Possibly I feel somewhat as Deelen (Deelen_Pillay 22 March) perhaps did when he saw the six pigs exceeding the speed limit as they passed him on the William Nichol highway, although the present tragic plight of Libyans can hardly be thought of in the same gaze as those of the pigs of the mid Rand in South Africa.
So, although I am at a loss to describe it, the plight of Libyans as they stand straddled, a nation divided by the contorted will of an obscene dictator, Tripoli their Berlin, is absolutely understandable.
Here is a nation of six million people, held in brutal captivity for 40 years, released in a brief moment of joyous demonstration on February 17, to hear wonderful ideas of democracy, freedom, justice: music to anyone’s ears. To be swept, a few days later in a tsunami of enthusiasm seven eighth the way across Libya from Benghazi, almost to the doors of the palace of the Great Man Himself in Tripoli, only to be thrown back a few days later by an assault, the viciousness and extraordinary violence of which we have only glimpsed, and with Gaddafi’s efforts to destroy the evidence, may not know the extend and depth of until the Hague prosecutors release to us the evidence they uncover and collect.
The violence wreathed upon unarmed Libyans has been horrendous and we must not underestimate the effect it has had upon them.
And so it may be the case that we in the West project too much of our enthusiasm with which we wish to embrace one more set of brothers and sisters in the Middle East into the warm and loving arms of world’s nations of democracies.
The few Libyans who had energy to respond to my silly hailing into the empty desert of Twitterland this morning, just a few hours ago, are most certainly right. (I must acknowledge the support of curioustip H, who stood with me in this moment of expression of pain, who says, “The next step in Libya is weapons (containment), and, more importantly, Reconciliation. Talk of revenge against pro Gadaffi supporters will only lead to civil war. This is the only way.”)
The body Libya has been most viciously assaulted, both psychically and physically under trying circumstances.
Those few days after February 17 were brief but I am certain that they are held in the minds of all Libyans, like a vast illumination, to show the way ahead.
In the meantime, Libyans cannot think about democracy right at this moment. They have other tasks to attend to and, in due course of time, they will attend to, and truly engage in, the joyous task of nation building.
As Gaddafi totters in the few hours left to him, before he is seen off the stage of life into the bowels of history, those he has held captive, both civilian and under force of arms, for there must be as few armies in the world as reluctantly under arms as those of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, whatever that was, need time, having taken off their uniforms, to join together as free Libyans.
Libyans need time to tend their sick, to bury their dead, to meet as brothers and sisters under the warm rays of the Mediterranean sun, sharing the light and life of freedom, to learn again what it is to be human. Libyans never lost this capacity. But under Gaddafi they seldom were allowed to express it.
Libyans need time for brother in arms to meet with fellow brother in arms, whichever side they had been forced onto, to weep together over lost family, and for time to hold up their heads, with their family members that have survived, to bury their dead in dignity.
For Libyans need time to discover each other, who they are, to discover that they are one nation and can speak with one voice as all nations do, except those divided by others against themselves.
Libyans need time to welcome forensic experts who will comb over the ground and hear and record witnesses, who will attest without hesitation to the almost unspeakable crimes committed, in not just these few recent days, but time to unlock the secrets held in the desert of past Gaddafi crimes. For if Gaddafi survives, we along with all Libyans, surely want to see him enjoy his day in court. Let us hope that, by that time, the world’s press and media, when reporting his grand, empty, staged gestures, report honestly, and not as they have done, in these past few weeks, shamelessly swallowing and regurgitating undigested his lies.
And Libyans need time to get together, to discover what wonders the Youth of #Feb17 movement were talking of, to hear at their leisure those messages, so quickly cut off in a momentary rush of freedom. Libyans need time to breathe and consider ways to embrace those ideas.
And Libyans also need time to discover what it is to be free. The imprisonment of the nation, now out of the nation jail cell, needs time to learn that life is not now composed of four walls, of perpetual confinement, that it offers more than suspicion, that kindly acts can be performed by all member of their nation. Former jailers need time to learn to live with those they jailed.
Libyans also need time to put into place the ordinary structures and institutions that adjoining nations take for granted, which they had even under their dictators.
So, let us stop for a moment and reflect, those of us in the West, so eagerly working on Libya’s behalf: give Libyans time and then we will all be able to work much more effectively.
For Libyans need, as Eartha Kitt said, in the song of what the Englishman needs where love is concerned, time.
Time to discover what it is to live, to be alive, to breathe freely, to speak freely, to get know each other. Time to welcome joyfully exiles home, not to, for the moment, take part in politics, there is time for that, but to know what they dreamed of, a country, just like any country.
ღ.¸¸ Libeeya¸¸.ღ @Freedom_7uriyah who tweets, “Beautiful piece.”
yahyasheikho786, “Muslims for Muslims by Muslims … first”, who has linked this piece to his blog at: http://tinyurl.com/6l8n9cd, the third post he had linked to.