Thursday, 20 October 2011

Gaddafi defeated me, the day before he died

Just yesterday, the 19 October 2011, I had broken down and reached an all time emotional low. I struggled beyond any set back I may have ever tried to contain, over what has been happening in Libya.

Video footage of a young girl, maybe 8 or 9 years old, in utter pain from a horrific injury she had suffered. Her stomach covered with a layer of soaked bandages, she laid awake as rubber gloved hands attempted to reveal her wound for the camera. The girl’s agony was unbearable. The state of the room where she was being treated was horrendous. Small pools and splatters of blood were all over the floor.  The medics eventually lift the bandages to unveil her injury. The girl’s intestines, the insides of her abdomen, were bare for the eye to see. The medics appear pushing the loose and exposed organs gently, though hesitantly, back into her anatomy’s radius. The girl was not sedated. She was not dead.

Akin to the camel, this was the straw that broke my back. I felt something physically snap inside my chest. Images, sounds and smells of all the psychotic horrors born out of Gaddafi’s repression imminently revived and simultaneously assaulted my senses. I lost the will to live.

Just a week ago, I had left tens of Libyan Facebook groups and pages, out of sheer frustration over how ripe these became for rumour and speculation to spread. People’s deaths and their emotional and physical injuries gradually seemed to be off topic. Most of the debate was destructive political bickering allegedly stirred by Gaddafi’s 5th column. The medium no longer served the purpose of exposing Gaddafi’s crimes as it did at the start of the revolution.

The video of the girl’s anguish had already been spammed by a dozen or so mindless Gaddafi apologists. Their comments didn’t add anything new. NATO- al-Qaida-Rats were accused of carrying out the attack on this and every other victim in Libya. Gaddafi was hailed a hero. Cowardice and distasteful as such comments always appeared, these weighed like a ten-ton-flood of lava, perhaps because of the incident’s reality and the time of its occurrence. My human rationale was rapidly incinerated.

I became a father, two months ago. Inescapably, my brief experience of parenthood has intensified my attention to care and affection. My attachment to my child is infinite. To me, the girl’s punishing agony was magnified by the inherent grief her parents must feel; their helplessness, their devastation and their misery.

The intent of those that assaulted the little girl destroyed the dwindling bit of fight that may have been left in me. The bloodiness and deceitfulness of conflict seemed to have killed me for once and for all. I cried more than I could comprehend. I stopped believing that Gaddafi’s evil would ever come to an end. I lost all purpose, and I lost all hope. Gaddafi defeated me, the day before he died.



  1. I can appreciate the darkness you felt, to some degree. Thankfully I can handle it better, but still, seeing suffering, especially of a child, is difficult. I sit on the edge of my seat as I watch that stuff, and as soon as I have my information, I don't like to re-watch it.

    Okay, so you blame Gaddafi for the girl's grievous injuries, and possible slow death, and by them he "killed"you, on October 19? I'm sorry, but I kind of suspect a more strictly internal process there.

    Did you happen to note where it happened, what city, and under what conditions, imposed by whom? Was it in Sirte by chance?

    Rebel (NTC) barricades denied all medicine, fuel, food, water, anything to those who stayed inside. NATO bombed freely, and rebels shelled heavily, indiscriminatelty. Coming out and surrendering was the only way to survive, the people of Sirte were told. Many did, griping about "genocide" then going quiet when rebel guns flashed. It's all documented. Many people needlessly suffering in the hospital there, thousands of civilians killed by the bombing (per escapees), etc. Then the massacres started and now another 400+ lie in a mass grave as the city lies empty and shattered.

    Gaddafi did this? By refusing to surrender, and being in Sirte, he clearly contributed to it. But others carried out the actual violence, my friend. And they now rule everyone there because that seems to suit a lot of people just fine.

  2. By the way, I hope you've managed to come back to life by now. Changed for sure, but alive and ready to live, love, and learn some more. Cheers.

  3. Judging by the blogs you follow, most notably "Libya S.O.S.", as well as the subversive humanitarian impartiality masked by the cold humility, "my friend", I can only advise you to submit the documentation that you have obtained, of the atrocities that you allege, to relevant international bodies (press, human rights organisations, etc) or even chance presenting it to the “Rebel (NTC)”. Responding to pro-gaddafi jabber at this point in time, and on my own blog, seems like a complete waste of time. By no means was it ever fruitful, while Libya’s revolution was still underway, but it somehow seemed necessary, perhaps, out of respect for the suffering of Libyans (gaddafi’s victims). An easing of pain, so to speak; like blowing salt of a fresh wound.

