Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On The Belated Opposition In Libya

By Elias Harfoush
This commentary was published in al-Hayat on 01/03/2011

I am amazed by those who say that they have been caught off-guard by the current behavior of Gaddafi. Some of these had been, during the last week, ministers in the cabinet of the country of “the leader of the revolution,” or ambassadors to his regime at the United Nations and in the world’s major capital, and some were officers in his security apparatuses. Is it possible that these “have only just discovered,” on the 17th of this month, that Gaddafi is a reckless, mad, and blood thirsty dictator and that his and the interests of his family members come before those of Libya and its people, and [is it possible] that some made this “discovery” even later than that?

Some honesty is required, gentlemen. When the Libyan Minister of Justice says that he is in possession of information that proves the involvement of Gaddafi in the crime of detonating the American plane over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, would it not be the right of the victims’ families and the entire world to ask: where was the information of the minister and the apparatuses of “his justice” when the British tribunal were investigating this crime? And when the Libyan delegate to the United Nations, Gaddafi’s old friend and his former interior minister, says that the slogan of Gaddafi when ruling over the Libyans was: “I either rule over you or kill you”, then would it not be a right for people to ask: Where had Mr. Shalgam been in the last four decades when Gaddafi was ruling over the Libyans and stepping on their rights, sanctities, and freedoms under the slogan of “I either rule over you or kill you?” Was it not Saif al-Islam Gaddafi the one who was in charge - right under the noses of the Libyan officials who decided to break away from the regime belatedly - of leading the so-called “opening up” of this regime to the world, although he held no official post in the state’s apparatus?

“Gaddafi did not just start today his deeds of oppression and killing against his opponents inside and outside Libya. And Gaddafi did not condense Libya into his own person and into his family just today. He has been doing so for forty years. Therefore, moral courage and live conscience should have pushed those with chivalry and magnanimity to act earlier, had they really been keen on preserving the Libyan people’s blood and rights, and had they been really concerned about the democratic system in Libya. As to what they are doing today, this is an attempt at fleeing the ship before it sinks and this cannot be considered as constituting a stand based on principles in any case.

The matter is not only restricted to the fugitives from the ship of Gaddafi’s regime. There is a long list of Arab politicians and media persons who used the funds of Gaddafi’s regime, i.e. the money of the Libyan people, when they used to consider that the Libyan leader is a pioneer of Arab patriotism, and a successor of Abdel-Nasser, and a leader to the so-called national movements and Arab revolution. Some Arab “intellectuals” and novelists have been hosted in Tripoli’s luxurious hotels and they came back astonished by the “talents” of the colonel in areas of culture, intellect, and creativity, and by his unparalleled and literary “talents.” These too have discovered just today that there is a regime of oppression in Libya. And they found that their interest calls for standing by the side of the Libyans in their bloody confrontation of this regime.

And to be fair with those who were late to move away from the bloody regime in Libya, we must say that these are not the only ones with such an attitude in our region. Gaddafi’s regime is not unique with respect to the leader’s monopolization of power, and threats to “turn the country into coals” if his people considered asking him to step down. In addition, the politicians and the intellectuals who used to shower Gaddafi with words of praise do not only operate in Libya. Take a look around you so that you may see the many similar examples. In the name of “patriotism,” “progressivism,” and the liberation of Palestine, only in words of course, the leaders of these systems have allowed themselves to practice all kinds of actions against their people, and they have forged electoral processes, and oppressed their opponents. In the name of those systems, “masses” have applauded in admiration and have condemned the external interferences, considering them to be “foreign conspiracies,” in the exact same way adopted by Gaddafi and his son today. As to the slogans of the defense of freedoms and the right of the people, the Arab intellectuals only remember these when water penetrates the regime’s ship and it starts to sink.

No comments:

Post a Comment