By Gada Mahfud
For decades Libyans suffered the oppression of a regime that used to claim that its people ruled themselves in a unique system of governance supposedly invented by Gaddafi. It was all a lie of course. There was no such thing as people’s rule. It was just a front that Gaddafi used to fool Libyans into believing him.
However, his fake façade soon cracked and revealed the ugliness of his tyranny. As he became aware of the Libyan people’s resentment to his theory, he chose to keep the lie alive using it to mock the Libyan people and tormenting them.
When ruled by a tyrant, there is no government, no army and no rule of law; there was only Gaddafi, whose mood changed. Depending on how he felt on a given day the policies of the whole country changed just like that.
The Gaddafi era of politics was, to either join in the Gaddafi hypocrisy, (many did and were rewarded for it), and the more they cheered Gaddafi’s craziness the larger the rewards, or tell it how it was. Challenging Gaddafi meant the death sentence or life imprisonment in one of Gaddafi’s many hell holes.
The heavy penalty of voicing a political opinion made politics very unappetising for Libyans and the majority of them adopted a passive attitude. They did not want to participate and be part of Gaddafi’s mockery of democracy; neither did they want to pay the penalty of life imprisonment or a public hanging. Who could blame them?
Gaddafi’s success in making politics unattractive led to the politically ignorant Libyans of today. People do not understand how democracy works; they do not know the choices they have. The Libyan people need to be educated about their rights and their duties as responsible citizens.
Disappointingly the many television channels in the country have failed to fill this void in information relapse. They have missed a great opportunity to educate their viewers and do their country a great service.
There is huge gap of information which needs to be addressed immediately because the elections are fast approaching and knowledge is power. With knowledge comes empowerment of the people who will safeguard their elections better than any army or police force.
People need to understand that abuse of their new freedom by random acts of anarchy only erodes progress and hinders success. This informative role is tailor made for political activists. Because Political activism is not just about having an opinion, it is about having an informed opinion. In our case I hope that Libyan political activists take it a step further and shoulder the responsibility of educating the masses on how the electoral process works.
Today we find ourselves in the extraordinary position of having free elections for the first time in half a century and political activism is all the rage. I hope that it will evolve from just being a trend or a fashion to a more mature role and make for a positive contribution towards the success of the forthcoming elections.
I want Libyans to know that it’s now or never. We are at a defining moment in Libya’s history and a future for the generations to come. This is no time for pessimism or reservations and holding back.
Libya needs us now to be vigilant and to put the needs of Libya before our own. This is also not a time to be on the lookout for personal gain. It is a time for all Libyans to put the needs of their homeland above all else; to dive in head first and pitch in with whatever one can. That is true political activism.
Source: The Tripoli Post