The return of Saadi Gaddafi to the country early this week and his detention in Tripoli prison is much welcomed news. This is a crucial step forward in the cleaning process the country so much needed and frankly was not happening. The hope is that it is soon followed by similar successes.
Since Libya was officially declared liberated in October 2011, we have had elections, assassinations, resignations, more assassinations, protests, tales of government corruption, Libyans killing Libyans, bombings, kidnappings, former revolutionaries becoming militia groups, militia taking control of oil export ports and so on and so forth.
In addition to these chaotic features we witnessed a new deeply disturbing phenomenon, Azlam (a term now used to describe members of Gadaffi’s regime) have dared to show their ugly faces in public completely unafraid and unashamed. The dogs stage demonstrations and wave the green cloth all in the name of democracy and free speech. Apparently in neighbouring Egypt, Azlam enjoy a high profile status and are not afraid to make their intentions toward the new Libyan state clear. The public show of confidence by Azlam is yet the biggest insult to the nation, to the memory of those who paid the ultimate price during the 17th of February revolution and the clearest testimony to the incompetence of the people in charge of our country and the impotence of the state system.
The nation is descending rapidly into irreversible anarchy. The country is in a sad state of disorder and lawlessness, which has led to comparison by political observers with Somalia and Chad. The terrifying aspect of the Somalia image is that it is becoming more and more probable when recent and current events are taken into account.
In the past three years there has been assassinations left, right and centre in Libya, namely of those who were prominent political activists including Abdulsalam El-Messmary of Benghazi. Investigations of these killings were non-existent and to this day the killings have gone unpunished. According to the Libyan General Congress, a total of 643 Libyans were killed in assassinations over the course of 2013. It is not just Libyans who have been targeted, but also foreigners and the most high-profile of these was the assassination of US ambassador Chris Stevens and the American teacher Ronnie Smith. It is very difficult to point the finger to who exactly was behind these murders or even the motives behind them. But one has to ask who is benefiting from spreading criminal acts and insecurity in the country? Who gains when the new Libya sinks deeper into chaos? Azlam certainly come to one’s mind. The murders and absence of fruitful investigations provide more evidence for the systemic state failure and the uselessness of those in charge.
In the same week that Mr El-Messmary was murdered, the main Court House in Benghazi was targeted and bombed. It should be remembered that it was at this very courthouse that the revolution was initiated. The grandmothers and the mothers of the victims of the Abu-Saleem Prison massacre, dared to march to the courthouse demanding the release of their lawyer who supported and represented their cause, Mr Fathi Terbil (who was detained in the courthouse). There were clashes with the police guards, which sparked what we now know as the 17th of February revolution. Shortly before the bombing of the court house, an apparent prison break out occurred in Al-Kuwayfiyah in Benghazi, where hundreds of pro-Gadaffi fighters, soldiers and criminals who were imprisoned during the revolution, were released. Video footage of this showed prisoners leaving with suitcases, which meant they were prepared, which also means someone probably aided them in their ‘break out’. All of this anarchy occurred within days of each other (in the holy month of Ramadan no less) and cannot be dismissed as a mere coincidence or even bad luck.
In summary Libya has plunged rapidly into absolute and violent turmoil and faces the biggest political and economic crisis of its short life as a liberated country. But the mega questions are: what do we as a people and as a nation do about this mess? Where do we start? Can we actually do anything? Naturally, in order to answer these questions, the underlying issues that led to this need to be understood in a fundamental manner.
The various reasons that pushed the country to the current state of disorder are many and have become diffused into a non-ending circle of difficulties. In the view of many and on the basis of logic alone, these difficulties (complex and intertwined as they are) are man-made. Therefore the primary reason for descending to this sorrow state was (and still is), the comprehensive incompetence of the leaders who took charge of the country in the various stages since the 17th of February 2011. It is important here to state an obvious fact. Unlike the neighbouring countries where the economic conditions played a major role in leading to the current unfortunate conditions, Libya (thankfully) is a rich country with a comparatively small number of inhabitants. For these reasons what the country needed were good managers (not wannabe politicians). Good managers that have sufficient levels of honesty, sincerity and whole hearted commitment to the national cause to steer the nation through the transition period. One good example of management is the National Libyan football team who succeeded against the odds and got the job done, because they had decent managers with zero interference from our congress (thank God), no involvement of politicians, and above all put their country and its prestige first and not their own interests. Hopefully it stays that way.
