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Why should any of us Libyans, who live abroad, be treated any different from those who live in Libya?

Those who have lived in Libya during the past 30 years have been and remain, subjected to countless abuses of their basic human rights and live under a massive umbrella of government terrorism. Forced to live with constant fear and devastating economic conditions, most people live below the poverty line by our own Libyan standards (1960-1969). They live with no adequate social services to insure their basic needs, they live with a high level of unemployment, and those who work in the government sector have no guaranties of getting their wages on time.

In Libya they don't have the guaranty of reliable doctors, medicine, or medical equipment, when a sick child needs help. They don't enjoy the safety of travel within their villages & cities. They are subjected to endless checkpoints in which any one can simply disappear at the whim of any of the regime security apparatus, and for no particular reason. When you read most of these letters, you would think that most of the authors are oblivious to these facts. They are focused on trivial subjects such as, our right to travel safely "to and back" from Libya, or personal attacks and innuendoes. Does anyone see the myopia in all this? Well, I think if you choose to go to (live in or visit) Libya, it is only fair to assume the same amount of risk those in Libya are exposed to. "You may consider it a small sacrifice to see your loved ones!"

I can't say for certain how the idea of the meeting [in New York] was incubated. I am not sure of the motives that prompted the regime or the participants, to be involved in this meeting. As far as I know, other than these letters (discussion if you will), this meeting did not seem to make any apparent difference, or benefit to the Libyans at large. (If so, maybe the regime representatives or perhaps the distinguished participants would care to point out how!). However, since we should look at this from the "benefit to Libya", we would have to ignore the participants' motives and focus on the regime's.

We know this regime holds very little regard for all Libyans and particularly those who migrated abroad. So why care for this group of Libyans now? I am sure there are few if not many reasons. One that comes to mind is:
" Mr. Gadhafi's genuine desire to repent & change the old oppressive ways!"
But if this were the case, you would think this "would start inside Libya," by applying a wide band of improvements & major changes such as:

- Releasing All Political Prisoners!
- Paying the citizens fair wages, based on equal pay scale to that bestowed on
  foreign workers in Libya, and perhaps on time, instead of monthly delays.
- Maybe prosecuting those responsible for the Succor match massacre in
  Tripoli and compensating their victims, would be a good start? Believe me
  their families could use the money more than, "Ben Johnson, Raul Maradona,
  Eugenio Bersellini, Yosuf Omar and Al-Saadi al Gadhafi."
- Perhaps removing the government hands from The Black Market (trading
  dollars 3 to 1 in favor of the dollar!). New money exchange offices within the
  banks, trading dollars to the citizens for more than 6 times the official rate!
  (Could you explain this Mr. Gadhafi? Isn't this a violation of international trade
  law? ). Maybe you can also explain the large amounts of dollars (new notes),
  floating in the black market. Considering there hardly has been any tourism or
  free trade in the past 30 years.
- How about returning the Libyan moneys that have been stashed in foreign
  Banks, & invested in foreign countries under god knows What Entities or
  names. "I am sure the Libyan economy! Could use the infusion. And since we
  are on the economy subject, would it be too much to open the books
  and show us "how are our country's resources are collected & spent!"

Mr. Gadhafi: up to 1969, the Libyans lived under the Sanusi Kingdom, as a small nation of semi prosperous people. Just starting to enjoy God's Gift of a new source of income "OIL". We will never know the outcome, had there been no change from the old regime. But, since you appointed yourself the leader of our small nation, here we are year 2000 and Libya remains dependent on the same single source of revenue. With no infrastructure, or apparent plan for developing the devastated economy, or improving the Libyan citizens who struggle, with high level of unemployment and lack of reliable education, technical skills or available opportunities.The Libyan economy is vastly corrupted and controlled by a band of thieves appointed by you. And could not have possibly done all this looting and injustices without your noticing, and without your approval. What have you accomplished, with the vast revenue of the past 30 years of your illustrious ruling of our country?

Mr. Gadhafi: As a CEO of our country, would you please explain: WHY is the Libyan economy rated the 3rd most oppressed in the world? Would you please explain to the Libyan people, why they don't have adequate municipal services, phone lines, or sufficient social security programs? While the rest of the world is leaping into the new millennium with new technologies and promising social and economic future "including countries in the region, that 30 years ago were nothing but vast deserts", Libya remains behind other under developed countries on all fronts. After all, Mr. Gadhafi, the Libyan people are the shareholders of this "Jamahiria" and they deserve an explanation, or did you turn Libya into a kingdom without a notice? I will bet you, if you take a poll, most Libyans "those who can remember", probably would say they did better during the kingdom. Except again from your conduct & your children's (in & out of Libya), I am afraid we will end up with a feudalistic Kingdom, where a citizen's life could be traded for a goat, or perhaps not even that. But than isn't that where it is now! With all due respect, (Mr. Gadhafi "or" Respected Representatives), any combination of the above changes would be considered a good sign of change from the old ways.
The question is, are you willing to change?

