A Civil Exercise in Futility

Today is the fourth day in which I am stuck at home, staring blankly at the surface of my laptop screen and trying to articulate the frustration I have with the so-called “civil disobedience” strike in Benghazi.

Several rumors in the past weeks that claimed a strike was going to happen were dismissed as fabrications, until a group of people forcefully locked the gates of the university this Sunday.

What kind of civil disobedience, I hear you ask, uses brute force? One may reminisce on the days of Gadhafi, when institutes would be locked up and people forced to participate during whatever lunatic holiday he wanted to celebrate.

History seems to be repeating itself. Several schools found notes taped to their front gates in the morning, threatening them if they opened. Armed men went around forcing stores to close. A school’s chemistry lab was bombed (while the purpose was never publicly declared, one can assume it was for defying the disobedience).

What’s shocking is not just the acts themselves, but those in support of this farce. Otherwise intelligent and rational people are calling this strike necessary, and calling on others to follow. Many of the sheep jumped onto the bandwagon without any idea as to the goals of the disobedience.

What are the goals of this civil disobedience?

To make the GNC stop and pay attention to our crippled, bleeding city? We put our lives on hold last time and got nothing for our troubles except a few empty promises. What makes now so different?

Is it to intimidate or stop the terrorists?

At least 4 people have been assassinated so far, and a months old child is in critical condition.


A civil disobedience strike is a collective message from a unified group of people who have the power to affect their government by halting all functions in the city.

We are not unified, we have neither power nor a government, and our city doesn’t function. Not only that, but it only appears to be enforced during business hours, as the cafes, stores and restaurants operate during the evening. If one were to analyze this objectively, one would conclude that the strike is being supported/enforced by those who don’t want to go to school or work. And that is who the most vocal proponents seem to be.

And yet, if you challenge these lazy, dim-witted brutes, you are labelled insensitive and unpatriotic. “The only way you would care about the situation in Benghazi is if a relative of yours was killed!”

No, neanderthal. One does not need to show solidarity and compassion with a cause by supporting such futile and illogical course of action.

Instead of stopping the meager level of work and education that happens in the city, which if halted, hurts only ourselves, I support renewing our work and doubling our efforts. An encouraging page on Facebook calls for the citizens to work one extra hour for Libya. If we truly care about the situation, why can’t we put in the energy to really make a difference?

I can already hear the naysayers braying, “What about the assassinations and bombings?!”

I can’t tell you how to stop them, but I can tell you that stopping children from going to school and threatening shop keepers with a gun won’t help. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and using the tactics of the terrorists will never make you a hero.

There’s really nothing left to say. The situation in Benghazi is very bad, the government is either indifferent or an active element in the demise of the city. The citizens are frustrated, and this civil disobedience was the last resort for many.


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