It all started with the translation of the English name of the 4X4 Land Rover to at-Tawiyah ,the French Peugeot to al-Hamamah and the English Tractor Massey Ferguson to Antar the Arab hero. |
Sleeky four-door sedans are more than aesthetic objects. In their deepest essence they are about memories, memories that constitute the very marrow of a desert's identity, bestowing personality and character upon a desert just as they do upon an individual. The form, shape, size and way of making a four-door sedan , the story of how it came to be there, the trials and tribulations of those who made it, the manner of its placement in its oasis, all of these contribute to crystallizing the workings of memory. For these purposes it does not matter whether those memories are good or bad. But it does matter how they relate to their desert and their oasis, and which cars survive to represent them. It is here that the question of responsibility - individual or collective - arises.
For art and for politics -as-art, the world is but a thing of appearances, which has to be brought into line with the artist's own universe of logical Gestalt-formations. Acting on the world to shape its objectivity gathers art and politics together under a uniquely human umbrella. Unlike science which looks towards an outer reality, the realism of art and politics-as-art is of their own making; and both are profoundly idealistic because the reality they create is a product of the mind. By eschewing submission for action, every hope filled political activist and all true artists are at one in their relation to the world.
The only difference between Im'ammar al-Qadhafi and the rest of us is that like the better kind of artist he carries these traits to extraordinary and fascinating extremes. Many art critics observed that "as a rule, those who govern and administer a people, brilliant as they may be in their special fields, represent the average man of our period in their artistic judgements", does not apply to this Leader President. They are at the other end of measuring stick from Im'ammar al-Qadhafi. Even though his raw material is real people, not industrial materials or a sheet of stretched canvas and paint, his imaginative impulses recognize no limits. His freedom to create recognizes no one else's "rights" (the idea of inviolability of the individual - as against the "higher" interest of the group - has never had any currency in Libyan culture). In fact like an artist and a concept developer, Im'ammar al-Qadhafi's freedom is constrained only from the inside, by the self-imposed and inbuilt limitations of his own imagination and priorities. Therefore, the criteria to judge him by, have to be those set by him, not those of a stranger, imposed from the outside. Im'ammar al-Qadhafi's four-door sedan provides us with a view from a mountain top; it is a view into what we are capable of as a species when we really put our minds into it.
Mulay al-Arbi ad-Dirqawi,
Poet and Natural Philosopher