Back to why care about the Libyans abroad now? Maybe to influence anyone or more of the following ideas:
- Improving relationships with USA, or lifting UN sanctions! I am not sure,
  where we would fit in this equation. If we fit at all. Maybe some of the more
  titled minds "authors" among us could figure out this one!
- Maybe to see how much effect all this exposure to knowledge & information
  in the west had on our Libyan minds. How much did we evolve? Do we
  represent any possible challenge or danger to the regime? Or the heir
  apparent! I don't believe we have scored well on this point. What do you
  think?
- It's possible that this meeting was for nothing at all, this regime has
  performed stranger conducts in the past, such as: (making Libya an open
  ground, for all the criminal elements from all Arab and surrounding African
  countries. "Remember the open borders catastrophe"), the famous Green
  Rocket (car!), green Book, green square, green flag, and previous meetings,
  among many others.

Maybe our country and our souls will be best served, if we focused on how to use our knowledge, experience & the available resources to make a difference. I would like to suggest using this or a similar platform as ground for a constructive participation, open to all, with clear objectives on how to come with ways, that would actually make a difference in improving the Libyan citizens quality of life?

How about establishing a fund, to promote democratic changes, reduce the suffering of Libyans & improve the Libyan citizen's quality of life. This can be seeded independent from the Libyan government by, special donations from the Libyans, who benefited by looting the Libyan treasury, while they were paid servants to the regime. "These Libyans, stashed millions of dollars from (illegal) commissions, and seem to be proud of their action". In all civilized countries, including where you took refuge, your crime is punishable by law, usually with total confiscation of your loot, plus interest, penalties & jail term. A donation equal to ˝ what you stole, to start this fund, "to help your Libyan brothers who are in need" would be a fair way to repent. After all Dear Millionaires, you did not create this wealth; these millions belong to the Libyans. In addition, we can all contribute based on individual abilities. Perhaps the titled minds among us can put their knowledge to cover the details of establishing such a fund.

- For those who feel that blood is the answer, I applaud your conviction & sacrifice as you embark on your journey. "However, you already know the fatal consequences of carrying your sword alone in the middle of the streets". So you must agree it would require a well-planned group effort, keeping in mind the lack of opposition leadership to polarize the masses. How would you accomplish this task?

- As for the so-called opposition, Old Groups & Newly Forming ones, some of you have been in this business for so long, others aspiring to enter the arena. Could any of you, enlighten us to what you have accomplished? Since I doubt that any Libyan (in Libya), has elected you to represent them in their struggle (or lack of it), maybe it's time to re-start this process like any other democratic campaign. Let's start by who you are? What are your agendas? What are your plans? How do you expect to make a difference now or in the future? Where does the average poor Libyan fit in your plans? Do you have any thing different to put on the table? It's obviouse, your previouse methods "if such thing exist" did not produce any results.

- For those who wish for a religious approach to removing the current regime & ruling the country. I respect your opinion, however, as you said, "if there were enough Libyans with a true grasp of Islam, they would have realized…" Dear brother, when you take this factor in consideration and add to it the past and present Human Rights & Economic Development records of all the Islamic countries in the region, including those of the current regimes in (Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia & Libya), you would have to admit that these Muslims "Rulers and citizens" are incapable, of handling their affairs according to Islamic rules, or humane rules. Thus we have no choice but to insist on an alternative form for governing our country, a form that will safe guard the rights and liberties to all, (Muslims and others, practicing or not), all equal, with equal rights.

I believe we can only establish this, by adopting an independent constitution. Free of all influences, other than the well being of all the Libyans & those who reside in Libya. There are many examples in the world that we can choose from or use some off, including the old Libyan constitution. Incidentally to explain your astonishment about the convictions of a Muslim convert. This individual looked for & found the answers that gave him that conviction, he made the decision to embrace Islam based on personal choice. Where we were born into Islam, in a way we inherited our religion, just like the great majority of humans have done, from the beginning of the religion history. Do we need to rediscover our religion?
Maybe if we adopted the Islamic principals (or any other religious principals) in every aspect of our daily life, we wouldn't be in this predicament.

This is my opinion.

[Name withhold]

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