Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Aziza Bazama Living to Resurrect Libya
Living to Resurrect Libya
By Aziza Bazama
If you had asked me to remain in my country five months ago -- I would have hesitated. Not for the lack of love or appreciation, but rather the dim outlook on its future.
My country had been sucked dry from all its beauty, wealth and grandeur. It was like a red-breasted robin caged within the dark dismal shadow of a hunting cat. Afraid to show its beauty, sing its song, fly its wings of freedom.
Its youth, us, aging within our minds. Our hairs greying before their time. Our parents dying for they are now old, fifty. If you reach 70 years of age, you are a living legend.
Liver sclerosis is widespread, alcohol is not. Scurvy is widespread, dental hygiene is not. Diabetes is widespread, adequate healthcare is not. Schools are widespread, education is not. Universities lack basic facilities, such as computers, laboratories, and internet access. Heads of departments within universities hold nothing more than Junior Level Certificates to their names. How did they reach that position you ask?
They know Gaddafi.
The beginning of the end of emotional and mental poverty was born on February 17th 2011. The new date of birth for all of Libya.
The diamonds within the rough emerged and did what no man before them could do. They stood before their oppressor, armed with nothing more than faith, loyalty and moral strength. Characteristics absent within their so called leader. Their voices bellowed beyond the streets, mountains and shook the walls of his compound.
It was on that day that every young man that sat outside a shop and whistled at a passing girl, the young man that slipped his number into her bag and cheekily followed her until she responded. The young man that gave up on searching for work and looked into travelling abroad. The young man that fought with his neighbour over football then took him out for pizza as an apology. It was on that day; those men rose and became our heroes.
The legends of Libya.
They are, we are, the children of Omar Al-Mukhtaar.
We knew our uprising would differ to Egypt and other countries. For our lives had been different. We were ruled by an iron fist. For forty two years we could not mention his name without suffering frightening consequences. Now we dare to speak to him and ask for our rights and freedom.
This would anger the barbaric beast.
Family after family mourned losses because of this man. Families were torn apart as lives were ripped out and replaced with hollow pangs. If you practiced your religion devotedly, you deserved to be captured and tortured. If you were friends with those that did, you best run in fear if you are not caught.
Our meals were controlled. He decided when we ate Lamb, Chicken, Fish etc He decided what websites we could access. If he was angry with a city, they did not receive the luxury of food. He decided who could leave or return to Libya. He decided if we are worthy of electricity, clean drinking water etc He decided that the average wage would be 200LY (law number 15), leaving little or no means to clothe, shelter and feed a family. He decided that if a person entered an empty home and stayed one night in it, that home and all its belonging legally became theirs. Law number 4 caters for the confiscation of private and commercial property, practically passing such stolen properties to the members of his family and of its so called revolutionary committee members who are in charge of security.
He had and still has spies worldwide. They would monitor every Libyan's life. Who they spoke to, where they worked, their family links back in Libya, what they spoke about etc. Everything was reported back to him. If you dare to utter a word against him, you and your family's lives were at risk. If the spies were angry with you, they would abuse their powers and blacklist you.
Not to mention the peculiar unwritten law of forbidding the mention of the names of any Libyan official by the national media, except those of himself and immediate members of his family. Even in football, no names of players were allowed to be mentioned, except that of his son because Gaddafi regarded stardom as a political crime. Sport was not safe.
Hundreds of men went missing in the Chad war, over 20,000. One of the most pointless wars to date. Families were left without fathers and sons without explanation as to what happened or where they are. Twenty five years later, they are given a small sum of money and told they are now considered "victims of war" and they have recorded them as "dead".
Libya's devil in female form, Huda Ben "Amer, has hanged numerous men. One of the most infamous is being that of a man in the middle of a university in Benghazi, accused of plotting against Gaddafi in USA. She kicked and swung out of him to ensure that he was dead. My auntie, a student, turned her head to only be slapped on the face by a female guard and forced to watch in fear.
Later, he, Mr. Al-Shuwehdy was found to be innocent. Officials arrived at the house of his wife and children, to apologise, giving her a sheep and money. A poor, disgusting attempt to replace a true man. A brother, uncle, husband, son and father.
