Will Libya Overcome Its Grudges?

The Guardian This is a personal blog post by Al Jazeera’s Dima Khatib, written yesterday on July 23rd.

I just saw a video where a soldier from Gaddafi troops captured around Brega is being interviewed by a rebel military leader in Ajdabia. I won’t post the video because I fear for this man’s family and any retaliation by the Gaddafi regime against them. I am told by my Libyan colleagues that his accent sounds like he is from Sabha, Southern Libya.

One interesting thing in the interview is that he admits that he was paid to fight for Gaddafi. Yet, when asked about Gaddafi, he says : well.. Gaddafi never did anything good for me or my family, but he doesn’t seem like such a bad guy to me anyway.

Later on in the video he acknowledges that there has been a lot of injustice (by Gaddafi) and he calls for Libyans to unite and to find a political solution. He says something about not having been aware of the real situation, alludes to having been misinformed, says that he did not know he was going to fight fellow Libyans who are just like him, says he expected he was fighting very evil people.

He also praises the rebels for having treated him well and taken him to a hospital themselves. But of course that is expected in an interview conducted and spread by the rebels themselves. I have no way of verifying whether all their POW’s are treated the same way as this man in the interview who was speaking from his hospital bed.

But the man is clearly in a state of shock. He seems to repeat that he did not know what this was really about when he decided to accept to fight for Gaddafi. Would he be suffering from the famous Stockholm Syndrome? Or would he just be misinformed – as he said? And could he have been misinformed for 42 years – his entire life? I wonder how many Gaddafi fighters are like him, and how many are real loyalists? I also wonder whether he said what he said because he felt he had to, fearing he might be mistreated by the rebels.

I did discuss with many people in Benghazi the recent reports about alleged abuses of human rights by the rebels in treating captured pro-Gaddafi fighters. One rebel commander from El Zintan in the Western Mountain area, where the reports originated, told me he has not witnessed such incidents himself but that he is not going to discard that such abuses might have happened. He assured me that if they did, it would be a personal initiative by some rebels, and not following any instructions by any commander. He said: we make mistakes too.

Another activist, now a member of the Transitional National Council, said to me that these abuses might have been committed only in the very beginning, have not happened again since and will not happen again.

Such abuses should be taken seriously but would not compare to what Gaddafi is doing and has been doing to his countrymen for decades. The stories you hear from people are horrific. Men hung in the streets and left to rot in the son for days while their families watched, during Ramadan. People massacred in jails. Torture. Rape. You name it.

At the end of the day the rebels are either victims of the brutality of the regime, which means they might hold blind grudges against it, or have defected from the regime, which means they are a product of it and therefore of its brutality. This is now a war, a brutal war. Wars get the worst out of humans.

Although the rebels don’t like anyone calling it a civil war, the reality is that it already is a war. The question is : what happens after Gaddafi falls? Will the fighting stop? Will the grudges die down? Will the hate and anger be replaced by tolerance? Will the misinformation and misunderstandings fade away?

Libyans in the country’s second biggest city Benghazi believe that once Gaddafi is gone the fighting will be put behind and Libya will have a fresh start.

Fingers crossed !

Read the original post here

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7 Responses to Will Libya Overcome Its Grudges?

  1. Richard From France says:

    Interesting analysis Dima.

    Well, we have here, in France, people who ignored for 42 years that nuclear plants are evil, that pollution threatens our future, and who think that environmentalists are hippies. And this despites we are in a civilized country, in a democracy with plurality of information and varied medias, where science is kept in hight esteem and has several independent reviews warning of these issues since 1972. So I can say that people who don’t know the truth are guilty.

    But I imagine that in a dictatorship, some people may simply not know what is taking place. It is different. Some may just not want to know, and some genuinely don’t know. This will have to be assessed by the courts, when it will be over.

  2. 1 says:

    “Killing his own people”

    What actually happened in Libya, as stated above, was that disparate elements – including Islamists, disaffected former Gadaffi loyalists and CIA assets – were amalgamated by Western spy agencies to mount an offensive to remove a so-called “trouble-maker.”

    We were told that Gadaffi was “killing his own people.” This, presumably, was justification for the wanton mass-murder by Western state terrorists in high-tech aircraft several thousand feet in the air. This is a repeat of what happened in 2003 over Iraq’s airspace, when more than a million innocent people were butchered by the “brave and patriotic forces” of the West.

