Dear Muammar: You blew it. You really did.
If you had given up power voluntarily as Hosni and Zine El Abidine did, the new Libyan regime would have been in a much better position. They could have re-negotiated oil contracts. They would not have been beholden to any foreign powers. Libya would have been free, independent, and sovereign. Now, the rebel leadership will be forever indebted to Barack in DC, Nicolas in Paris, and David in London. You’re lucky Recep in Ankara restrained NATO.
But you had to mess things up. It’s always been all about you. You preached popular democracy, but practiced L’etat c’est moi. Now, Libya will pay a heavy price to secure its freedom. The Americans and Europeans aren’t lobbing Tomahawk cruise missiles and dropping 2000 pound bombs purely out of altruism.
There was a time people liked you. Like the time you drove around Libya in your VW Beetle evangelizing change and revolution. You were handsome in those days. You had such promise. You had a winning smile. Nelson Mandela even has a grandson named after you. You supported some good causes, like the ANC as they battled the Apartheid regime. But 42 years of your rule has only resulted in increasing tyranny and cruelty. Nobody wants to read your Green Book anymore. You’re a political Parasaurolophus, a misfit dinosaur from the heady days of Third World revolution.
The Libyans at home and in the diaspora are tired. It’s time to call it quits. The exiles want to return. They want to see their families. They want to breath Libyan air, and touch Libyan soil. The people of Libya want the one thing you have denied them since 1969: they want their dignity back. They want to live lives free of fear. They are tired of being tortured, disappeared, killed, humiliated, raped, and degraded.
Even though you blew it, and the bombs are now falling, you can still exit. We can still write a happy ending. As a fellow son of Africa, I implore you to go. I am sure we can arrange something. Given your penchant for Botox, plastic surgery, and overmedication, there must be a medical spa somewhere where you can indulge in your wildest aesthetic fantasies 24/7/365. I’d even volunteer to tend to your apparent dental bruxism.
Just leave the people of Libya and the world out of it. Please, go.
Mas’ood Cajee is a longtime contributor to altmuslim.com and is a founding board member of the Muslim Peace Fellowship and former national council member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Cajee is a general dentist in San Joaquin County, Calif. He is active as an advocate for public health and literacy.