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Libyan Action: Write to Your Libyan Ambassador and Encourage Them To Resign


Libya was ruled by the Ottomans for three hundred and fifty years, then ruled by the Italians for fifty. At least a 1/3 of the local population were killed in resisting Italian rule and colonists reached up to 20% of the population. In 1951 independence was achieved, under the rule of a King Idris and a progressive constitution. However Libya underwent a military coup in 1969 and has been under control of Muammar al-Gaddafi since. Political parties were banned in 1972. Trade unions do not exist (although professional associations are integrated within the governmental system). There is no right to strike. After the coup, oil reserves (currently making up 58% of the GDP in revenue) were nationalised and collectivised.

Following the examples of Tunisia and Egypt, the people of Libya have risen to overthrow this ailing dictatorship. The response has been swift and brutal, with over 500 estimated deaths. On 18 February demonstrators took control over most of Benghazi, the second largest city of Libya, with some military and police units defecting, with subsequent protests in the capital Tripoli and Al Bayda. A number of Libyan diplomats have resigned in protest and others claim that they no longer supporting the Gaddafi regime. Saif El Islam, Gaddafi's second son, has threatened the protestors warning: "We will fight to the last man and woman and bullet. We will not lose Libya. We will not let Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and BBC trick us."

The people of Libya should be supported in their quest for a democratic and free Libya. An opportunity exists here for the establishment of a new system which allows political parties, free trade unions and civil rights. An opportunity exists here for a new regime that will socialise and equally share the vast oil wealth rather than being squandered for the luxuries of the political elite. An opportunity exists, once again, to utterly condemn those regimes who call themselves socialist, but are in reality a collectivist, authoritarian and totalitarian dictatorship.

The following is a sample text to send to your Libyan ambassador

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Dear ambassador,

The government of Libya is engaging in acts of murderous violence against its own population in protest. It no longer has the moral legitimacy to govern. We urge that you end your association with this regime, and follow the lead of the ambassadors to the Arab League, to Bangladesh, the European Union and Belgium, India, Indonesia, Poland and others. Take the opportunity to dissociate yourself and be remembered among those who were loyal to the Libyan people, rather than to the Qaddafi regime.
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Libya's armed forces are using machine guns and fighter jets against pro-democracy protesters -- hundreds have been killed and, without immediate international action, it could spiral into a national bloodbath.

The United Nations Security Council is holding emergency sessions on Libya now. If we can pressure them to agree to a no-fly zone over Libya, an asset freeze on Qaddafi and his generals, targeted sanctions against the regime, and international prosecution of any military officials involved in the crackdown -- this could stop airforce bombings and split Qaddafi's command structure.

We have no time to lose -- the people of Libya are being slaughtered by their own government. Click to send a message directly to all the UN Security Council delegations to stop the violence, and share this with everyone -- let's spur the UN to action with a flood of messages:

Colonel Qaddafi has ruled with an iron fist for 42 years with no parliament or constitution. He is the longest-serving dictator in Africa and the Middle East. No foreign press are allowed in Libya, and the government has shut down the internet and mobile phone networks in an attempt to hide the brutal violence. But protesters, who are demanding regime change and basic rights, are reporting that thousands of people are still taking to the streets even though hundreds have been massacred. UN human rights chief Navi Pillay says the government's attacks 'may amount to crimes against humanity'.

Appalled by the atrocities, Libyan diplomats and some army high command have already defected from the regime. If the UN can ramp up the pressure on Qaddafi and his cohorts -- confiscating their riches and threatening them with trials -- those commanding the brutality may reconsider and stop the bloodshed.

The UN Security Council presidency is now held by Brazil, a government with a strong commitment to human rights with whom Avaaz has a strong campaigning reputation. We don't have long to influence the UNSC -- let's flood their inboxes with messages from across the world! Send a message and forward this to friends and family:

The people of Libya are being gunned down for demanding freedom, health, education and a decent wage -- basic needs that we all share. Today, as a global community, let's raise our voices from every corner of the world to condemn the shocking massacres, and together take action to end the bloodshed and support the Libyans' rightful call for change.

With hope and determination,

Alice, Ricken, Pascal, Graziela, Rewan and the entire Avaaz team


UN council to discuss Libya, Al Jazeera

Choas and bloodshed in Libya

Live updates on Libya from the Guardian and the BBC:

Former Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa appears to have taken a pragmatic view of the conflict in Libya. Speaking to the BBC, he said:

It's quite clear in the best of worlds it would be a good thing for us to say you clobber [Gaddafi], capture him and let him stand for trial ... But we know that doesn't usually happen in the world in which we inhabit."

He added that the "lesser of two evils" could be to allow Gaddafi to "have a soft landing and save the lives of as many people as you possibly can".

In a year's time, let's see how far the NTC goes in implementing it's programme.

A vision of a democratic Libya

The interim national council hereby presents its vision for rebuilding the democratic state of Libya. This vision responds to the needs and aspirations of our people, while incorporating the historical changes brought about by the 17 February revolution.

