Slobodan Milosevic, the world's most wanted war crimes suspect surrendered in the Netherlands. The former Serbian brutal strongman was whisked out of a Belgrade prison and put on an aeroplane to The Hague. A long awaited extradition means Mr. Milosevic will become the first former head of state to be tried by the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal. This will open the door for further extradition and more tries for murderous heads of states. But what does this incident have to do with us, as Libyans. It is simple, Mr. Milosevic became head of state by ascending to the power through a series of elections and he was supported by a large number of Serbians during the rise of Serbian chauvinism at the early eighties. His closest allies during the brutal war in Bosnia and Croatia surrendered him to face his fate. Mr. Zoran Djindic, the current prime minister of Serbia, and the man who coordinated Mr. Milosevic's hand over to the United Nations' Court, was in and out of Milosevic's circle. The deputy Prime Minister, Momcilc Perisic was his chief of staff.
In our case, Mr. Quaddafi did not come to the power in any kind of election, but through a military coup in 1969, staged by junior officers and corporals. He has never been elected and he does not believe in elections and he said in several times that he ascended to the power on tanks and he has to be unseated with tanks. Yes, disenchanted Libyans welcomed the change, but expected him to handover the power to elected bodies after a short transition period. Mr. Quaddafi and his associates were behind a campaign of terror and violence against the Libyan people. They started with a chain of violations of the basic human rights. They banned the political associations, dissolved trade unions, and criminalized the right of demonstration and strike. From the beginning, the freedom of expression was the target of this regime by abolishing the free press and replacing it with a government-controlled media. They suspended the country's already crippled constitution without public plebiscite or open discussion for this very important civil society principle. They replaced the constitution with a series of decrees, which lacked the basic rights of the masses.
A few months after the black September 1969, "Wrongly, I used to call it revolution", there was a demonstration of jobless workers chanting "Al-Shaab Yotaleb Bel-Amal" - we want Jobs- in front of the Prime Minister's office in Tripoli. The next day, Quaddafi announced the workers no longer have the right for demonstration and strikes and promised severe punishment for those who violate it. The major blow to our rights was when he banned the freedom of the press and nationalized a dozen of flourishing newspapers, for example, Al-Hakikah, Al- Balagh, Al-Raed, and others, and established what he called "The General Institution of Journalism".
In the first year of the coup, the small Libyan armed forces purged off all the competent, well-trained, honest officers and replaced them with scores of unqualified people, recruited hastily to the military academy from the families and relatives of The Revolutionary Command Council members. An example of those miserable creatures are Abdullah Al-Sanousi, who had a Grade 9 education and Saieed Awaidat, who failed Grade 9 three times before becoming a general in Quaddafi's army. Those cronies proved to be lethal, ignorant instruments in Quaddafi's hand against the basic rights of the Libyan people.
In 1971, Mr. Quaddafi virtually dismantled the Revolution Command Council, through a palace coup, masterminded by himself and executed by the Corporal Khalifah Hnaish, Yusef Abu-Hajar, Abu-Alqasem Al-Ganga, and Al-Hadi Ambersh, to neutralize the most vocal members of the council, namely the late Omar Al-Mahaishi and Mahemed Al-Mageriaf, both murdered at different times. From that day, Quaddafi has had the upper hand in the affairs of Libya and its wealth. His destructive era helped by thugs, common criminals, and selfish hypocrites and turned Libya from a progressive, proud Arab nation to a humiliated African country, competing with Liberia and others in their misery.
At the peak of his dictatorship, Quaddafi assaulted the remaining of civil society. In April 15th, 1973, he suspended all the laws, burned thousands of books and libraries. He prosecuted and murdered a large number of intellectuals and disturbed the government functions at the smallest levels. He paraded the intellectuals and Partisans on the television and forced them to denounce their affiliations and their ideology and many lost their lives or freedoms for refusing to do so.
The Libyan Armed Forces and Libyan Partisans from the right to the left had paid dearly for this dictator and thousands of our citizens were killed in direct order form this dictator. Ironically, Quaddafi managed to rally some people behind him against what he called the enemy of the people and for the national cause. By the time the simple Libyan people questioned Quaddafi's motives and expressed their concern several times to be brutally attacked by Quaddafi and his henchmen. The public execution of the dissidents was carried out in the city centres, universities and schools. He forced the public to participate in those festival killings and he was not ashamed to announce publicly the elimination of anyone who showed dissatisfaction with his regime. This was recorded and documented and does not need any efforts to dig it out and one day presented in front of judges.
There are a lot of other criminal activities of this Quaddafi ranging from rape and theft to mismanagement and destruction of the country. For three decades Mr. Quaddafi and his cronies butchered their way through our beloved Libya, chalking up thousands of murders and rapes. The evidence of Mr. Quaddafi's human rights abuse in Libya is very obvious in his speech articles and his decrees. Contrary to Mr. Milosevic, Mr. Qaddafi does not hide his blood stained hands and he applauded the murder of innocent people. We never forget the images of the killing ceremony in Ramadan of 1984 of The Salvation National Front Heroes including Al-Shwehedi, the lone child of his grieving mother.
Quaddafi's indictment is much easier than that of Mr. Milosevic and it is clear and very documented and definitely one day he will pay for all his crimes. Political assassinations increased and the lot of the average Libyan deteriorated day by day as the economy crumbled under years of misrule and theft.
One day the house of cards will collapse and Mr. Quaddafi will be hauled in front of judges, the massacres of Abu-Saleem Prison, the bombardment of Al-jabal Al-Akhadhar, and the brutality in Bani-Walid and the besiege of our beloved city of Benghazi will be just a few charges that he faces. For AL-Shwihdi, Dabob, and Al-Aihoury's families and for most of us, it will be a sharp reminder of what was done in those darkest days of Libyan history.