    Life in exile often made me feel as good as dead, especially when I couldn’t be close to my family, whether at times of sorrow or joy. I may well begin to recover from the emotional strain of Libya’s dark era, when I arrive in Benghazi next week. It will be my first time home in over 10 years. Perhaps, then, I'll manage to come back to life as you kindly hope.

  4. Ah, a response. I know you don't get many comments, so I was wondering if I'd have to alert you somehow.

    On Libya S.O.S.: Some good info, some rumors and crap. I take it with a grain of salt. Gaddafi support: I try not to get too hung upon one guy. I'm more anti-NTC really.

    The video: You didn't explain how it wasn't in Sirte, so I'm guessing I was right. I don't think I've seen it yet (though I've seen several similar scenes from there), and you never did link us to it.

    Sirte war crimes: HRW and AI have ignored me in the past, so I didn't bother alerting them to things they probably already know about. It was all over the media (much of it compiled here) and they did nothing about it, bar criticizing the later Mahari hotel massacre. So long as there's anyone saying "oh, Gaddafi's to blame for this," they'll just take that asfact, howeversilly it is. The interest, apparently, is promoting Human Rights, or claiming to, when it serves Western interests. When speaking up goes against those interests, they make a token effort to appear balanced, maybe.

    But to go any further with trying to argue and convince people would be a waste of even more time for either of us. You're correct on that point. You've shown your grasp of English and ability to emote with melodramatic flare, and to score propaganda points on behalf of the rebel monster parade, like so many others have done. Your comprehension of facts and logic playing out in time and space, or ability to think outside the box, not so impressive. But again, you're not alone there.

    Nonetheless, I wish you no ill, and the best in Benghazi. I sense that you have the right filters to keep your glowing view of Libya's future (at least, relative to the darkly painted era preceding it - bring some more black paint though, just in case).

  5. A response is the least I can offer. You are right, I have had no comments until now.

    The incident in the video is reportedly from a town called “Traghen”; near Sabha (in the south of Libya not Sirte). The word "video" in the disclaimer at the bottom of the blog post contains a hyperlink to the footage on YouTube.

    I fail to see how "some good info" can be derived from Libya S.O.S or other propaganda fronts. I find that distressing.

    I am neither politician nor journalist. This entire blog was a mere last-resort to counter the systematic misinformation that Gaddafi’s many foreign benefactors had engulfed us with during the revolution. Perhaps Libyans had no right to articulate their grievances. Perhaps the written word is not a device for us to communicate with. I will remember, next time, to confine my expressions to shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ in front of Western journalists; maybe burn a flag or two while I’m at it. Perhaps it would make a good photo for Libya S.O.S, and the like, to alleged extremist islamist contagion in post-gaddafi Libya? Surely, that would have been more dignified, right?

    Calling yourself “anti-NTC” doesn't bother me in the slightest. I am by no means affiliated with the political entity nor do I approve of all its members or actions. Perceiving my writing as "Pro-NTC propaganda" could, however, indicate a reader's detachment from Libyan reality.

    I would not object to anyone pursuing Libya's interim, or succeeding, authorities for accountability over any alleged violations committed in Sirte or anywhere else in the country. However, what I do find annoying is people taking sides over humanitarian plights. As though to say that Libyans opposed to Gaddafi celebrated the damage, death and destruction Sirte, and other communities such as Tawargha, consequently and unfortunately bore. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, many so called pro-Gaddafi Libyans did not cheer the massacres endured in Misrata, Zawia, Zwara, Beghazi, Al-Baydha, Ajdabia, Al-Marj, Darna, Al-Kufra, Tripoli, Bani Walid, Sabha, Nafousa Mountans, etc., they may not have joined the opposition either.

    Nonetheless, many foreign commentators, analysts and observers seem adamant to portray political, religious and racial sectarianism in every tragedy the nation has suffered. This is arguably unfair considering that civil society, education, rehabilitation, reconstruction, legal process, healthcare, security, finance, etc., have not yet engaged the widely misinformed population of Libya’s scarred cities, towns and villages.

    Libyans are not void of human instincts. Sadly, many vengeful and outright-backward attitudes will remain in the minds of some. With any luck and prosperity, citizens will soon start to see beyond the NTC and the dark times that brought it to be. After all, only so much can be expected of an unelected war-time political mechanism.