Welcome to Public Opposing Views in Libya
by Jim W. Dean featuring… Professor Kelly Elshafey
The Arab Spring has unleashed open debate in countries not used to the pleasure, or irritation, depending on who has the media power to push one message over all the others.
And they will soon learn that Democracy has it’s down side, and that is being in the Olympic Medal running as one of the most corrupt forms of government on the planet.
All of them are. Your choice is literally a ‘pick your poison’ one, hardly a reason to throw a party.
As VT has been writing, the Libyan story, past present and future is going to be written by the New Libyans.
But I adjust that today to add, ‘…and their neighbors’, thanks to this interesting piece we found from Prof. Elshafey, a veteran witness to the Egyptian Suez and Israeli Wars.
I disagree totally with this ‘they are after the oil’ over focus. Oil exploration and development has always been a specialty business. Even Gaddafi found it better to ‘buy it’ rather than to develop and in-house capability.
And by ‘after the oil’ I can only take that to mean that after paying Libya for their oil for all of these years, the new government is going to be a party somehow to it’s being stolen.
Despite everyone in the new government seeming to be united in Libya not becoming a NATO aircraft carrier, this mantra continues from parties outside Libya, Arab and non-Arab.
NATO was asked to stay on to January 1, and said no. That must be an secret takeover of some kind.
But that disagreement does not erase the good professor’s other points below.
Throughout history, people have always preferred to be killed, robbed, raped, or tortured by their own people versus, heaven forbid, ‘foreigners’.
Personally I feel if the dead could be interviewed they would tell us they are equally bad.
VT’s early position was to back the rebels and finally let the Libyans themselves run their show. We also backed the Egyptian Revolution from day one.
As with Egypt, this process can be a rocky road to say the least. But good or bad the result will be theirs. If a boot ends up on their neck it will be their own, like the one we have here in the U.S.
The Libyans have the unique position of not being broke, hence are not vulnerable to the entrapment loans now gobbling up even ‘free’ western countries. Who knows…in ten years Libya might be selling visas to come and live there.
What North African country would not trade places with the Libyans on having their oil reserve wealth to build a democratic country upon?
As I type the newly Saif Gaddafi is being interrogated now, along with his father’s communications Intel chief who was captured in Sirte. And Tunisia is extraditing Gaddafi’s Prime Minister back to Libya for trial.
Add that to all the paper and compute archives seized, along with all the mid level people still there to fill in the holes, and we are going to hear a great deal about how the old Gaddafi regime was run.
I do worry that a lot of the nasty stories of his dirty dancing with the Western countries for so many years, especially after 2003, that some deal has not been made to keep all of that hidden.
I don’t see how when the new, fully elected government is in place they would allow themselves to be bound to a dirty deal done by the interim people. But that said, there is a thing called corruption.
But, enough from me. Now let’s hear from Professor Elshafey, who knows what it is like to be under fire as an Egyptian, having been a witness to the 1956 Suez War and those that followed.something.
We also share the trials and tribulations of the regime changes sought by so many in both our respective countries.
Muammar Gaddafi’s Death
Response to Critics on Comments on Farrakhan’s …by Professor Kelly Elshafey
Following the comments on my article by Jeff and Enrique, and without resorting to personal attacks, I would rather stick to the substance of the subject matter.
And I would start by saying that, although I salute my critics support to Arab causes specially that of Libya, but they both forget that I am an Arab and I am an Egyptian.
It is difficult to imagine that my support to the Arab and Muslim cause is less than theirs.
One of my critics challenges my friend Ali Baghdadi, questioning his judgment of allowing my article to be published.
That instantly places my critics within a different school of thought in that; he cannot tolerate an opposing point of view.One of the basic principles in any democratic system is the freedom of expression; and widening the debate is good for democracy.
Baghdadi is an honest journalist; not only he can listen to the opposing view but he can also defend the right to publish it. And that commands respect.
I challenge both my critics if they can present one single evidence that a free voice in the Libyan media was expressed in the last 42 years. Those who dared, we now know, were behind bars for so long, some had disappeared in deep holes in the Libyan Desert, or forgotten in the darkness of the Libyan Jails.
I am not pretending to be an expert on the subject as my critics’ claims; but I can proudly claim that I would never support an oppressive regime.
I lived through the awful experience of the evil aggression on Egypt carried out by England, France and Israel during the Suez War in 1956.
I have witnessed the destruction and death left by the air raids, shelling and bombardment.
I also witnessed the six days war when Israel with the implicit support of America, England and France, destroyed the entire Egyptian air force in one disastrous morning.
Thousands of Egyptian army forces in Sinai who were left without air cover were killed during the Israeli advance towards the Suez Canal.
