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Response To Ghoma's Letter On Colonialism

Dear Mr. Ghoma,

I think it is easy for most Libyans to identify with what you wrote in your last article, albeit I doubt many bothered to read the entire thing. As you have correctly and comprehensively illustrated, the infamous legacy of colonialism still lives on, and the psychology of its effects have yet to diminish from the minds of the developing world's leaderships and civil societies. I appreciate your essay on this subject, especially your anecdote near the end: "It's neither by wailing nor by blaming countries and their peoples are going to gain a seat at the table." It is on this phrase that I will elaborate, because it is this sentiment abstract truth that deserves more attention and more work than on simply summarizing and putting a different spin on what many already agree on.

First, I would like to point out that Academics in the West have for some time been making serious efforts to promote the reversal of the effects of colonialism. The famous historian Martin Wight, the founder of the English School of International Relations, Hedley Bull, and the non-interventionist guru RJ Vincent are but a few who have written extensively on the demands of the 'Third World', all with the consensus that the West must immediately cease to intervene in the affairs of the developing world. Forget the logic of their appeals, and imagine what the implications of complete non-intervention would be. Simply put, if the West simply withdraws its presence as much as possible from the 'Third World', who would be left to blame for the woes of the developing world but they themselves? The academics such as those of the English School are very much aware of this, and some of their proponents hold that complete non-intervention would accelerate the rise of the developing world's capacity to improve itself. This simply solidfies Mr. Ghoma's anecdote, and many others who have the forsight that change better come now and that we Libyans and our fellow periphery-citizens must be responsible for that change, because as we know the West will not do it for us.

If we accept that change must come from us, and it must come sooner rather than later, the second issue is the question of how? It is, I think, obvious that a sense of urgency must be felt amongst the majority of Libyans, and what other way to do that than through awareness. The Libyans must know that at this point, it is not America or Israel or what have you that is responsible for the woes of the Libyan people, but it is Colonel Gidaffi and his ineffective and brutal regime. The common response among Libyans, is of course, 'Allah Ghaalib, Alhamdulillah Aysheen'; Allah is the victor, praise to him we are alive. Truly, all praise is to Allah. But Allah does not ask those who believe in him to be complacent and to guarantee suffering for future generations. In the contrary, Allah's messenger Muhammed SAW said that the true believer is like the rain, wherever he goes he causes benefit.

Now then, I wonder how many Libyans are aware that if the current fertility rate in Libya holds, we will have a population of 16 million by 2030. The narrow budgetary surplus of the Libyan government, with a citizen population of barely 5 million, will certainly turn into a severe deficit if the same severe corruption and irresponsible spending patterns continue concurrent to the rapidly rising Libyan population. And with major industries scrambling to find alternatives to petroleum, including far more effecient machines, the demand for Libya's world class, 'sweet' petroleum will fall, meaning less demand for our only real source of income. And with Gidaffi falling into the carrot-stick (actually, more like a baseball bat then a stick) trap of massive short-term drilling contracts, which send most of our petroleum revenues overseas (not to mention giving jobs to non-Libyans who will also send their incomes back to their respective home countries), it seems that Libya's economic doom is imminent. I only wish that Colonel Gidaffi would invest in a long-term development project with this straight cash that he is receiving from our American visitors, but all we see is that it is going into the pockets of his famous female bodyguards, his infamous children, and his notorious cast of 'revolutionary' thugs. We seem to be on the path to the vicious cycle of economic hardship that Chavez's Venezuela has taken.

Thanks to Ghoma and others, these hard facts are slowly creeping their way into the minds of the Libyan populace, and I can only pray that the urgency amongst those opposed to the Gidaffi regime increases quickly enough for something to be done about this nightmare--and fast. How it is done is not as important right now as having the support of the majority of the Libyan people, otherwise there can be no legitimacy in any take-over. Unfortunately, the only legitimacy that Gidaffi has right now is the by right of fear-mongering. The only fear that can overcome fear of Gidaffi, in my opinion, is awareness of the ever-more extreme suffering that Libya will endure if Gidaffi sticks around much longer. With that I pray that our talented Arabic writers take this editorial into account as they spur on the inevitable change.

Wa Salamu Alaikum,
A. A. Omar


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