We have learnt from the struggles of our past during the dark days of dictatorship that there is no alternative to building a free and democratic society and ensuring the supremacy of international humanitarian law and human rights declarations. This can only be achieved through dialogue, tolerance, co-operation, national cohesiveness and the active participation of all citizens. As we are familiar with being ruled by the authoritarian dictatorship of one man, the political authority that we seek must represent the free will of the people, without exclusion or suppression of any voice.

The lessons of our past will outline our social contract through the need to respect the interests of all groups and classes that comprise the fabric of our society and not compromise the interests of one at the expense of the other. It is this social contract that must lead us to a civil society that recognises intellectual and political pluralism and allows for the peaceful transfer of power through legal institutions and ballot boxes; in accordance with a national constitution crafted by the people and endorsed in a referendum.

To that end, we will outline our aspirations for a modern, free and united state, following the defeat of the illegal Gaddafi regime. The interim national council will be guided by the following in our continuing march to freedom, through espousing the principles of political democracy. We recognise without reservation our obligation to:

1. Draft a national constitution that clearly defines its nature, essence and purpose and establishes legal, political, civil, legislative, executive and judicial institutions. The constitution will also clarify the rights and obligations of citizens in a transparent manner, thus separating and balancing the three branches of legislative, executive and judicial powers.

2. Form political organisations and civil institutions including the formation of political parties, popular organisations, unions, societies and other civil and peaceful associations.

3. Maintain a constitutional civil and free state by upholding intellectual and political pluralism and the peaceful transfer of power, opening the way for genuine political participation, without discrimination.

4. Guarantee every Libyan citizen, of statutory age, the right to vote in free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections, as well as the right to run for office.

5. Guarantee and respect the freedom of expression through media, peaceful protests, demonstrations and sit-ins and other means of communication, in accordance with the constitution and its laws in a way that protects public security and social peace.

6. A state that draws strength from our strong religious beliefs in peace, truth, justice and equality.

7. Political democracy and the values of social justice, which include:

a. The nation’s economy to be used for the benefit of the Libyan people by creating effective economic institutions in order to eradicate poverty and unemployment – working towards a healthy society, a green environment and a prosperous economy.

b. The development of genuine economic partnerships between a strong and productive public sector, a free private sector and a supportive and effective civil society, which overstands corruption and waste.

c. Support the use of science and technology for the betterment of society, through investments in education, research and development, thus enabling the encouragement of an innovative culture and enhancing the spirit of creativity. Focus on emphasising individual rights in a way that guarantees social freedoms that were denied to the Libyan people during the rule of dictatorship. In addition to building efficient public and private institutions and funds for social care, integration and solidarity, the state will guarantee the rights and empowerment of women in all legal, political, economic and cultural spheres.

d. A constitutional civil state which respects the sanctity of religious doctrine and condemns intolerance, extremism and violence that are manufactured by certain political, social or economic interests. The state to which we aspire will denounce violence, terrorism, intolerance and cultural isolation; while respecting human rights, rules and principles of citizenship and the rights of minorities and those most vulnerable. Every individual will enjoy the full rights of citizenship, regardless of colour, gender, ethnicity or social status.

8. Build a democratic Libya whose international and regional relationships will be based upon:

a. The embodiment of democratic values and institutions which respects its neighbours, builds partnerships and recognises the independence and sovereignty of other nations. The state will also seek to enhance regional integration and international co-operation through its participation with members of the international community in achieving international peace and security.

b. A state which will uphold the values of international justice, citizenship, the respect of international humanitarian law and human rights declarations, as well as condemning authoritarian and despotic regimes. The interests and rights of foreign nationals and companies will be protected. Immigration, residency and citizenship will be managed by government institutions, respecting the principles and rights of political asylum and public liberties.

c. A state which will join the international community in rejecting and denouncing racism, discrimination and terrorism while strongly supporting peace, democracy and freedom.

Around the world the call has gone out for Libyans to form a centralised government. Unfortunately for the United States, China and Russia the Libyans are in no hurry to give up the new found freedoms they are now enjoying. Contrary to popular expectations, although Libya is flooded with guns and no centralised government has emerged since the end of the Gaddafi dictatorship, Libyans have not felt so safe and secure for generations. The calls for parliamentary elections and the establishment of a central government has been ignored by the bulk of the armed militias who currently exercise power in Libya.

People have got on with the business of living, children have gone back to school, street committees have become the primary vehicle through which power is exercised. Sharing a common history, destiny, language and geographical boundaries Libyans are using direct democratic principles to organise their lives. They have demonstrated they have no need for a centralised government. While power continues to rest in the hands of the street committees and militias Libyans will continue to be masters of their own destiny using the country’s wealth for their benefit, not the benefit of foreign transnational corporations who want to see the establishment of a centralised government they can cajole and control.

The Libyan people are at a crossroad they can extend their control over their country, forming a network of federations whose primary responsibility is to the people they represent or they can follow the rest of the world, establish a central government, hold parliamentary elections and lose the new found freedoms they have won to organise their own affairs free from outside interference.

From: Anarchist Age Weekly Review No.973

As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.