Jalel El Gharbi
Qaddafi’s end starts in Benghazi, a traditionally rebellious city, 1000 kilometres away from Tripoli. In order to avoid the re-edition of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions between which he’s sandwiched, the colonel orders an extremely “strong” repression.
Special units are deployed. They were quickly supported by African militias and mercenaries who are in the Colonel’s pocket. Despite the imposed blackout in Benghazi, we get to know that the repression is fierce.
The “loyal” forces shoot into the crowd, use helicopters and machine guns. The hospital is overwhelmed. However, soldiers rally the people. Benghazi now escapes Gaddafi’s control. This is the case of other cities. Protestors have resorted to arms against merciless repression.
The death toll has exceeded 200.
The East of the country was quickly engulfed. The same Tunisian and Egyptian slogans are shouted. “The people want the system to collapse”, the slogan is repeated from city to city. Yesterday, its outcry has reached Tripoli. The same pattern seems to recur the spark is given in a traditionally rebellious provincial city (Sidi Bouzid, Suez, Benghazi) to reach the capital city.
Sunday evening (20th February 2011), Gaddafi’s son Seïf Al-Islam (literally meaning Sword of Islam), promises a stronger firmness than the one shown by Ben Ali and Moubarak in their first speeches. He accuses a foreign plot against which he will struggle, even by flowing “rivers of blood”. He also mentioned the risk of civil war and resumes his old promises of a “new Libya” with a constitution.
However, long ago, this region’s people have understood that you don’t put old wine into new bottles. The Syrian “monaric” model (translation of the word Jamlaka, formed from the words monarchy and republic) is no longer feasible.
On Saturday (19th February 2011), Libyan TV showed the arrest of tens of Tunisians, Egyptians, Sudanese, Turks, Palestinians and Syrians in various Libyan cities. They are accused of conspiring against the revolution (meaning the coup d’état of the 1st September 1969 that enabled the Colonel’s access to power).
Apart Berlusconi who advocates to “avoid disturbing Qaddafi”, it seems that the international community is showing more solidarity than it had done with the Tunisians.
We have just been informed that Mr. Ali Al-Aissaoui, Libyan ambassador to India has resigned in protest against repression.
If the uprisings get stronger in Tripoli in the coming hours, Mouammar Gaddafi will have to join Ben Ali and Mubarak. It is difficult to imagine another outcome as the Colonel Mouammar Gaddafi is determined to fight against his people to be able to pass his power on to Seïf Al-Islam.
Jalel El Gharbi
Translated from French by Elizabeth Grech