attack against Islam. Azzwari first for expressing pride in his culture and next for his posts that attacked various segments of the opposition, Al-Ishaa for saying we need to evaluate our beliefs, and what I believe to be the unfair attack against Dr. Jabballah Musa for loving Barga. I love Barga as well but it doesn’t necessarily mean that I hate Tripolitania or Fezzan. I love all Libya and if I didn’t I would not be writing this, but Barga and its people with all its shortcomings has a special place in my heart, because it is my home, the home of my family and friends and the place where I grew up in. I expect no less from any of you. It was in this spirit that I took Dr. Jabballah’s post. When push came to shove his article on the prisoners of conscience did not limit itself to Barga but to all Libya. These attacks did not limit themselves to individuals. Muslims became “beardos,” to some as though the majority of Libyans are not Muslim and hence “beardos,” and free-libya.com suffered unjust attacks. What I am trying to say is that we get caught up in small things that we forget the larger picture. Most of us left our home because the dictator prevented us from expressing our thoughts and beliefs. He provided us with no choice outside his miserable ideological diatribe. If I am not wrong freedom of thought, belief, and association are part of the freedoms of choice we are seeking and are the reasons we chose to leave our home and live in this Diaspora.

A simple question we need to ask is: when is the Libyan opposition going to grow up and crystallize into a serious movement that poses a real threat to this dictatorship? The answer is not that simple and requires a lot of work for it to succeed. But under all conditions we need to keep the following in mind. First of all there is no law that says we need to agree on everything nor is there one that says we need to like each other for us to cooperate. Secondly, different opinions are as I said the reason why we left our home in the first place so why are we opposed to them now. We should encourage different opinions in our movement and we should be proud that we enjoy a tolerant multiethnic society. Few countries in the world have been as tolerant as us in Libya. This is no time to create artificial divisions in our movement. This guy is Jebali, this guy is shirgawi, and this guy is gerbawi is premature. Wait until we remove that SOB and then we can bring all these issues up. Thirdly the decision by any of us to speak on behalf of the Libyan people is in itself wrong. Inshaa Allah they will soon get the chance to speak for themselves. Believe it or not we are like shop keepers each one of us trying to entice as many people as possible to buy his/her goods or in this case ideology. It just so happens that currently Gathafi has a monopoly. Finally you need to know that few Libyans know about what is going on in Libya and we provide for many Libyans a source of information about themselves free from governmental interference. If you do not believe me then please turn on the Libyan TV or read one of the regime’s rags that it calls newspapers.

We are lucky that we have a number of cyber sites such as this where we can debate, learn and teach, so let us use these wonderful places to bring us closer together and help each other in breaking up this monopoly. Surely we might disagree on everything except on the fact that we need to remove this dictatorship. And we need to do it fast. We certainly cannot do it if we use these sites to attack each other rather than to discuss important issues, including a serious debate about our culture, religion, and societal changes. Most important we need to evaluate the Libyan dictatorship’s actions and policies. We need to inform these people back home who depend on us with the truth about the regime not just rumors but facts. We are in a position to do that so let us.

I know this piece is long and for those of you who do not like to hear or read what I write, please bare with me because I do have a conclusion. The question that we need to ask ourselves is: are we ready to govern? The answer is no, we are not and if the dictator decides tomorrow to open up the electoral process and set up a new system of government based on popular elections he would beat all of us hands down by getting the majority of the popular vote. What I am trying to tell you is we need to provide an alternative to these people reading our posts, and we certainly cannot do it by attacking each other. We need to coordinate and assume a courageous responsible stance. When we do that I assure you the regime will start preventing Libyans from leaving the country. And until we do that Gathafi will encourage Libyans, to leave the country because he knows that with this stew we call opposition nothing is going to happen to him. Before he or any other political entity in the world takes us seriously we need to take ourselves even more seriously. It is obvious that these cyber souks irritate the Libyan regime particularly when one of us writes a probing piece on how miserable the regime and his policies are, or facilitates collective actions. No sooner is this posted than you see one of the regime’s hounds responding with one attack or another, so let us measure how successful we are by counting how many responses we get from these hired mercenaries. They have no choice but to respond and the more responses we get the more successful we are. They are reading the posts and they cannot claim ignorance, indeed maybe they will finally wake up to the misery of their reality. I think I have said enough and hence I leave you in peace.

Mansour O. El-Kikhia


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