International Affairs Ummah

The Situation in Libya

Written by Hoda Emneina, Omar Kelani, Mohammed Kelani, Duaa Kelani

Tunisia, the spark. Egypt, the flame. The fire that has been spreading across North Africa and the Middle East has left leaders in the west in a state of shock and panic. Many Libyans living abroad have been desperately waiting for the trigger that would unleash the grievances of the Libyan people. We by no means want to steer the spotlight away from those struggling to fight injustice elsewhere in North Africa and the Middle East, but the limited international media access by the regime in Libya has left scarce legitimate and accurate coverage. As Libyan Americans yearning for our nation, we feel it is our responsibility to shed light on what major news outlets have neglected. This past week the strength and perseverance of the Libyan people must be noted and emphasized.

Keeping the timing of these demonstrations in mind, it is important to note the differences of the situation in Libya. Gaddafi is the longest standing dictator in the world, with a record forty-two years of power, in comparison to the thirty years of Hosni Mubarak and the twenty-three years of Ben Ali.

The average Libyan does not reap the benefits of the overwhelming wealth and potential of the country. With a tiny population of about 6.5 million, Libya is the fourth largest country in land size and has the largest oil reserves in Africa. A country with vast natural resources should not have an unemployment rate of 30%. The regime has squandered the wealth of this nation for over 4o years.

As Libyan Americans who have never stepped foot on Libyan soil, Libya has always seemed like a mysterious land. Yet our Parents have instilled the Libyan culture within us, building the longing and desire to one day see Libya reach its full potential. To most Libyans who reside abroad, saying we never thought to see such an uprising and movement in Libya would be an understatement.

When one hears of Libya, the most popular response is discussion of the eccentric and outlandish behavior of Muammer Al Gaddafi. What is hidden beneath the surface is a man whose regime single-handily massacred 1200 people in a matter of three hours, many of whom were political prisoners of Abu-Salim prison, protesting for basic necessities. Until this day, families of the victims do not know whether their loved ones are dead or alive. He is a man who has also systematically instilled a sense of fear within the people of Libya, by performing such acts as public hangings of those he considers “enemies of the revolution” within the city of Benghazi. The list goes on and on, making Qaddafi one of most brutal dictators in the world. Until recently, many inside and outside of Libya feared the ruthlessness of the regime; but the fear barrier is slowly falling.

As Libyans watched the Tunisians and Egyptians oust their leaders, their appetite for justice intensified. Largely organized through outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, youth, as well as exiles outside Libya, planned a protest for freedom on the 17th of February. They labeled the organization for the protest “Thawrat Mukhtar” named after Omar Mukhtar, the Libyan Muslim hero who led the Libyans to victory against the Italians. The demonstrations began ahead of schedule in the city of Benghazi, after the spokesperson for the families of Abu-Salim victims was arrested 2 days before the planned protests. The families subsequently took to the streets to demand his release. Demonstrations quickly rose with the support of people all over east Libya. However, Qaddafi immediately matched theses demonstrations with violence. What began as peaceful demonstrations have become a blood bath.

Within just three days, eyewitness reports emerging on Twitter, blogs, and Facebook on Saturday morning claimed the death toll has surpassed 200, making the events in Libya nothing less then a massacre. Qaddafi had sent a “revolutionary committee” to hose down protesters with high-pressure water cannons and eventually deploying live ammunition against the demonstrators. Those who have been shot have mostly been shot in the head and chests, meaning they are shooting to kill. There is no discrimination in who is being targeted – any peaceful protester is fair game in the eyes of the regime. While burying their dead from the day before, Libyan men carrying bodies were shot at; four were killed during a Janaza (funeral) prayer.

As a tactic of division and distraction in order to fight off protesters, African mercenaries have been flown into Benghazi (the eastern and second largest city of Libya) to combat protesters. Flying in foreign mercenaries is a clear reminder of Gaddafi’s lack of trust in his own Libyan police, knowing they will not turn on other Libyans. All the eastern cities and some of the Berber towns in the mountains have been resisting, and fighting mercenaries for the past three days. Additional protests and chaos have also been reported in Jdabia, Darna, and Tubrug. There have also been reports of police and soldiers joining forces to fight the mercenaries. State television is airing pro-Qaddafi parades in order to keep those in other cities unaware of the reality of what is really happening.