Sadly instead of capable and honest managers, the nation was given (via elections and other ways) ambitious individuals whose intentions appear to be the advancement of their own political goals. Worse still, many of whom, knowingly or otherwise, are eager to serve a destructive course for the country. They appear to do so because they enjoy the processes of democratic practices and spectacle of political finesses for their own sake. They literally play meaningless politics while the country suffers in pain. For example, members of the Congress spend more time plotting to fire the (temporary) government than enabling it to deal with urgent repair and finance matters. How unfortunate for the rest of us! How pathetic of them. This level of insensitivity by our own is beyond condemnation. It verges on the corrupt. This is Libya after 42 years of Gaddafi humiliation.
Descending to the current state of turmoil is regrettable and hopefully in the long term will correct itself through the will and pressure of the population. However, one of the most intolerable and deeply psychologically troubling features of the chaos must be the rise of the Azlam and their perception of opportunities to rule the country again in the style of their idol, the colonel himself. The show of defiance in Egypt and elsewhere casts a black cloud on our nation because these people are pure enemies of the Libyans.
One must ask the question how and why are the Azlam so confident in their position and so re-assured with themselves that no one can or will touch them? Why have they been allowed to get away with so much? The answer to all this lies in the fact that prominent Gadaffi ministers and family members have not been put on trial and justice has not been served. Lack of firm measures to deal with Azlam issues allowed them to feel secure in their position and confident enough to embark on the destabilising and criminal acts we see spreading in the country. The top four long awaited, non-existent trials of the worst offenders of the Gadaffi regime are of: Moussa Koussa, Saif-Al-Islam, Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam and Abdullah Senussi.
Not until this issue is resolved in a decisive and determined manner shall the Libyan society and state move on from their current turmoil and begin a new start into a new era. The Azlam dogs are casting a dark shadow over the new state and its prospects for security, peace and prosperity.
The two icons of Azlam defiance and ugly animosity to the Libyan people must be Moussa Koussa and Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam. It is must be noted that many Jewish organisations followed Nazi’s responsible for the holocaust for decades until each and every one was found and prosecuted. Even those aged up to their 80s and 90s. Now how can we the Libyan people allow Moussa Koussa and Gadaf al-Dam to allow to roam freely in our ‘friends’ countries (Egypt, Qatar, Jordan etc)??? We cannot allow this. This is an absolute disgrace and a downright spit in the face of the thousands of martyrs who died for our freedom.
One has to ask if it is possible that people in charge cannot or are unable to make a convincing argument to authorities in these countries where these dogs roam freely to be handed to the Libyan authorities. Is it so difficult to make a case to capture Gadaf-al Dam? The man has a history of serving Gadaffi’s dirty deeds for as long as 30+ years in Europe and in Egypt. If the people in charge in Libya at present are incapable of these basic factual issues, then perhaps they should just move aside and let someone else run our suffering country.
Capture these dogs and put these iconic criminals on trial and let justice be served in a public manner which will serve as a warning and a deterrent to the Azlam and to those making trouble who will not allow the country to move forward. It is only then Libya can move forward on a clean slate. Change cannot happen and will not happen with Saif sitting apparently awaiting trial in Zentan (why is this taking so long?) and no effort being made to capture Koussa or Gadaf-al-Dam. These people must be put on trial immediately and punished.
Libya is on a sick bed with no one advancing an effective prescription at present. The difficulties are man-made. It is time for the public to rise in mass and demand a clean sweep of the authority base, a complete change, and more importantly justice. It is only when actual justice is served and a real danger is removed, that Libya can truly heal and move forward.
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