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You must be living in a different Libya than the one I lived in!!

As a Libyan Engineer myself who spent most of my life in Tripoli, I can not ignore the gross misrepresentations contained in the letter signed by Libyan Engineer (LE). So here are a few remarks:

With regards to the opposition, I agree that they have done next to nothing to change the situation for the better. I do not expect that they will make much difference in the future either. However, I would not call them failing individuals because many of them, I believe, have a genuine concern for the state of affairs in Libya. Yes we have a long way to go to correct our selfish materialistic objectives and that is true of the opposition and non-opposition. Furthermore, let's not forget those who have paid their lives in uprising or simply opposing the ideas of the regime from within.

In another paragraph, LE wrote: "The Libyan people are for the first time have the ability to run their own country. Every thing that is happining in Libya has the approval of the Libyan people. They are not helpless."

The Libyan people are not running their own country. Far from that in fact. The average Libyan is a helpless individual under the current regime. The so called people's congresses are nothing but a rubber stamp that allows the regime and its followers to make such an atrocious claim. I and the majority of Libyans have seen enough in these congresses to realize that they amount to practically nothing in terms of real political power. You see a good number of years ago when these congresses started, many Libyans began speaking their minds in complete intellectual freedom believing that yes this is really people's rule as Gaddafi explained many times. After a number of these sessions, he came to one of the congresses and made a speech in which he said that there are many backward individuals (raj'i-yeen) in the congresses who are proliferating backward ideas. He stated that the revolutionary committees have not done their job in "dealing" with these elements. Many people became afraid of being accused and/or imprisoned if they said anything that does not rhyme with the ideals of the green revolution. From that time and subsequent speeches, it became apparent that yes you can say anything you want in the congresses as long as it is not against the revolutionary ideas. So is this people's rule? Is this true democracy? No sir, this is true dictatorship. True democracy requires a strong constitution that goes above the authority of the top man (or woman). Something that none of the Arabic countries has attained. When there is a constitution that prevents any ruling figure from staying in power for more than a prescribed number of years, and further where major opposition is lawful and prospering, that is democracy. As the saying goes: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Even with the best intentioned leader, power has a way of corrupting an individual's commitment to serving the interests of his subjects/constituents over and above his own selfish interests and aspirations.

In yet another paragraph, LE wrote: "The people in Libya are happy. I go to Libya every year and I see the accomplishments. The country is keeping up with all the high tech the rest of the world has. I do not see any thing wrong in Libya."

Well you must be living in a different Libya than the one I lived in. Yes we have the Internet, satellite dishes and cell phones. But is this the real measure of happiness? Of course not. The fact is, except for the elite, the average Libyan lives a life from one day to the next with faith in Allah SWT as the main source of strength to endure. Otherwise, people live with a great deal of uncertainty and are very distressed at the level of dilapidated infrastructure, services and the economy. Namely, health services, water quality, environmental pollution, long term imprisonment of family members and relatives without due process of the law, terribly low salaries even for seasoned professionals, sky rocketing consumer prices, deteriorated educational institutions including the Tripoli University classrooms and labs, confiscation of land and deforestation by elites, absence of constitutional rights, gross misuse of oil wealth and on and on. These are not things I have heard about. I have experienced, witnessed and have been a victim of many of these problems. After all these facts, no one should have the audacity to declare that the Libyan people are happy when they are living in miserable conditions. The vicious cycle of deception is what keeps the regime in power. But now even the most illiterate person in the country knows that the present regime is the worst event that has happened to the country for many years. What is even worse is that it will take many years after Gaddafi to put the country's political system, economy, infrastructure and services back on track. It will take much longer to heal the long term effects on health and education that continue to take effect. Libyans are paying a very dear price from their present and future for the continued existence of the present regime.

So Mr. Libyan Engineer, I do not know what your motives are nor do I have the intention of personal attack in the above remarks. However, if you are living a good life, then should you not be truthful to the fate of other Libyans?


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