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Education, education, and more education

In the beginning of every letter I shall thank you Dr. Ighniwa for this wonderful page. This time, however, I am inviting all my dear Libyan brothers and sisters to give you a standing ovation wherever they may be. Your work is truly remarkable and commendable. You really make me humble. Also, as we say "yarham waldaik".

I will attempt here to give you my opinion, analyses and reasoning pertaining the latest "hot" issue brought forward by Mr. Zwari and the subsequent contributions.

First, Libyan history did not begin with the Arab conquest of North Africa. This does not, of course, need my stating it because that is the way it is. Nevertheless it is necessary to state as a finding of facts. Secondly, all Libyans speak Arabic and some, albite very few, speak Amazigh (a form of Barbary tongue related to ancient Egyptian, not Semitic, not Arabic, and contrary to what the "great historian" Gaddafi claims). Thirdly, most Libyans are Muslims, and please note that "most" does not mean "all'. These are facts.

Having said that, when the constitution was drafted fifty years ago, Arabic was, coincidently, the only language that all Libyans spoke and understood, with the emphasis on "all". Therefore, Arabic was the best and most convenient choice to be adopted the official language of the state, underlining "official". In answering those who question as to why not Amazigh, the rebuttal is simple and as follows. At the time of independence, Italian was more widely understood than Amazigh. Today, English is more ubiquitous than Italian and/or Amazigh combined. If a second official language is necessary, English is the most logical candidate by virtue of its wider comprehension. This does not mean, and not intended to mean, that I advocate a second official language. It is simply an answer to Amazigh enthusiasts (and fanatics ??).

A second and refuting reason that Amazigh is not suitable for official language status is its crude and primitive state. It is not written and is hieroglyphic at best. Even if it were made an official language, only a very small number of Libyans understand it.

Whether Amazigh is official language or not official language has nothing to do with the legality of speaking it. Libya and Amazigh is not analogous to Turkey and the Kurdish language. In Libya, you may communicate in any language you wish including Amazigh. In fact, and as an example, some of us still use "sterso" for the steering wheel instead of Ďajalat al-qiyadah although "sterso" is not in the vocabulary of the official language.

I will now address the issue of Islam. Most Libyans are Muslim, not all Libyans, as some stated. Further, those who are not Muslim enjoy as much right as any Muslim Libyans, basically next to none. These are also facts. The ideal scenario is that all Libyans must be equal before the law, any thing less is barbaric. The fact that most Libyans are Muslim is not too important since the Libyan laws, if any, are liberal laws. Only the laws that pertain to the (...) and the (...) are somehow Islamic; such as marriage, divorce and subsequently, inheritance. This is my empirical observation.

In my opinion, Religion ought not have any thing to do with the state -any state, including Libya. Notice here that the Libyan constitution does not proclaim the state religion although it states that Koran is the basis of law in Libya, which differs form Islam being the state religion. As an example, If any person consumes booze in private, the state must not be intrusive and confiscate that booze neither to apprehend the drinker. This is, miraculously and ironically, the Islamic way of criminal justice. In the Islamic code, no judge has the authority to order a search warrant before conviction. The idea of a search warrant to gather further incriminating information is based on western legal codes. The reason for the Islamic custom is that, by explicit statements in Koran (I think, Surat al-Nur or al-Forqan), that an outsider must seek and receive a prior permission of the Tennant before entrance as well as they must come from the front door and must not spy. Since the warrant would be dependant on the cooperation and the consent of the "accused", it is futile to issue a warrant in the first place. The last argument, although truly Islamic, is not followed in Libya, and is in direct contradiction to the constitution which proclaims that Koran is the basis for law. By now, I sound like a lawyer, may be I should be one, but that is beside the point. I do not advocate Libya becomes a theocratical state, on the contrary, I prefer it to be liberal. The reason I mentioned the above example is to show that in Libya, there is no rule of law even when the dictatorial government hides behind the "Koranic" umbrella.

What Libya needs is objective and critical minds, able administrators, and smart lawmakers as well as law enforcing institutions. Rome, as you all know, survived for over one thousand years primarily because the law dominated that empire. Some Muslim "khilafaat" flourished for the same reason. In modern history, England -and its subsequent states like USA, Canada and Australia adhere to the same principle. It is not just coincident that the mentioned countries are the most tolerating, the most accepting, the most just and also post the most thriving economies. On this occasion, I ask you please do not include the fact that these countries openly have homosexuals because that is not the issue.

What we Libyans ought to strive for is education, education, and more education. The rest is just an icing, which is, by the way, not too necessary since we are sweet enough. I know the last sentence sounds patronizing and biased but for the respect and affection to you all, I am sticking to it.

A Libyan

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