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Why Ben Galbone’s Critics And Joy Attackers Are Misleading The Rest

The tone and manner of responses to Ben Galbone’s recent article is a window into the standard of our current political awareness and how we (Libyan nationals with access to the internet) make judgment. The window reveals a picture that lacks professionalism, painted with something unhealthy and it is surrounded with an air of unpleasant odor. This should worry us.

It is truly difficult to see why so many appear to take so much pleasure in the use of foul language and the throwing of printed abuse at someone with such a track record in the activities of the opposition against the Libyan regime. The analysis and summation of the Libyan case as described in the recent article written by Ben Galbone(1) is not beyond the possible. It is quite probably correct; the evidence is not merely circumstantial. To many impartial observers it must surely explain how the Libyan case, including the state of the opposition and the re-habilitation of Gaddafi & Sons, has ended to where it is now. Those who are (or were) involved in some shape or form must know deep down that this is about the size of things. Whether any will ever come forward is another matter. However, a number of critics (including some Libyan writers no less) decided that Ben Galbone’s conclusions are wrong (they used a more colorful language to make the point). The decision was definitive and expressed in a particular language that left no room for doubt as to their position. To make such a judgment in this manner, one has to have been close to the truth of the case in some way or another. One can be quite confident that the critics in this instance have never been anywhere near the truth. It is doubtful if they would recognize it if it knocked on the door. Therefore, one can be certain that these individuals who hurried to voice their views with such passion cannot really know whether Ben Galbone is right or wrong. But they decided one way early with full conviction.

The desire by many to label the analysis as mere fanciful writing and charge Ben Galbone with being disloyal to many who worked for the national cause, including those who paid the ultimate price, is based on the wish to create a particular impression regardless of fact. To voice a contrary opinion (even when it is plainly wrong) is a democratic practice and in some twisted ways it is helpful because it reflects what is out there. But to indulge in intentional misinterpretation of material and in the use of offensive language is reprehensible and must not be accepted by the rest. To deliberately misconstrue plainly presented material to force different conclusions to those intended, belongs to village mentality. This degree of dishonest practices in debate is worthy only of the immaturity in our politics and its new tradition aided by open access via the internet. Facts and reality are inconvenient factors quickly discarded to prepare the way for a satisfying orgy of abuse.

Many of the critics who hurried with enthusiasm to respond, knowingly or otherwise, make it appear to be legitimate and amusing to reduce a serious topic to their juvenile standards and divert attention away from the actual case. To ridicule the case in this manner is indescribable in a civilized language because the act itself is uncivilized. If we chose to accept this standard of criticism as expressed by many who wrote and dismiss Ben Galbone’s analysis as imaginary fairy tales, we will become as irrelevant to the Libyan case as these writers clearly are. Just like them, we may also be judged in mass to have undermined the case by failing to defend and protect it from the uniformed and the misinformed. If we close our eyes or conveniently ignore (for personal satisfaction) such standard of commenting, we simply help the acceptance of cesspool politics coloring our case. The case already suffers from enough illness of negligence and lack of sincerity. It is an ailing institution now by any standard. It hardly needs the affliction of absurdity driven by those who seem to enjoy the pointless throwing up of abuse.

Focusing opposition activity on the real issues requires identifying what the issues are first. They do not include throwing abusive language at each other, not even Gaddafi and his sons. What many seem to intentionally not acknowledge (or realize) is that, no matter how much or how gallant effort one puts into the case, if it does not hit the target it will be a waste. It is not just about heroics and wild promises. To direct effort at the right target one has to identify it first. That is what Ben Galbone has expressed in plain words.

Finally, it feels is as if the experiment of having open internet access to voice opinion has misfired in our case. It is not only the excessive use of insulting language; it is the enthusiasm to revel in irrelevance that is most distressing. The engineers must surely be saying: I told you so. That is even more upsetting.

Ahmed S. Mesbah
Not a Libyan writer living in London


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