    But I ask you this, dear reader, what would the US or Britain do if a bunch of armed insurgents decided to launch attacks which threatened the very foundations of the state? Remember the atrocities the British army committed against the Irish during the “troubles” with the IRA? Or the US against the Branch Davidians and rightwing militia?

    Humans breathe, states quell insurgencies

    My equation of Gadaffi’s reaction to the armed insurgency to those of the US and UK governments against rightwing militia and the IRA, should not be read as justification for the Libyan government’s actions. It is not a value judgement by any stretch of the imagination. I am simply stating that it is what sovereign states do. Humans breathe; nation states suppress armed insurgents who threaten the survival of the state. That is what Gadaffi’s forces were doing – and they would have succeeded in putting down the fifth columnists had not the Western powers used the fig-leaf of a UN Resolution to sanction an illegal assault to rescue armed thugs and murderers they have used poetic licence to call “revolutionaries” and “rebels.”

    Libyan forces were putting down an armed insurrection. If that counts as “killing his own people” – a phrase which, thanks to incessant repetition by the media, has become as recognisable as the Lord’s Prayer or Al-fathia is to the religious – then all governments which have put down armed insurgents, including the British and the Americans, are equally guilty of, as the refrain goes, “killing their own people.”

    In tandem with this blatant aggression against a sovereign African state, there has been a concerted, offensive by corporate media in the West to justify it. For instance, they have amplified the lie that the “intervention” was to protect “innocent civilians,” in other words Western appendages who sparked this so-called uprising. It is a thinly-veiled attempt to reverse the gains of the Libyan Revolution, which had delivered advances that were the envy of countries not only in Africa and the Middle East, but also in so-called first world countries. It is also a blatant attempt to grab Libyan resources by oil-dependent Western nations on a downward trajectory to economic

    • admin says:

      But I ask you this, what would the people of the US or Britain do if their leaders denied them their right to free speech? What would the people do if their leaders prohibited a group of them from speaking in their own language?

      What would the people do if the US President publicly hanged tea partiers for disagreeing with him?

      I don’t think I need to remind anyone that US citizens are quite keen on liberalism and personal freedom. So, what would they do?

    • Richard From France says:

      If we were like kaddhafi, you would be now hanging at a rope for being of a different opinion of us. That you are allowed to post your lies here is the best evidence that we are made of another stuff that all these childish dictators.

    • Richard From France says:

      (speaking to “1” of course)

  3. Fredy says:

    patriot now you are posting messages as Richard.

    Admin is , who knows where; away from the Katiba, otherwise he would be in heaven.

    The answer to the questions you make Admin are the foundation of The United States Constitution. The violation of these basic rights and duties has brought us national and international enemies and an unprecedented financial debt burden and personal suffering to many Americans and other people around the world.

    We have defended the right of a criminal group to establish Palestine as their possession and to create an illegal state called Israel.Thus, we have created ourselves the worse enemy the USG has ever known by the name of Al Qaeda.

    Respect among individuals and nations is peace and the opposite is hell.
    Gadaffi&sons know about hell. Our USG has sent the wrong message to abusive governments around the globe. The message is if a nation is in good stands with the USA they can get away with mass murder and stealing.

    Examples ;

    Israel
    Bahrain
    England ( The Faulkland Islands , Argentina, Massacre and the Monroe act that contradicted this invasion).

    Sociopaths cannot see the rights of others. Sociopaths were at some time victims of unpunished crimes . They undergo into being like their tyrants. When they engage into crimes they want their unpunished abuses as victims to be punished.

    So this why we get caught into responding their questions about their rights while defending their crimes or other people’s crimes.

    Am I saying that some of the above are sociopaths ?

    If not , how could you explain their wrongdoings ?

    Dr Atwater

  4. Fredy says:

    Is not a question of love or hate Israel. Is a question of rights my friends. You have taught me in the past to excel as a doctor. So all I am doing is to be like the great Dr Herbert Schilder and Dr Marwan Abou Rass. former Chairmans of the department of Endodntics at Boston University and The University of Southern respectively. Both Americans one of Jewish descent and the other of Arabian descent. And the great Dr Hetzog from Mexico, chairman of the Department of Endodontics in SLP Mexico.

    I have nothing against Semh , son of the great Noah.

    Dr Atwater

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