Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Libyan Mandela | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Libyans are entitled today to celebrate the fall of the tyrant Muammar Gaddafi, after nearly four decades of farce and madness. However, the Libyans today can also celebrate another gain they have achieved through their cruel revolution, namely Mustafa Abdul Jalil, Chairman of the National Transitional Council.

Of course I do not know Councilor Abdul Jalil personally, but men are known for their positions, and this is what is important. Among the positions declared by the Councilor, one stands out in particular, which he announced on the al-Jazeera satellite channel, following the recording of shots being fired in the residence of Mohammed Muammar Gaddafi, the day before yesterday, in a live telephone interview with the Qatar-based channel. At the time, it seemed that a break-in and assassination attempt had occurred, and afterwards al-Jazeera contacted Mr. Abdul Jalil to confirm the safety of Gaddafi’s son. The al-Jazeera anchor expressed concern that Gaddafi’s son had been subjected to a calculated assassination attempt, and this is another story worth highlighting later.

Significantly, Abdul Jalil came out on the Qatar-based channel, on the night that Tripoli was liberated, speaking quietly as a dignified, wise man, aware of the difficulty of what was to come in Libya. He was not arrogant or gloating with regards to Gaddafi’s son, whose father described members of the National Council, chaired by Abdul Jalil himself, as outside agents, traitors and rats. Abdul Jalil spoke on air to reassure al-Jazeera that Mohammed Gaddafi was fine, clearly and firmly ruling out the principle of revenge, and threatened that if revenge was indeed the goal of the rebels, then he would announce his resignation. Furthermore, Abdul Jalil admitted that among the rebels were Islamic extremists, who do not consider him their leader. Yet he said that relations between them and the Council would be reconciled after the fall of Gaddafi, and after all arms have been collected. Otherwise, Abdul Jalil stated that he would resign from chairing the Council. He said quietly and confidently that he only fears God, is indifferent to death, and is not greedy for power. Thus, he will never accept revenge, but rather he wants Libya to cross its upcoming phase in peace, and for all those who have committed crimes against Libya and the Libyans to be tried in front of a fair and impartial trial. In other words, he does not want to treat Gaddafi’s sons and his associates the same way that Gaddafi acted for decades.

Thus, if this is truly the position and essence of Mr. Abdul Jalil, then the Libyans should congratulate themselves for the emergence of a Libyan Mandela among them, and a genuine revolutionary leader cut from the same cloth as Gandhi and other leaders who were mighty in their wisdom, rather than violence, like Gaddafi. Libya’s Mandela – Mustafa Abdul Jalil, by adopting a position of moral courage, namely by defending the son of the Colonel on the day his father’s regime collapsed, is able to give hope to all those who have watched the Libyan situation unfold with concern for the coming days, especially with the talk of tribal status, the presence of Islamic extremists, and other controversial issues. Thus, all Libyans must rally around the Libyan Mandela today, and the Arabs must do likewise. They must give him confidence and support so that he can launch the project to rebuild a respectable Libyan state, rather than the state which hosted Africa’s “King of Kings”, who squandered the capabilities of the Libyan people for four decades with his absurd and crazy ventures.