He is one of hundreds, if not thousands that she killed. Gaddafi committed some of the most brutal human right excesses in the late 70s and early 80s. Libyan students were hanged in universities, sport auditoriums and public squares simply for not adhering to the green book ideology.
In reality, their crimes were nonexistent.
Young and old men were disappearing without a trace. They were being snatched from the streets and their homes for speaking out or knowing people that do. Forty two years later, during the uprising, an underground prison cave was unearthed in Benghazi, with remains of human bodies except for a few frail men.
One of the most heartbreaking atrocities that took place was on June 29th 1996. The Abu Salim prison massacre, where he ordered the killing of 1,270 political prisoners.
Not forgetting that Gaddafi's agents killed WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan Embassy in London on April 17th 1984. Along with many other Libyan political dissidents through a campaign that he calls "Eliminating Stray Dogs".
Gaddafi has also shot down a civilian Libyan airliner over Libya killing about 150 passengers. Bizarrely he had given the doomed flight a similar flight number to the Lockerbie airliner. This atrocity was also committed on the anniversary of the Lockerbie airliner.
The thousands of Libyan people that died due to the constant discharge of untreated sewage in the sea in close proximity to the cities of Tripoli and Benghazi is agonising. Private Libyan citizens yearly spend on average 5 billion dollars in Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt out of their pockets for medical treatment, because they have completely lost trust in the Libyan health care system.
The terrifying truth is that civil infrastructure, healthcare and the education system have failed beyond disbelief in the last 40 years.
He demolished stunning structures from history. Buildings that symbolised the heroic history of our country such as the parliament and foreign ministry buildings in Tripoli. He destroyed the mausoleum (in Benghazi) of Omar Al-Mokhtaar and then removed his remains, to bury them in a remote oasis, which in itself was an act of desecration to the national pride. This is all in an effort to continuously rewrite Libyan history according to his twisted personal ideology and personal grandiose.
This is besides the fact that he has complete and utter total disregard for the teachings (Sunnah) of the prophet Muhammad and his failed attempts at altering the Quranic text.
For many years, Gaddafi squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on terrorist organizations such as the IRA and the red brigades, and on separatist movements in Africa, the Far East and central and Latin America.
He is responsible for the abolishment of the Libyan constitution (compiled by a team of leading international jurists) which symbolized the smooth birth of Libyan independence and its national sovereignty as voted for by the general assembly of the UN.
He is responsible for the forced military training of very young male and female students.
He is responsible for the use of Libyan women as so called revolutionary nuns as personal bodyguards.
He is responsible for the declaration of war on Switzerland for arresting one of his sons and his wife for beating up the domestic staff.
He is responsible for the HIV infection breakout in Benghazi. Over 500 children were affected because the sterilization equipment was malfunctioning.
He has squandered unimaginable wealth on his propaganda machine; mainly managed by such figures like Mr. Ali Al-Kilani and Mr. Abdullah Mansour.
He is responsible for suffocating our country.
He is responsible for destroying, abusing, destroying and killing our country and its people.
He is the reason this revolution took place and this revolution will not end until he is destroyed.
Libya will be resurrected and loved loyally.
Living in Ireland, from Libya. UCD graduate. Dying to return to a free Libya.
The Libyan Virtual Revolution
Ali, a Misrata freedom fighter hit by a Gaddafi Grad on May 13 (source)
News report after Twitter update after Facebook status, my mind wanders beyond belief. Are my family ok? What about my neighbours? My land, how much of it has he destroyed?
Benghazi is safe. That's good. What about the rest? Misurata, Zintan, Zawiya, Tripoli, the list is endless. If we fail to free them, he will return with vengeance.
The battle on the ground is heart-wrenching. Lives torn to shreds, the buried dug up so that their simple right to rest in peace is taken away. Mothers and children running in fear into the desert, into emptiness, while their husbands and fathers protect their land. Boys as young as eight falling victim to rape, along with their sisters and mothers. Young men, Libya's future, are fighting on the frontline with little or no training. They are fighting for our freedom. Soldiers breaking down doors and pulling the young men and children out of their homes, their crime -- crying out for freedom, for basic human rights. Snipers positioned on the roofs of buildings with orders to kill any male between the ages of thirteen and thirty. Hospitals and mosques destroyed, along with the attempted banning of prayer. The stopping of food, medicine, and water from reaching the cities.
