Dear Dr. Ighneiwa,
Thank you for posting my first letter and I'm sorry you were chastised by someone for doing so.
Dr. El-Huni and others declared an open season on Scandarani. They speak of freedom of speech and freedom of this and that , only if it applies to them. Freedom of speech does not give one the right to attack another person's integrity and wage a smear campaign on others.
I did not attack Dr. El-Huni or anyone else's person nor questioned their dignity. I only commented on his way of doing things, because nothing can be accomplished by proxy, particularly a subject as important as the question of political prisoners.
I assumed he was employed by the Human Rights Organization - the key word here is assume (assume implies that the probability on the possibility of something to be true). My assumption was wrong and I apologize. There is nothing else I can say and no disrespect was intended, but I stand by my statement that nothing can be done by proxy.
Dr. El-Huni and others attacked me personally and people are coming out of the woodwork and joined in the fray. He distorted what I said, I was referring to the Ambassador who has the authority and the means to help those in need, NOT I, but the good doctor twisted my words and made it appear that I was referring to myself. He did a hatchet job on me, and yet he felt indigent. He declared that he has no hard feelings toward me, now I know I'll sleep better at night. He cites my statement that I only attended one Libyan gathering and gave the impression that I tried to organize but was stopped. Again he twisted the facts and put his own spin on things. Some perceive what was not there and interpret what was there to suit their particular needs.
It has been said that one can argue opinions but not facts.:
- The former POWs' were brought here and left to fend for themselves, as confirmed by Bentaher who blamed the POWs' dilemma on other faction of the opposition. Regardless of who brought them, they are here and they need help. That's a FACT.
I first became aware of the POWs' presence when a group of them contacted me seeking my help assuming that I was a member of the opposition. They complained of the harsh environment of the northern US and their financial situation. They were working in a swine processing plant. He and his friends indicated that they are up to their elbows in swine flesh and they needed help. I contacted Dr. El-Maghariaf but he was out of the country. Instead I spoke to his son-in-law, Mr. Erfadi, and conveyed to him their message. He told me that the movement had run out of money and that nothing could be done for them, and he added that the POWs' should not complain because when they were found they were working in the salt mines in Chad and were covered with lice and sores on their bodies.
I conveyed his message to them and that was the last I heard from this group. I tried to help but I ran into a stone wall. I wish I could have done more.
- There are Libyans on public assistance. A case comes to mind that the good doctor is familiar with. An individual divorced his Libyan wife and abandoned her, her little boy and his sisters, if it was not for public assistance and the help of certain individual, I hate to think of how else she would have survived. That is a FACT.
- There are some who experimented with drugs and became addicted. I can think of two citizens from Benghazi, and if not for the help of Libyans, and the Libyan Mission, who facilitated their return to Benghazi, they would have died of overdose or rotted in jail, and those two individuals are known to some of you. That is a FACT.
- There was an association, society or Mickey Mouse Club or whatever name or names it was known by, such entity accomplished little or nothing and it failed. The phrase let someone else try i.e., the Ambassador not I, he might do a better job. That is a FACT.
- There are political prisoners in Libya and execution and the government made no secret of that. This situation is not unique to Libya, every government in the world including the United States have political prisoners and execute their citizens. The United States government murdered a whole community in Waco, Texas. There is no such thing as Utopia, but this doesn't mean we don't seek the freedom of our prisoners, but if you refuse to negotiate on their behalf and abandon "holier than thou attitude" how do you expect to gain their release. That is a FACT.
I received at least five phone calls from citizens from all parts of this country and all were positive. One call in particular came from a high ranking and active officer in the opposition movement and he said I told the truth and that he respects any and all who try to help in any way they can. He added that the movement is going through a difficult financial crisis and the countries that hosted "El-Moarada" closed their borders shut and such nations are becoming the closest and best allies Libya ever had.
This gentleman is one of the original founders of the movement and is still very much active in it. He had given it all he had, yet he is honest enough to face facts and tell it like it is. Reality is harsh and truth is a bitter pill to swallow, but the gentleman is honest and candid and that is a rare commodity nowadays.
An individual called me a liar and a non-Muslim because I could not remember the exact name of a failed organization. It was said, "success has many fathers and failure is an orphan." He misstated the correct name of the association and added that some chapters are still functional. According to the office of the Texas Secretary of State, the correct name is "Libyan Social Association in Canada and the United States" and the association forfeited its charter on January 21, 1985. Neither the association nor the chapters are functional, yet you mentioned some chapters are functional, and that is not correct, but I will not call you a liar nor a non-Muslim. No one is better than another. I suggest you read Sura 49, verse 11 and you'll find your answer.
The meeting that I attended was the same meeting that Abukhalid said he attended. That meeting I attended was the first meeting for the association because at the meeting officers were elected, by-laws were formulated and objectives were adapted. A list of names, addresses and phone numbers were compiled and if one needs to verify my presence at that meeting, check that list. The association became political from the onset, for example, Dr. El-Fadhalli and Dr. El-Kikkia name's were placed on the ballot by their supporters for the presidency; however, the other factions blocked their nomination because they were not in attendance, based on parliamentary procedure, and if this is not politicking I ask Bentaher to tell me what it was.
I ask no one to reveal his or her address, names, nor phone numbers. I was questioning the letter that was supposedly sent by one of us. Those who have used pseudonames have the right to do so; however, after the return to Libya of so many former members of the opposition, some of whom were high ranking officers, I guarantee that they have told all and no one is anonymous anymore. I received no compensation for attending except the plane fare and even then I offered to give it back. I traveled to Libya in 1989, 1994, and in 1997 and I didn't need a free ticket from anyone then and I am not asking for one now.
Mr. Dorada does not need to add my name to his resume and if that is meant as a cheep shot directed at me, you just took it. I am tired of mud wrestling with all of you, I have compiled a file of all the letters just in case the need arises. If an individual or a group of individuals continue this smear campaign, character assassination, and false accusation, the next time they hear from me it will be through my attorney. BE FOREWARNED.
You keep doing what you have been doing for the last 25 years or so and I'll continue doing what I have been doing for the last 39 years or so and may our paths never cross.
I would like to thank El-Hesnawy for his great and sensible letter. It put me to shame because the good stuff of this country did not rub off on me. I guess you can take a Libyan out of Libya but you can not take the Libyan arguing habit out of a Libyan, (Modified Virginia Slim commercial). Brother El-Hesnawy , your letter was a wake up call, what took you so long. Thank you and God bless you.
P.S. On the bombing of Libya, T. Najjar in his article "Who Kidnapped Kikkia" he accused El-Maghariaf of complicity.