The optimism that we as Libyans felt at the end of the Gaddafi rule is being replaced by a return to a regime of ME ME ME. On February 17, 2011 we were all united with one thought, to overthrow the hated system of corruption, nepotism and cronyism that had become the byword of all business opportunities, jobs, scholarships, political appointees in the embassies abroad etc, etc, etc In fact the cancer of our lives.
Nothing could be achieved without one of the Gaddafi Royal Family’s nod or signature. Greed was the principle guiding light of our society. A society without any moral backbone and with a people feeling paralysed.
On arriving in Jordan last year it was with a feeling of great pride when Jordanians asked me ‘from where do you come ?” and I would reply ’I am Libyan’. I was embraced by one and all for the bravery and heroism of our fighters. Those who willingly sacrificed their lives in the pursuit of freedom for all of us of whom tragically so many lost their lives. To put it into prospective if we take the number who died due to the small population of Libya the numbers do not instantly appear to the outside world that large.
However, if we relate the numbers in relation to the population of the United States this would equate to three million having died in the conflict, a staggeringly huge number. Today as we look at our population so many wives have lost husbands or mothers sons or children and fathers.
Are these people to become the victims of our society once again? This is not to mention those who were seriously wounded during the conflict and have lost eyes, hands, legs or are confined to a wheelchair due to spinal injuries. These are the people whom we should be looking after not ME who escaped free thanks to their bravery and heroism.
Yet in Jordan today there are 28,000 Libyans who have spent LD260 million on medical treatment when the budget to maintain the Libyan hospitals for 2012 is only LD30 million; the amounts do not seem to add up.
As I go round the five star hotels, restaurants, clubs and malls to personally investigate what is going on, all I can see are Libyan men and women going to the spa, libyan children running round hotel lobbies, Libyans sitting in the coffee shops eating and drinking five star hotel food, Libyan youth enjoying the Jordanian night life and Libyans in the malls with bags full of designer goods all with no apparent war injuries. What are they doing here I ask myself? Where did they they get the money from?
On the Jordanian press one daily reads of Libyans in Jordanian prisons as a result of fights, from being drunk, taking drugs and stealing to name but a few of their crimes. Is this the new reputation we want for our country?
Much has already been written and shown on the television channels about our people coming to Jordan on false medical allowances and of the people working in the Medical Committees taking bribes and commissions from hotels and doctors.
These officials have been targeted as the criminals and without a doubt they are. This cannot be denied and they should have to pay for their malpractice.
However, surely the people who are taking advantage of this situation should equally be made to feel completely ashamed for the money they are taking falsely from the martyrs’ sacrifices.
These people have left behind in Libya victims who do truly need medical help but are unable to receive treatment because they do not have these corrupt thieves’ connections or the finances to bribe Libyan officials.
Don’t these chancers feel one shred of guilt that they are enjoying themselves holidaying in Amman or by the swimming pool at the Dead Sea, in 5-star hotel spas, having various cosmetic surgeries and minor dental procedures etc., whilst others are suffering? Where are their morals? They are not the clever ones; they are the greedy ones who are perpetuating the morals and ethics of the old Gaddafi regime.
Let us not follow the path of northern Mali but rather resolve our differences. Yes it is going to take time to re-educate people that corruption is not the name of the game and this cancer has to be removed from our society. I want to be proud again of being Libyan through knowing that Libyans care about each other more than themselves. That tribal differences are not the flavour of the day. That Gaddafi is not sitting in hell mumbling to himself and laughing ‘I told you so, if you got rid of me I knew what the result would be, dog eats dog”.
We have to think WE not ME. That way we can rebuild our country to act as a flagship of the Arab spring. Be a people who practise the tenets of our religion not just mouthing them five times a day. We need to shame these opportunists or chancers who have taken money from those who do truly need the finance.
By so doing we can stop the haemorrhaging of our nation’s wealth and give medical help to those who truly need treatment. We can then once more become proud of our achievements, regain our respectability and honour. We can rebuild Libya to become the Pearl of the Mediterranean as historically our nation was once known thereby ensuring that the sacrifices of so many will not have been in vain.
The writer is Counsellor Minister, with the Libyan Foreign Ministry. He contributed this article to The Tripoli Post.
Source: Tripoli Post