All of this, and we have suffered more at the hands of his rule the past forty two years.
We feel helpless, completely and utterly helpless. Living abroad, with no means of reaching adequately to our people. Charity events are springing up everywhere to raise money and awareness. Protests are being held weekly, if not, bi-weekly worldwide. In the meantime, another form of battle for Libya has surfaced.
It began as groups and pages forming on Facebook / Twitter to report confirmed news. People, who have never met supporting one another from across the globe, lending a word of encouragement, sympathy, a simple word that would bring a smile to our faces, if even momentarily. We were a strong 3000 members that were not giving up on our country.
I would log on, at home and in work, looking for news, support and comfort. It became a necessity. A virtual force that kept me strong. Little was I aware at the time that other groups had been forming and increasing in numbers rapidly.
We came across a pro-Gaddafi group that consisted of approximately 300 members. They were posting information against the freedom fighters, NATO, UK, France etc I, along with 6 other members of a group decided to go in and post our beliefs and the true voice of Libya. With every fact, article and video we posted, we were subjected to abuse, threats, insults and later our posts were deleted and we were blocked.
In the meantime, another group surfaced, pro-Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, which consisted of 575 members, and within 2 hours dropped to 543 when we voiced our concerns regarding Libya.
This resulted in the formation of the FLVA (Free Libyan Virtual Army) on Facebook. Created by Libyan people of different backgrounds that had one voice. We are from Ireland, UK, Sweden, Egypt, Canada, USA and many more countries.
It began as a small group, no more than seven. Within 24 hours it grew to 197 and today, five days later, there are 317 dedicated virtual soldiers and we are growing strong.
Our sole goal is to spread the voice of the Libyan people. The real reasons why we are so dedicated to this revolution. The atrocities we have been subjected to over the years and how Gaddafi ruled with an iron fist.
We are dedicated to opening the minds and eyes of the people within these groups. To show them the truth behind the lies, the light that has been overshadowed by him and his regime.
Our first few attempts resulted in us coming across many more of these groups. As a matter of fact, we have uncovered 74 to date. Frighteningly, 80% of them are formed and consist of non-Libyans. With an astonishing number of Serbian and Russian supporters, who are the most abusive of them all.
We also came across Gaddafi's virtual army. The Libyan Green Electronic Army, consisting of 789 members.
It is a fact that the battle ahead of us is rather challenging. Considering that the lies that are being depicted by these groups is worrying, and the image they are painting of the freedom fighters and Libyan people is quite disturbing. We have come across fake videos and photographs in these groups that are being used by Gaddafi's media to try and distort the truth. This is turn has raised our concerns regarding the information that has been projected by the media, as a result of the Libyan government.
In addition, the groups controlled by the Serbian and Russian members are rendering quite sickly manifested ideation of the military intervention in the revolution.
The comments on our posts are abusive to say the least, but they do not come close to the private messages we receive. A small sample of these would be:
Bint Al-Iraq 03 May at 14:06
Look what I just received from Podrska Pukovniku May 1 at 1:21pm When I called him a mercenary:
yes im mercenary and i will kill u for free
Hi Aziza, Kamran Sadr commented on Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi's Wall post:
04 May 22:17
Kamran wrote "Yes we support him against External and internal Aggressors !"
Hi Aziza, Петар sent you a message.
28 April 23:52
"fuck u rat"
You may ask, why not just "report abuse" and block them?
This would be pointless, as we want to voice the truth, not run from the lies. We have been running and hiding for 42 years, our time is now.
What keeps us, the FLVA strong is the vision of a free Libya and knowing that we are playing our part in this revolution.
Our battlefield is the worldwide web. Our weapons are knowledge, truth, dignity and words.
Our goal is to free Libya of all its enemies, on the virtual battlefield.