The first of September, which happened to be the day before yesterday, had a special stature at many who can be categorized into more than one group. The first is the one who started to take action on dawn of September 1, 1969 to topple the regime in the Libyan Kingdom calling themselves the Free Unionist Officers and later their leader was known to be a young First Lieutenant not exceeding 27 years old named Muammer Abu Minyar el-Qaddafi. Another group included those who welcomed the move and supported it considering it, and for long years to come, a victory for the Arab Nationalism movement and the Nasserism ideology. A third group included those who made use of such action investing all their mental, psychological, and profiteer cunning opportunist abilities if I can say. In addition to all those mentioned before, we can add the opponents of such change and ideology including some Arabs, Israel, the USA and some western countries.
Al-Fateh revolution, along with its leader Muammer al-Qaddafi, is considered one of the most complicated and strange political phenomena, both as an event and in subsequent evolution, not only in the region but in the whole world. Such model that humanity never witnessed since the republican governing regime came to imminence; the regime that Muammer al-Qaddafi was the first to call for passing it to be replaced by the publics’ era. And that’s why Libya held the name the Libyan Arab Gamahieriya!
Well, to me, I admit that since the first days and incidents that escalated to the death of al-Qaddafi along with Abu Bakr Younis and others, I kept watching and following with scrutiny, feeling pain and suffering confusion, how Libya was dismantled and destroyed. That’s why I didn’t want to write or adopt a declared clear stance regarding it. Not because I lack the courage or information, but because what happened was and will be a phase in the way of big political and sociological changes witnessed in the region I call the Arab nation after World War II and also after 1948 war.
Also, I’m not going to write about history of such changes because the historian role is not yet due since the incidents are not yet complete and still accumulating quantitatively and changing qualitatively… I also admit that I lack the ability of practicing relative objectiveness which is supposed to be present at the historian because I’m considered, as per research disciplines, an eye-witness and an involved party in some cases!
Now comes the question… Why then do you write now? My direct answer is: because before writing these lines, I started writing an article about my dilemma in dealing with the management and mail of Al Ahram newspaper, which is a tough and strange ordeal by all means. After finishing almost half the article, I decided to postpone it. Afterwards, I started writing about the corruption eating away the Egyptian state and the national fabric that wore out and went fray when I asked people around: “what day are we today?”… They answered it’s the first of September. Suddenly, many faces of my Libyan friends popped up before me… those whom I knew, got close to, argued, fought and agreed with for many long years since February, 1972 until this moment!
I remembered the first of September and the carnivals, seminars, massing delegations, flattering circles that turned many times into worship rituals or hysterical practices like what happens in Zaar cult… I remembered many faces and features whom I saw vigorously enthusiastic for the leader Qaddafi, revolution, publics’ era, the green book, the third universal theory and revolutionary committees. Those faces who used to turn into burning-hot coal ready to scorch anyone who has a notice to say – even if it was simple – and to accuse him of underdevelopment and of being reactionary at minimum or even deliver him to the primitive guillotine at maximum. That guillotine which was composed of an empty gaseous water box where the “ill-favoured” one used to stand on with the rope hanging from above in a play court or street and then the box is suddenly pushed away for the rope to get tightened around the neck of the ill-favoured while yelling in pain!!
I had already taken the decision, along with my late friend Mr. Kamel Zoheiri, not to enter Libya once again. That was on 1987 after we were invited to participate in an international seminar about the future of the publics’ revolutionary struggle… It was nearly only me and Kamel who acted like the scrutinizing watch dogs and kept monitoring the stances taken by tens of Arab intellectuals and politicians. It was mere coincidence that the majority of the political parties and movements participating were adopting Lenin’s Marxism. I remember when Kamel Zohieri whispered to me laughing: “Hey, boy… don’t you notice that we have shifted from Lenin’s Marxism to Libyan Marxism on hands of those Arab communists” and then I burst in laughing… Of course, both of us, Kamel and me, were punished by negligence due to not agreeing with the rest and so while all participants went to meet the leader Qaddafi in Sert, we were kept in our rooms in the hotel knocking all doors and asking to go back to Cairo but in vain until the situation was resolved in a funny way I shall tell later!
I was considered to be a close friend to elite-position leaders of the second ranks of the revolution leadership… I also was welcomed to the extent that I have a warm friendship with the noble late Abu Bakr Younis who was killed due to his loyalty… I was a stubborn outspoken arguer too to Abdel-Sallam Galloud… I got to know al-Khouwailidi al-Hamidi and Mostafa al-Kharoubi… I also sat to Muammer al-Qaddafi twice, one of them took a long time in Abu Bakr Younis’ house where I was accompanied by the late genuine artist Abdel-Rahman el-Khamisi, then-head of journalists’ syndicate the respectful Hussien Fahmi, the lawyers Abdel-Azim al-Maghrabi, Muhammed al-Mesmari and Muhammed Elwan… May God have his mercy over those who left our world … It’s a session that needs to be documented and published indeed! I knew and even was close to Saleh al-Doroki, Salem Bushrida… I knew Omar al-Hamedi and Abdullah Hegazi… I was and will always be one of the closest friends to Abdel-Qader Ghoka… Every one of those has his own story and drama associated with it!
In Libya, I met my dear friend and brother Mr. Magdi Sultan Hussien, cousin of Gamal Abdel-Nasser. I also met Mustafa; Nasser’s brother, and other Egyptians who found support, work and hope there!... In the middle of all this, I attended common meetings between the Arab Taliy’a movement which I was one of its leaders and the revolutionary committees’ movement which was leading the revolution there in Libya. In those meetings, we were accused of being reactionary because, in Abdel-Salam Galloud’s point of view and that of the revolutionary committees, the real Arab nationalist is the one who joins the Libyan revolution and believes in the ideology that those committees are the only viable governing system that should prevail everywhere and that only traitors are those who call for organizing and working in parties. They also believed that Nasser is a historical leader like Omar al-Mukhtar, Salah ed-Din and even Omar ibn el-Khattab, whose era are now gone… and that real nationalist who wants his ideology to spread worldwide shall adopt all ideas included in the green book and the third universal theory… I was lucky enough to be the one arguing with Mr. Galloud in a hot debate attended by Egyptians, Lebanese and Syrians whom some of them may not prefer their names be mentioned!
Yes… I’ve witnessed all these events since 1972 and I was and will be a living eye-witness until I die and then turn into a memory myself… My testimony and memories are subject to history criticism and are not taken for granted. Again I say.. that until this moment I still mourn in pain over my friend Abu Bakr Younis, the noble knight who was killed due to his loyalty to his life-time companion and leader of his revolution.
This article was published in Al Ahram newspaper on September 3, 2015.
To see the original article, go to:
#alahram #ahmed_elgammal #libya