Khairat ya Austadh Ighniewa,
Thank you for publishing my last letter commenting on Dr. Scandarani's now infamous letter on the proceedings of the NYC meeting between the Libyan regime's representatives and a group of Libyan Americans calling themselves the "Libyan Arabs".
I like to make a couple of comments on the letter by Mr. 'Mahmud' which is, in part, a reply to my letter and others regarding this issue.
First, Mr. Scandarani was not judged to be naive by myself and others because he held an opinion differing from ours but because he blatantly ignored facts evident to anyone not making a habit of of ignoring the obvious. Second, no one was or is denying this individual's right to free speech but that does not mean his views can not be challenged or disputed. Third, freedom of speech implicitly assumes that the speech is truthful. Regardless of the motives of Dr. Scandarani and the circumstances leading to him forming such an opinion, his letter was full of contradictions, naive arguments and demonstrated that he was either a selfish and cold hearted individual or a badly manipulated gullible fool.
I think some people, and Mr. 'Mahmud' apparently is one of them, misunderstand the concept of free speech or use it merely as a catch phrase to hide any weak arguments they may have. Freedom of speech is to give people the right to voice their opinions without fear of prosecution, as long as that speech is truthful and does not hinder the freedom of others. Many people fall into the trap of hearing westerners utter phrases like " I respect your opinion but I have to disagree " or "let us agree to disagree" and think that all opinions should be respected and treated equally. An opinion should be respected if it was merely an opinion and not full of inaccuracies, innuendoes and hot air.
I am appalled that Mr. 'Mahmud' has conveniently equated our objections to Dr. Scandarani's misplaced motives and bad judgment to the Libyan regime's total disdain for any sort of objectionable speech. None of us was advocating that Dr. Scandarani be silenced or god forbid, as Gaddafi would do, send a half dozen low life school dropouts turned revolutionary thugs with a couple of bulldozers to Dr. Scandarani's house in Texas to show him how manly our leader is.
A second advice to Mr. 'Mahmud': claiming that Gaddafi is more benign than some opposition leader or to sing the commonly sung line that "all Libyans are guilty for what happened and continues to happen in Libya and it is not just Mu'ammar's fault " is a deluding tactic to spread out the blame and confuse the facts. Colonel Hafter and others might have committed numerous crimes and participated in Qaddafi's schemes and despicable acts and perhaps they could have done some things to redeem themselves when they had a chance to do so but let us not forget the fact that over the last 30 years, no individual have committed more atrocities or caused more hardships, miseries, sufferings, agonies and despair to the Libyan people than Gaddafi himself either directly or by using his relatives, his thugs, his sympathizers or hired foreign mercenaries.