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To Libyan Immigrant

Dear Libyan Immigrant,

Once again, I must reiterate that I understand your point, as I mentioned in my first response. All you have said as a rebuttal as that you are not convinced, citing other authoritarian rulers as a testimony to your point. However, the correlation between the micro-level corruption and authoritarian rule is not as strong as you make it out to be. I would think that if Europeans with their moral codes were plunged into the Arabian authoritarian systems of governance, they would be in a much worse off position than the peoples you have cited. The illusion that corruption occurs only in Arab states does not hold, including wherever it is you live in the world. Then what is the difference?

The difference is regulation and enforcement of the rule of law. As you know, Libya has no constitution. The Law is Gidaffi and those who are closest to him. These people, and I think you do agree with me, do not act in the best interest of the people, but in the interests of only themselves. In a constitutional system, or for that matter, in a pure, theoretical Islamic system with the Qu'ran as the constitution, nobody is above the law. As soon as the law is broken down in one place, or if the law is not respected, the system breaks down. This is precisely the case in Libya. How can you expect people not to be corrupt, when poverty is staring them in the eyes and severe corruption at the elite level highlights disparity? And as we all know, as soon as a brave writer from within Libya dares to attack the problem, his fingers are cut off and he is murdered in cold blood. So it is that corruption is not only permitted, but enforced by the government.

In western democracies, or for that matter in any constitutional state, the corruption I am highlighting does not occur because the people are better than those in Libya, but it occurs because the people as a whole look after their own good. Corruption hurts everyone, and it is thus intolerable. A constitutional government would then develop and enforce laws to combat corruption. Gidaffi's government does the extreme opposite. So how can you point the finger at the people?

Having addressed this, I must highlight what you wrote in the bottom of your last letter: "...I don’t see glimpse of hope in them and we actually live the punishment of god, and we deserve it."

I honestly don't mean to attack you personally, but I would like to empiricize what I said in the my first letter about the different kinds of people in Libya. First, there are those that ARE the problem. Second, there are the hopeless and the cynics who just live with it, including yourself, and right now, I think these are the majority. Finally, the third category are those who are true to their morals, and are trying to make a difference for the good of everyone. If you do not like what is occuring in Libya today, there is no point in belonging to any category but the third. This I say not just to you, but to everyone, Libyan or non-Libyan. And the first thing you must do to join the third group is to dispel the myth that there is no hope. Allah is The Just, and he is with his Just subjects.

Ramadhan Mubarak

Libyan Student


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