Tuesday, August 23, 2011

26th Day: Grey Deserts

A Grey Desert Called Libya

How did Saif al-Eslam al-Gadhafi escape the Libyan Rebel's custody?
How did Mohammad al-Gadhafi escape on the same day?

Libya Uprising: The Best Photos- LIFE
Shots were heard on live television as Mohammad was talking to Aljazeera, "In my house!" he answered the TV anchor who asked where was the shooting noises coming from. "In my house!" he repeated at least five or six times sounding very nervous. The call was cut short. Shortly the news were out: He was said to have escaped his home arrest with Gadhafi forces.

I felt a slight sympathy to him, perhaps as he was making his last prayers, "lā ʾilāha ʾillallāh, Muḥammad rasūlu-llāh" (There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God). But I could not feel any sort of remorse to the man who owns the Libyan General Posts and Telecommunications Company, the company responsible for blacking out Libya for months, cutting phone calls and internet to suppressing the truth away from any possible international support of the Libyan revolution and not allow the free flow of information from Libya to reach past Bab al-Azizia.

Saif al-Eslam was a whole different deal. If he was my neighbor, we'd be on eternal bad terms. I never quite felt gloat over anyone more so than I did on the day the obnoxious, spoiled-brat was said to have been arrested. The invalid jerk who sounded equally delusional as his father made all sorts of insulting comments about the revolution and was equally responsible for heinous war-crimes committed against the Libyan people. His appearance showed the same repugnant arrogant kid challenging the revolution, as if the Capital he was speaking from has not arose against his family's tyranny. When asked about his alleged ICC trial his answer was "TOZ!" an Arabic slang losely translates as "To Hell with!"

Their was a shared sense of betrayal. As I followed the tweets, some where already losing faith in the Libyan NTC and ICC.

I felt enraged, and my heart was slightly being eaten out as Saif al-Eslam was confidently and provocatively walking among the reporters claiming NTC was lying. Guessing how both sons of Gadhafi were captured then freed I allowed myself to believe the Libyan pre-revolution rumors about Gadhafi working directly with the devil! It took the rebels another 20 hours to capture Bab al-Azizia, Gadhafi's last remaining stronghold in Tripoli. Footage showed the rebels climbing the statue of the Airplane and Iron-fist (picture in yesterday's post) located inside the compound in an effort to bring it down. So, knowing that the Gadhafi family were wandering around aimlessly was enough revenge for me for today's little disappointment. (Following the tweets of CNN journalist Matthew Chance, it seems like the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli where Saif al-Eslam appeared was still under the Gadhafi forces.)

As Libya was nearing it's inevitable route to freedom, the Syrian dictatorship was still living in its imaginary world. Up until today, the Syrian media were in full denial about Tripoli's capture by the revolutionaries. The state-run media focused on the footage of a free Saif al-Eslam [I am assuming] in an effort to prove to their Syrian audience that Western Media and the much despised-by-Arab-dictatorships Aljazeera and even Alarabya Satellite televisions were spreading lies, in an effort by the government to further harness the public outrage over the numerous atrocities that were being committed against the Syrian people.

Around 3:00 AM this morning Aljazeera showed a mobile-phone clip of an army officer, said to have split away from the army, being tortured by his former superiors who were forcing him to "swear" by Bashar and Maher al-Assad in blasphemy. The words he was being forced to utter in "worship of" Bashar and Maher will certainly have an equal response as that of the footage of mosque towers in Lattakia and Hama being bombed by the Syrian army. These footage are spreading outrage and convincing more Syrians to fight their government which they now see as not only anti-human, but also as Kuffar or blasphemous.

Today started with a disappointment but ended with utter content. Libya has now sealed the coffin on over four decades of brutal dictatorship and will start building itself from scratch. A good post on twitter to describe the situation came from a jubilant @Jonny_Hallam who wrote: "A front line Dr in #Benghazi just told me: 'we've done the easypart, now here comes the hard part... starting a country from Zero.'"

Gaza's Foreign Retainers

Riot Police dispersing pro-Kurdish Demonstration- Haaretz
Today witnessed a new heart-break which I will not go into it's details as it requires further brainstorming. It was the Turkish attack on the Kurds in Northern Iraq. The act could not have come at a worst timing costing the lives of at least 100 Kurds (armed or otherwise), and only days after Turkey's official criticism of Israel's attack on Gaza. This assault will most likely expose the double standards of the Turkish government to the Palestinians as it will strengthen Israel's public position equating Israeli actions to those of Turkey, and the Gazans to the Kurdish population when it responds to Turkey's allegations. Palestinians so far look highly up to the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; however, finding common ground between Turkey and Israel will most likely jeopardize Turkey's position and the trust it has gained so far in the region.

Israeli war cabinet has voted against expanding the deadly attacks on Gaza into a full-fledged war. Some media guessed that Israel took this stance to stop the assault as a precautionary step which will evade Israel from an international isolation. Equally, other media assumed that it happened out of lack of international support for such an assault which was only supported by an Israeli version of the story that simply did not add up together.

However, Israel never needed international legitimacy to attack Gaza or elsewhere. Infact, Israel has always simply ignored international discontent and supported its own unlawful decision by playing the "security" cards claiming a war was a "precautionary necessity".  Perhaps the most convincing argument as to why did Israel decide to pull back came today from an article written by Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian writer and blogger who co-founded the website Electronic Intifada. The article argues that Egyptian demonstrating in front of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo demanding an end to the Egypt-Israel peace treaty were the strongest element which helped in stopping a major bloodshed. Abunimeh wrote that the "people's power" put a stop to the assault thus saving more Palestinian lives. He wrote: "...it is governments being forced to respond to people power – especially in Egypt, where tens of thousands of people rallied outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo, in protest at Israel’s killing of five Egyptian military personnel during the Eilat operation, and Israel’s attacks on Palestinians." He argued that "not only actual protests, but even the mere threat of mass, nonviolent, popular protest can constrain Israeli occupiers".

It was relieving to know that Gaza was mostly quite after Israel's war cabinet decided to pull back from a major escalation. To that, I say thank you to the tens of thousands of proud and strong Egyptians who demanded a stop to Israel's aggression. Also, to the Libyan people (population number similar to that of the Palestinians) whose regained independence would be a new incentive for Palestinians to realize that they don't have to pick the lesser of the worst possible options, and to know they can have it their way through diplomacy and armed resistance at the same time.

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