The shelling and bombardment left three of the Suez Canal cities in total ruins.
After the guns fell silent on both sides of the Suez Canal, I accompanied an Arab delegation in one of two coaches showing them the devastation of the three cities caused by Israeli artillery during what was called then, the attrition war.
Few hundred yards behind our coach, a land mine exploded under the second coach in our convoy. The coach was blown to pieces, and body parts scattered on the dusty road.
I lost friends and colleagues and fellow Arab delegates. I know from personal experience how to be on the receiving end of an aggressive and powerful enemy supported by western powers.
With due respect, both of my critics never had this experience.
However, after absorbing the initial shock of the massive defeat, Egyptians did not rise against Nasser, they did not ask for his resignation regardless of the heavy defeat and the national humiliation.
The death toll among armed forces and bad military and political leadership did not instigate a military coup.
Nasser had the courage and pride of a leader to offer his resignation. Gaddafi had neither when there was an uprising, and public demand for him to leave power.
When Nasser offered his resignation on the 10th of June 1967 after the heavy defeat of the Arab armies, the whole nation rallied around him; ironically the biggest gathering was in Tahrir Square in the night where Cairo was under total darkness for fear of air raids.
I was one of those people who rallied around him because he stood firm against the USA, he stood firm against Israel and its allies and he strongly supported the Palestinian cause; above all he had the courage to offer his resignation.
Unlike my critics, I don’t read from history books. I lived the experience.
Like millions of Egyptians and Arabs across the world, I wept when Nasser died although I had my reservation about his domestic polices. We lost a real hero, a true leader, not a fake one.
When Nasser died he left 72 Egyptian pounds in his bank account. Gaddafi left billions, not in a Libyan bank account, but in European bank accounts, in the countries, which he claimed had disgusted him, and which may not be even traced.
In the case of Gaddafi, the situation was different, in that, his people rose against him; he was not fighting an invading force. He was fighting his own people, killed thousands and imprisoned thousands.
He called the thousands of peaceful protesters rats, unleashing his security forces and military machine to finish them off.
By turning against his own people, he invited a foreign force to protect them from his tyranny. NATO forces did not invade to protect human lives in Libya; neither did they invade to protect the human rights of the Libyans.
They invaded for the sake of Libya’s oil.
They have done the same in Iraq; and they are preparing for more of the same in Iran using Israel as a proxy.
Gaddafi knew that, and for this he is to blame for presenting NATO with the perfect opportunity to invade his country.
I attended one of Gaddafi addresses to a conference last year. He told the conference that he is not a Boss, he is not a President, he stressed that he is only the leader.
And this was cunning. In his understanding, a leader is the one who leads, and unlike a President he doesn’t need to be elected or voted in, he is only the guardian, the God Father of the Jamahiriya.
He could therefore stay in power for as long as 42 years until he is toppled, killed like Sadat or imprisoned like Mubarak.This is a crude and outdated interpretation for the concept of a leader in a democratic system.
I ask my readers and my two critics, what kind of democracy is that which allows a leader to stay in power for 42 years? And what kind of defense one can put in favour of a man who stays in power for that long? Gaddafi financial support for autocratic regimes in Africa can hardly be a defense in his favour.
Had the Arab league and the African Union had any spine, or had their members’ governments were not as bad as Gaddafi, they could have taken on board the responsibility of forcing him to step down.
The Arab league member states are authoritarian regimes and the African union member states are not only authoritarian, but by far they are the biggest beneficiaries of Gaddafi fortunes.
I also question my critic’s judgment on how then can we deal with the killings of thousands of innocent citizens both in Yemen and Syria.
Field Marshall Saleh has been in power for 33 years; the Assad dynasty has been ruling Syria for over four decades.
I am not advocating inviting foreign powers to any part of the Arab world. But what seems preposterous to my critics, might be the only logical solution, that is, for the dictators to step down to save their people’s lives, and their family member’s lives and to prevent foreign powers from intervening.
Gaddafi had the chance to save himself, his own children and his country had he stepped down and agreed to fly out with the South African President to a safe haven, but he refused to leave the seat of power sacrificing even his own sons. In the wild, animals sacrifice their own lives to save their offspring.
One last point I would make regarding my critics opening sentence; “I will not delve into the following essay because of the number of contextual errors”.
I can only humbly say to him that, I could have written my article in more that perfect Arabic without contextual errors had he been able to read it or make sense of it. My article was not intended to be for a literary contest.
Regarding other personal attacks, I will rise above that. It makes a political debate rather cheap.
Prof. Kelly Elshafey – Lecturer in Human Resource – Manchester Metropolitan University