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" Let us agree to disagree "

Dear Dr. Ibrahim:

       I have followed the discussion of the ongoing debate on the dialogue on the site for the last few months, and I have to say that you deserve my most respect for opening the forum. I must say however, that I am somewhat disappointed of the tone of some of these letters. My disappointment is based on the fact that although I believe that all the Libyans inside and outside, those who are willing to be involved in the dialogue and who are not, all do so of convection of doing good for their homeland. However, despite that and despite the intellectual growth that Libyan in this country have gained by being exposed to freedom and democracy, there is tendency to revert to emotional mode in our discussion. It is true that there are some who were scarred by some of the events in the past, and those who suffered from practices that are embarrassing to all Libyans, and that some of the emotions expressed on this site are justified. However, I and some others I know wish a more objective discussion of the issue at hand on this site and everywhere else so we can get somewhere. Here are the reasons as I see them:

       1.     If we did not learn anything in this country, we should learn to respect and acknowledge the opinions of others and value their wishes even if they are totally opposite to ours. God created us the same, yet so different. Some feel they better at inducing the change, some feel they are better at enhancing it. Both may reach the same results using different means. Obviously, there are some who feel that they may enhance possible change and influence through participation and presence. Others disagree, and that is o.k. The least we can do for these people, even if we completely disagree with them, is to respect their wishes, and trust their instincts and intellect to let them do what they want to do, meet whoever they want to meet, and if they want to travel let them do so. After all it is to travel home. No body should force them to do otherwise and I trust they are not going to the opposite. Attending these meetings, to my knowelege, is volunterly, and open to all Libyans who wish to do so. My instinct tell me that nobody is out there to sell any body, and I go even further to say most of these people are not doing that for themselves. If they were, they would have stayed home and spend the weekend like they did for the last 20 or 30 years. So let us not to be hostages to the fear and doubt and mistrust of each others and of every body else, all that have got us nowhere for as many years as I remember. Let us listen, think, analyze then decide.

       2.      There are some who feel that their children are getting older and missing part of their heritage. Some are also getting older themselves and although being blessed with knowledge and expertise that they travel to help others in different parts of the world, they can not benefit people they know and where they grow up and for their place of birth. They want their families and country to be proud of them and want to feel that no matter where they live to be considered extension of their country not a mere immigrants. Furthermore, it is possible that they may even get to keep in better contact with other better inside this country. (Isn't mistrust one of the reasons for that). For those who never practiced politics, and are not interested to do in the future, and are exploring ways to do these things, I believe that they should feel free to do, without casting guilt, accusations of pretrial or being outcasted as traitor of a cause. I do not believe that anybody is after a wealth, loyalty or that anybody there is seeking their votes or to utilize them for a hidden agenda. If I am wrong, then I still trust the judgment of these brothers to do the right thing. And If I am still wrong, then I still want to take a chance on them to explore ways of making things better for their psychic, for their children, and for the land they have always called home and always treasured. Nothing has changed with the practice of mistrust and doubt among those who are outside or inside. I for one, do not want to go to the grave with all these consuming emotions in my heart. So let us give those who are willing to take chance, if you want to call it so, the benefit of the doubt. Let them meet with whoever they want to meet, travel to wherever they want to, especially if that place where they call home. Let us trust them and trust ourselves to pursue any open road. If something good comes out of this dialogue, I trust that it will be for the good of everybody. If nothing comes out of it, we may have an exercise of trusting too much! Don't we do that everyday? If we cannot do any of all these things, let us then agree on at least one thing: to disagree but still respect that disagreement.

Abuabker Omar El-Hesnawy

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