What stands out the most in all of this is the lack of fear in Allah (swt) by this deranged man, and the complete and full trust in Allah (swt) by the Libyan people standing up to injustice.  I was reminded of the story of the Battle of Badr where the Muslim army was unprepared and lacked in numbers against their enemy.  In the end the people who are on the side of Allah (swt) will, insha’Allah, prevail.

As Libyan Americans, we are deeply disturbed and disgusted by the ruthlessness and brutality of the Libyan regime, and the silence of those with the means to help. We pray the violence does not escalate. If you would like to see up to date information on the violence going on in Libya please visit:

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    • Uncle Tom, Gaddafi doesn’t have supporters. He has lackeys, cronies, and hired thugs.

      The people supporting him are either (1) Paid obscene amounts of money (2) So tied into the regime that his fall necessarily predicates their own destruction and (3) under threat of punishment ie. execution to self or warning of retribution against family.

  • Uncle Tom, they aren’t really his supporters per se. They are most probably either his relatives, been bribed/blackmailed or are indebted to him.

  • Relative to his opponents, Gadafi doesn’t have many supporters and hence his need to hire foreign mercenaries to kill his people. The loon has bought off many people, families, the West in his bid to stay in power.

  • InshAllah Libya will be free. We want our brothers and sisters in Libya to know that the whole Ummah is making dua’a for them and is with them and that after much suffering comes ease.
    We are all praying for Libya. Tahya Libya wa
    Tahya el Hooriya!

  • I read your post on here and I beleive there are some clarifications that need to be made. The current unemployment rate is astonishing, but from what I’ve read, Libya has nearly as many foreign workers as it does citizens, including an astonishing 1.5 million Egyptians who do basic work such as baking bread, serving meals, doing laundry and cleaning homes. My question to you is if the unemployment is so high, then why the huge influx of foreign workers? There seems to be many jobs out there in Libya, yet Africans, Egyptians, Tunisians, etc seem to be getting them. I ask this question because if you take the 6.5 million population and assunme that 40% are out of the work force (married house wives, retired, under working age, disabled, etc), then you would have 3.9 million people. Out of the 3.9 million people who can work, then only 1.17 million are without jobs. Why don’t the Libyan people just do the jobs that the foreigners do? Baking bread, serving food, and other blue collar jobs don’t require much skill and still offer money. I ask this question because many of my friends in Libya have said that Libyans don’t want to work these jobs, and if that’s the case why? A job is a job.

    Secondly, you state that ghadaffi has flown in mercenaries and the media has done pretty well in confirming that information. Yet how is this any different then what the US did in Iraq by hiring black water? Again I ask this question, because alot of my friend are praising the US, yet the US hired black water to offer “security” in Iraq and Black Water killed tons of Iraqis. I beleive that we all should not be hypocratical in this matter, but in essence the outcome is the same.

    I’m not pro ghadaffi, I actually support the freedom fighters. I just want some clarification and truth to the information that’s being said. It seems as though unemployment is not a problem of government policy, but rather individual social choices, which I understand, but at the end of it, if you need a job and a job is available, then take it. It’s no different that Wall Street bankers who were fired and found work bagging groceries to make ends meet.

    Lastly, if the world can use mercenaries, then why can’t Ghadaffi? The US has already set a dangerous precident in the Iraq concerning this matter and it continues to allow companies like Black Water to remain and operate it’s mercenary divisions. My solution, make it illegal for all mercenaries, but if you refuse to, you can’t hypocritical when another power uses the same tactics. I don’t beleive that this issue is a zero sum game and many people may feel to ignore this issues in order to get there message across, but at the end, ignoring the issue doesn’t make it go away, it -only just makes it worse.

    • please the situation could stand normal in case if they are real standing to remove the current president of libya minus killing Inocent civilians.This is the method they could use,the U.S and the allied powers should stop using air strikes becouse instade they are just killing Inocent abig nomber of civilians than the rables.So the solution is to come down and please try to use the infantry and seach on the ground other using air strikes-rapid bombing.

  • If the president of Libya real fill his fate about situation,then he should stand down.Enough is enough let others stand

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