Isolating Libya’s revolutionary heroes

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

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Muammar Qaddafi ruled Libya for 41 years. He was an unmerciful totalitarian governor, which meant his political isolation law meant the isolation of all Libyans.

It’s clear there are disputes over governance between the successful parties in Libya. Some of those who lost the elections have resorted to the Qaddafi style of carrying weapons to intimidate rivals.

Those targeted with isolation are the ones that the majority of the Libyan people chose.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

They have also gloated about their siege of state institutions and threats made against the national council's members; the parliament which voted on political isolation amid circumstances that have nothing to do with democracy.

Those besieging ministries and threatening MPs are practically Qaddafi's products.

Theoretically, they are his sons as they reject the democratic system and believe in imposing their demands by force. This is what their popular committees, which Qaddafi devised, did. These are the educational and cultural products of a totalitarian regime.

Those targeted with isolation are the ones that the majority of the Libyan people chose. There is a group that believes in the constitution and state of law, while there is another armed group that is being exploited by a third party to impose its aims and foreign alliances.

These "Qaddafi militias" are implementing political isolation by imitating Iraqi de-Baathification, which Ahmad al-Galbi came up with to get rid of his political rivals. It is thanks to this project that Nuri al-Maliki runs Iraq today with the same dictatorship as Saddam Hussein.

Magarief and Abdeljalil

One of those isolated in Libya is opposition hero Mohammed al-Magarief. He is one of the founders of the national front for salvation at the beginning of the 80s. He confronted Qaddafi for 30 consecutive years, and Qaddafi had tried to assassinate him.

Half of those who accuse Magarief of treason today were not even born when he first began opposing Qaddafi and sought to topple him.

When you isolate a figure like Mustafa Abdeljalil using the same excuse, this means thwarting efforts for a renewed Libya. It means taking Libya back to the Qaddafi regime, its green book and revolutionary committees that consist of the society's thugs whose values are nothing more than the arms they carry.

Isolation is acceptable against those who served the regime and did not oppose it but it is not acceptable against everyone who worked for the regime or revolted against it. If France had implemented the isolation law after its liberation from Germany, its liberation hero Charles de Gaulle would not have found himself a job later. The same goes for Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia and Gamal Abdel Nasser and his friends who were among the elite of military college soldiers. According to Iraq’s de-Baathification and Libya’s political isolation schemes, people like Magarief, Mahmoud Jibril, Mustafa Abdeljalil and hundreds others have no place in Libya - although they are the ones who practically toppled Qaddafi.

It is not only that, but some figures have called for isolating nationalists who worked in Libya during the past forty years. What is ironic is that those making such incitements are the same exact people who were Qaddafi's allies and defended his domestic and foreign crimes.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on May 7, 2013.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

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