Libyans Must Take Responsibility for Their Actions
Editor's Note: In the wake of the barbaric desecration of Second World War graves of Commonwealth soldiers by jihadis in Libya, Ahmed Shebani, founder of the Democratic Party in Libya, issued a press release condemning the action; "Certainly, the dark forces of Wahabism have no place in democratic Libya." That message was encouraging. Unfortunately, most of Mr. Shebani's statement centered around an implausible conspiracy by Saudi intelligence which seemed to at least partly absolve Libyans of guilt for the atrocity -- falling into the timeless trap of blaming foreigners for their own failings. As Jewish Libyan refugee Gina Waldman's response shows, the desecration of the graves was not an isolated incident, but simply another example of Libyans' deep-seated intolerance for religious minorities that predates the Ghadafi era. Below, read Ms. Waldman's response:
Dear Mr. Shebani:
Although I applaud you for being the founder of the Democratic Party in Libya, as a Libyan Jew I add my voice to calls that you take responsibility for the actions of your people. The Libyan people need to confront the blatant violations of human rights which they have perpetrated against their own Jewish population. They have humiliated us, confiscated our properties and all of our assets, burned many of our properties - including my father's warehouse. Finally in 1967, they expelled us from our country after living there for 2,000 years. Yes, the Jews of Libya had a presence there for over two millenia, well before the Arab conquest of the 7th century. Haram Alem - shame on them!
True democratic values teach us that first, we need to recognize the wrongs we have done and seek reconciliation with our victims. The Libyan people need to follow the example of South Africa by creating a peace and reconciliation committee and come clean with what they have done by creating a "Jew free" Libya. They also need to do this to deal with the terrible crimes that Ghaddafi has committed. It is heartbreaking to watch videos of Libyan youth desecrating the graves of WWII British soldiers who were Jews and Christians. Haram Alem! Shame on them!
It is time that the Libyan people take a deep look at themselves and stop blaming outside forces for their barbaric and inhuman behavior It is time that they recognize that they and they alone can change their own behavior and stop blaming the Saudis or any other forces. I agree that the house of Saud is not a democracy and may never be one, but let's not fool ourselves, the Libyan people alone need to take responsibility for their unspeakable behavior, not only against their non Muslim minorities, but against their own Libyan brothers and sisters. Nobody is forcing them to torture the people they are keeping in custody without a trial.
When you truly have a democratic Libya, let me know, I will be the first one to testify at "commission of inquiry" for a peace and reconciliation towards a true reconciliation which you can only have in a democratic society. Until then, I can only pray that the leaders of Libya will gain the wisdom to recognize that democracy and freedom cannot be easily achieved. Implementing values that are to foreign to the Libyan people who have been indoctrinated in anti-Western hate culture for too long, will take a great deal of self-reflection and hard work.
This revolution has gotten rid of Ghaddafi, but it is sad to see that other Ghaddafis have taken over. The same methods Ghaddafi used for over 40 years continue to take place under the guises of a "Free Libya". Libya may be free of Ghaddafi, but it is not free of the methods of barbaric torture and killing that Ghaddafi used.