It Is Time for the Dictator to Go|
As the lunatic of Sirte celebrates the 30th anniversary of his ascent to the throne of chaos and tyranny we learn of new atrocities perpetuated by his henchmen against innocent family members and relatives of his political opponents. Gaddhafi's political opponents include, by definition, all those who value human life and strive for democracy and the respect of basic human rights - freedom of expression, assembly, and movement. In "the Great Jamahiriyia" of today and after 30 years of experience with the "rule of the masses" (or the mob), any criticism levelled against the constitutionless, autocratic rule of Gaddhafi can precipitate unspeakable, collective punishment including murder, demolition of homes, and displacement of entire families and relatives.
While heaping punishment and humiliation onto the Libyan masses in whose name he appointed himself as the "Brother Leader and Teacher" and as the fortresses of despotism come tubmling down in Africa and Asia, Gaddhafi is desparately attempting to re-invent himself yet again. He would like to have his slate wiped clean and his regime welcome in the fold of civilized nations. His ultimate aim is, of course, to survive at home and to perpetuate his dynasty at the expense of the Libyan people.
All freedom lovers should call on Gaddhafi and his regime to immediately relinquish power to a transitional government that would prepare for free and fair elections under the supervision of international observers.
This, I believe, is the most honorable and only available exit strategy for a regime that, for 30 years, has failed miserably on all levels both moral and material and by any scale of measurement.
- After years of procrastination and maneuvering for personal immunity from prosecution, he finally bowed to international pressure and handed over the two secret service agents accused of the Lockerbie tragedy (the explosion of Pan American flight 103, December 21st 1988). He offered, in addition, large sums of money to compensate the victims families. He also negotiated a very generous financial settlement with the French government for another crime against civilian aviation for which he and his accomplices are probably responsible.
- He reached an "amicable" settlement with the British government for the killing of a British policewoman in London in 1982. The British were so overwhelmed by the oily generosity of the Libyan dictator they had no choice but to re-establish diplomatic relationships, disregarding his continued abuse of human rights against Libyan citizens.
- He struck lucrative business deals with many Western European counrties including Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, and Denmark in order to gain their support for the lifting of the UN sanctions and to facilitate the integration of his regime in international organizations. For the same reason, he bought Russia's support by speeding up payment of huge debts incurred by Libya over the past 30 yrs for Russian weapons that have long succumbed to the unforgving sands of the Sahara desert. All Libyans striving for democracy should condemn in the strongest possible terms the disregard and disrespect these governments are demonstrating toward the human rights of Libyan citizens by resuming diplomatic and commercial ties with an authoritarian regime that continues to trample on the most essential human rights of the Libyan people and shows no sign of movement toward a more democratic way of running the country.
- The Libyan dictator, seeking to shore up his sagging regime, is attempting to mend fences with Libya's Arab and African neighbors. In this process, he keeps his diplomatic machine well oiled with Libya's revenues, while Libya's economy and public services (health, education, communications, etc) remain devastated and Libya remains the least developed country in all of North Africa and the Middle East.
- In his desire to shed his well established and hard-earned image of a terrorist, Libya's absolute ruler is, nowadays, playing the role of a peace maker in Africa and Asia. At the same time, his pulldozers, Revolutionary Committees, and "Cleansing Squads" are terrorizing women, children, and the elderly throughout Libya. Gaddhafi is not making any effort to reach any kind of settlement with the Libyan people. The only settlement he would agree to is one that guarntees absolute power for him and his children. However, to ensure the continuity of his reign and that of his dynasty he will be willing and will, if he must, sacrifice accomplices, collaborators, systems, ideologies and theories (universal or otherwise). Thus, the dictator is now reportedly willing to give up his magnificent State of the Masses for a more modest Republic of Libya. Ghaddhafi is purported to be ready to forsake the "Greatest Jamahiriyia" whose reputation has been tarnished by state-sponsored terrorism and whose system is now synonymous with chaos. He is also supposedly ready to abandon, for the more earthly title of President, his lofty titles as "The Brother Leader and Teacher", "Desert Messenger", and "Universal Savior" which have been associated only with capriciousness, unreliability, insanity, incompetence, impotence, and failure. With a few cosmetic changes to his regime, Gaddhafi is now seeking absolution from the international community and hopes to save his collapsing regime from an evitable and imminent end.
- He embarked on a feverish campaign to lure and cajole Libyan exiles in the US to engage them in "a dialogue" with his UN representative, in an attempt to neutralize the Libyan-American citizens as a force that can potentially influence the decision makers in Washington with respect to any re-evaluation of the US-Libyan relationship. This issue is no doubt of prime importance to the Libyan dictator as he attempts to accomplish at any cost the mother of all "amicable" settlements with the US government to gain renewed diplomatic relationship and normal economic and cultural exchange. A handful of Libyan exiles in the US have been enticed to meet with Gaddhafi's UN embassador who is spearheading a campaign to gain US acceptance of the Libyan regime. In return, the embassodor promised them free movement in and out of Libya, and other unspecified gains as soon as their efforts bear fruit. No mention was made in these meetings of human rights abuses, political reform, democracy, or constitution. However, the majority of Libyan-Americans refuse to deal with the Gaddhafi regime and saw the embassador's exercise for it really is - a cheap attempt at polishing Gaddhafi's image despite his continued abrogation of basic liberties, abuse of human rights, and degradation of our people in Libya. The participants in the upcoming September 1999 demonstration and all decent Libyans condemn any contact or dialogue with the Sirte regime that does not address the real problems have landed Libya in the bottomless pit it is now in. The only legitimate dialgue with Sirte is a serious discussion of the modality for the transfer of power from the current constitutionless autocracy to a legitimate transitional body that would oversee free elections.