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Dr. Hadi Shalluf's Initiative: A Step In The Right Direction

Libyan opposition to Gaddafi's military regime is as old as the regime itself. Ever since its early days in power, there were numerous attempts to get rid of Gaddafi and his henchmen. Since those early days, several opposition groups emerged, some were sizeable in numbers, and others were merely made up of a few individuals. All of them have contributed to the noble cause of liberating Libya from Gaddafi's tyranny, and many of them are still contributing to our common goal: A free and democratic Libya. National and international circumstances have changed, dictating that we also have to adapt our strategies to our new environment.

The recent developments in the Lockerbie tragedy, and the exorbitant ransoms that Gaddafi has accepted to pay out of our peoples' wealth, has angered all of us whether we are inside or outside Libya. This anger and outrage has resulted in a petition to the UN Security Council, denouncing Gaddafi and declaring Libya's innocence of any crime attributed to Gaddafi. Since Gaddafi is responsible for all crimes committed in Libya's name, he alone should stand trial in an international court for crimes against humanity. The petition has had a major impact nationally and internationally; it has received wide publicity in many news outlets.

Indeed no one can doubt that the petition was a step in the right direction, but is it going to be a single step borne out of our emotional reaction to events, or is it to be a beginning for much more to come? The road to freedom is long and arduous. It requires toughness of mind and body to reach its end. We have to be determined, patient, persistent, and accommodating of our differences. We should also be willing to invest time, energy, and money. Money is an important part of any activity, including efforts to free Libya.

Most recently, Dr. Hadi Shalluf undertook an initiative to prevent, or at least delay, payment of the ransom money to the victims of Pan Am 103. We all believe since Gaddafi accepted responsibility for the crime, he should stand trial in an international court of law. Dr. Shalluf recently appealed for our commitment and financial support, and I wish to ask all of our Libyan brothers and sisters to donate and fill in the form, giving Dr. Shalluf the Power of Attorney to represent us. The information and form was posted on Akhbar-Libya home page.

In just over a week, Gaddafi will be celebrating the 34th anniversary of his theft of Libya. We must mark the day with protests and press releases in all places where we reside, particularly prominent cities such as London, Washington, Paris, Rome, and others. We should lobby national political figures, human rights organizations, legal organizations, and political institutions. More detailed plans for actions will be forthcoming, and will be publicized on Libyan web sites and other appropriate venues. I conclude this letter by urging all Libyans to contribute to Dr. Shalluf's initiative, and to do so immediately, as time is of the essence. The success of Dr. Shalluf's effort is dependent on our generosity and the expediency of our responses.

Mohamed M. Bugaighis, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Statistics

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