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To Change His Image, Qadaffi Must First
Reconcile with the Libyan People

The Qadaffi regime has been working very hard the last six weeks to negotiate the release of the hostages abducted by Abu Sayyaf guerrillas in the southern Philippines. To gain their release, Qadaffi has offered to pay $25 million, money he stole from the Libyan people. Obviously, Qadaffi is intent on changing his image. He is begging the West to accept him in the international community and is willing to do anything, including wasting Libyan money and resources, to reach that goal.

If Qadaffi seriously wants to change his image, he must first reconcile with the Libyan people. He must release and provide reparations to Libyans kidnapped and held hostage by the Libyan secret police and thrown in prison. The Qadaffi regime maintains jails full of thousands of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. Qadaffi should release Libyans who have been kidnapped by foreign governments at his behest. Qadaffi pays countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and Pakistan to find and extradite Libyan expatriates considered dangerous to the Libyan dictatorship. For the sake of this blood money, the dwarf of Jordan has captured numerous Libyans and extradited them to Libya, where they were killed for thinking differently from Qadaffi.

The Libyan people need the freedom to choose their own government, the freedom to have a government that can be held accountable, accountable for decisions made and implemented, accountable for revenues received and expenditures undertaken. The Libyan people need a free and independent justice system. They need a free press and free elections, free expression, free trade, and the right to unionize freely. None of these human rights exist in Libya. The Qaddafi regime should not be able to repair its international image until these freedoms are implemented.

Qadaffi has destroyed the wealth and human resources of Libya, and all Libyans must rise up against this oppressive regime. That is the only way the above reforms can be implemented. Qadaffi cannot and will not do it.

To establish a phony image as an international statesman, Qadaffi is going out of his way to secure the release of hostages on the other side of the world, whereas his opponents in Libya are taken hostage and imprisoned every day. This hypocrisy should not go unnoticed by the international community. While Qadaffi prepares an opulent feast for the 12 Western hostages, he serves up torture, humiliation, and death to the Libyan people.

Long live Libya

Wajdi H. Naji

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