"Omar Ihwainish : Stop calling Libyan freedom fighters "rebels

What is currently known as Libyan 2011 revolution started back in 15th of February of this year as a peaceful demonstration but has now culminated into violet riots between Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and freedom fighters. The contest is between Gaddafi’s mercenaries trying to defend the status quo of its administration and citizens trying to put to an end dictatorship. The sudden turn of events from peaceful protests to uprising against Gaddafi’s oppressive government was due to the violent way in which the current administration responded to our peaceful demonstrations. Ever since the protests started, we have since been labeled as rebels. However, personally, I refuse to buy this idea. Initially, the struggle was short of violence and all Gaddafi could have done was open his office door for dialogue and reason. However, this was not the case as he immediately termed our quest to reclaim what is ours as rebellion. This essay aims at expressing the protesters’ views about the situation, and reiterate that the allegations made are baseless.

  It all began on the 15th February 2011 when a lawyer was arrested and detained a few days before a section of activists went to the streets to protest against Gaddafi’s dictatorship. All this was done in here because of what had been going on in Egypt and Tunisia. However, for the case of our country, it was different from the protests in the other two countries. This is because, unlike Tunisia and Egypt, Libya has no legally recognized civil societies and unions that can fight for the interest of the people. Secondly, the approach employed by Gaddafi’s regime to counter the up rise was far more violent than was in the other two countries.

All these disadvantages surrounding us as freedom fighters are wholly due to Gaddafi’s 42-year oppressive rule. The administration has made all the sectors that are potential to champion for the rights of the citizens weak and unrecognized. This way, Gaddafi has placed himself and those allied to him in an untouchable position. The indispensable power that his regime has enjoyed for all this time has given it the unquestionable power to amass wealth and enrich Gaddafi’s close allies and his loyal tribes.

The uprising started from the eastern part of the country leading to the involvement of the international community through the increased public outcry and incidences of crimes against humanity. To avoid appearing like a one-side-of the nation affair, a committee of 31 members was formed to represent the nation as a whole. The opposition is made up of a largely disorganized army with crude weapons. The leadership, though unclear, is all the freedom fighters can manage to pull together in a country dominated by anti-opposition power. Nothing justifies the violence in which our protests has evolved into, but considering that change must come to our country, everything possible has to be done to break more than four decades of oppressive rule.

 The notion that the freedom fighters have no particular political agendas in the event that Gaddafi falls is without reason. This is because looking closely at the helm of the leadership council most of them are intellectuals who are eager to see a new world order. Our revolution is made up of doctors, lawyers, and professionals from across the nation. Furthermore, to ensure that Gaddafi remains untouchable, he has created weak military and appointed members of his family (who share in his ideology), as generals of the most powerful defense forces. To further proof, the legibility of our course is that we have been forced by Gaddafi to resolve to violence as a way of airing their grievances. Initially, our leaders were open to dialogue mutual consensus, but because Gaddafi and his allies could not listen to our voice of reason, it has resulted in a long period of blood shade.

 in conclusion  Looking at the state of affairs, it suffices to conclude that “rebels” is not a suitable description of those Libyans championing for their rights. Furthermore, Gaddafi’s army has engaged in an off-the course affairs including raping the locals and invading hospitals in order to evade NATO’s air strikes. This has put patients in these hospitals at big risks and has left them living in a state of constant fear. I view of what and why the we are engaged in, it is not in order to refer to us as rebels as we are merely fighting to put to an end an era of oppressive rule.

Omar Ihwainish 
عمر يوسف  احونيش -نيويورك