Al-Gadhafi should follow the example of Al-Sanousi A king too poor to pay for his dinner!
There were Libyan pilots who refused their commanders’ orders to bombard revolutionists in Bin Ghazi, Darna and al-Baidha and instead jumped out with parachutes, leaving their aircrafts to crash. Others flew to Malta and sought asylum there for the same reason. Those pilots, along with the Libyan officers and soldiers who joined the revolution deserve the highest salute. Libya and its people are greater than leaders and regimes be they republican or royal and one blood drop of their blood is more precious than all of the oil and lust for power.
The Libyan Air Force does not belong to Colonel al-Gadhafi and his family but to the whole Libyan people and its pilots are part of the people and some of their best children. Therefore, people were confident that they would not strike their own countrymen or destroy their country’s installations. They were brought up to defend Libya against any external aggression, not to crush their own people’s revolution.
My friend Abdul Rahman Shalqam who was a long-standing classmate of mine at university called me the other day from New York where he heads his country’s delegation to the UN. I could almost see the tears in his eyes and I found it difficult to make out his words because of his shaking voice. He told me that he felt deeply sorry for the statements made by Mummer al-Gadhafi in which he threatened to kill the Libyan people and use force to suppress their revolution. “Is it possible for King Idris to unite Libya for us to scatter it into opposing and fighting ‘emirates’?”
Mr. Shalqam’s fear for his country is understandable. Anyone who listened to Al-Gadhafi’s speech and the threats it contained about possible executions and bloody violence has the right not only to fret, but to panic. The Libyan people are not familiar with such language even in the darkest periods of their history. And from whom? From a leader who had introduced «popular» mottos and emphasized that the power is in the hands of the people.
King Idris al-Sanousi, Libya’s former monarch, did not shed a single drop of blood throughout his reign. The only capital punishment sentence he approved was for Ibn Saffi al-Deen, Queen Fatima’s nephew and the king’s cousin at the same time.
Ibn Saffi al-Deen had wrongfully murdered Ibrahim al-Shelhi, chairman of the royal council utilizing his relation to the king and the queen and believing that he could do whatever he wished. How wrong he was!
President Jamal Abdul Nasser mediated to commute the sentence and so did other world leaders, but King Idris rejected all those mediations because he respected the court’s verdict and executed his cousin.
Col. Al-Gadhafi his sons and his retinue are in possession of over $200 billion, squandering billions here and there without the slightest worry. They behave like ancient Roman emperors’ children. They also commit disgraceful acts in European capitals that we see on newspapers, although we know nothing about their attitude inside Libya for there are no newspapers to expose them or just courts to inflict punishment on them for what they have perpetrated against common people.
When the 1969 coup d’état was launched against him, King Idris al-Sanousi was on an official visit to Greece and he had only $25,000 on him to cover his visit. He returned it in whole to the treasury through the Libyan embassy in Athena. When he reached Cairo, he had not enough to pay for dinner and the late Jamal Abdul Nasser was generous enough to send him a meal.
These were the manners of kings. The manners that have died out and are, regrettably, not present in our current kings or presidents. Kings, princes and presidents are all the same when it comes to corruption, extravagance, and waste of public funds, power bequeathal and nepotism. And should they give their leftovers to their people, they would do that with heaviest reminders of their generosity and some even boast, as their newspapers say, that they donate such funds from their own pockets and not from their states’ wealth or budgets.
For forty years, Libya has been drifting aimlessly under the slogans of the Revolution, but the consequences of this were catastrophic. Many Libyans left their rich country in search of a better life. Hundreds and thousands of highly qualified Libyans are living in America, Canada and Europe. From my personal experience, I can say that the most successful, most knowledgeable and most experienced physicians in Britain and Canada are Libyans, while an average Libyan person would not find a single hospital in their country able to offer them a minimum level of medication.
I was anguished when I met a group of Libyan young men in Istanbul. At first I thought they were tourists, but I was deeply saddened when they told me they were illegal immigrants who had come looking for a good living and that they were washing dishes in Turkish restaurants for a minimum wage. Col. Al-Gadhafi certainly did not hear such stories because he was living in his tent believing that everything was under control and that the people loved him. He was misled by some demonstrations staged by Popular Committees member hypocrites who blindfolded him from seeing the miserable conditions his people were living in.
Maybe the simple life he was leading in tents, drinking camel milk, made him believe he could convince people of his renunciation of luxury and humbleness. But he forgot that his people were reading about his family members’ adventures and follies in the West or the time he declared war against Switzerland, cutting off oil supplies to it and arrested some of its citizens in Libya just because a police station in Geneva had interrogated one of his sons for abusing a chambermaid.
People may be patient, but they never forget. They just culminate their suffering and anger and they wait for the right time to give vent to their wrath. A volcano of congestion erupts as we are currently witnessing in Bin Ghazi, Darna, al-Baidha’a, Zawia, Tabraq, Masrata and other Libyan cities.
Col. Al-Gadhafi should abandon his intransigence, refrain from using the language of threat and intimidation or insulting and uttering obscenities at his good people. The people who are sounding the alarm and screaming out that they have suffered for 40 years under his rule.
He should cut short the miseries and agonies of his people, prevent bloodshed and leave for good as Kind Idris, may he rest in peace, once did.