I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately.
I was thinking of doing a blog post entitled “Four Years On”, because I’ve gotten into the tradition of writing an anniversary post for the revolution. But, I also realize that writing a commemorative post during what has got to be the worst time for Libya since WWII would be a bad idea, deciding instead to spare you the despair and anger that I’d probably come up with if I attempted to write about how I felt now. (Spoiler alert, it’s still a despairing read)
It would be easier to just post headlines from 2011 to now, so you can get a sense of just how far we’ve sunk into the Failed State category. They follow the general pattern of; “Revolution a Success!” “Goodbye Gadhafi!” “Uh Oh, Trouble in Paradise” “Something’s Rotten in the State of Libya” “Extremists Extinguish the Spark of the Revolution” “Oh Crap What the Hell is Happening in Libya”. One headline is literally “The Revolution that Ate its Children”.
You get the idea.
A year ago I would’ve been prepared to lambast anyone who claimed that life was better under Gadhafi. I mean, yeah, sure, life sucks, but not like under Gadhafi, right? Right? I found any excuse to validate this belief, so I didn’t feel the crippling feeling of regret that I participated in something that ruined my country and that took thousands of innocent lives. But hey, that was easy, I was still living in my house at the time, still studying at university for my degree.
And now? I can’t really bullshit myself anymore. It was a disaster. A completely idiotic thing.
Not the getting rid of Gadhafi part. He was a monster, an insane megalomaniac who shouldn’t have been outside a lunatic asylum, let alone the head of a country.
No, I mean the obsequious welcoming of a group of double shafras who “led” the revolution from abroad and who screwed the country over. Yeah, I know, I know, not all of them were double shafras. But those ones were the “educated” people who “deserved” to be in charge because of their “struggle” under Gadhafi. Are the quotation marks pissing you off? Good, I’m pissed off too.
A lot of people say it’s the Libyans own fault (you darn Libyans), for, you know, not knowing how to be democratic and stuff. Shame on you Libyans, why didn’t you just wing it. Why blame the leaders who didn’t lead. Bad Libyans, bad.
Life was not good under Gadhafi. But at least there weren’t street wars. At least the airport was open and you could get your passport renewed for if (or when) you wanted to escape. Now it’s not even easy to escape because no one wants war-affected Libyans on their doorsteps.
I got a lot of good things from the revolution. I was pretty lucky in that regard. But if I had to give all that back in exchange for the dead and the suffering, I would do it in the blink of an eye, because it sure as hell wasn’t worth it.
Before writing this, my alter ego “Insufferable Optimist” whispered words of encouragement to me, that writing this would be a great catharsis, that you would find hope at the end and realize that there was still something worth fighting for. I promptly tied her up and stored her in the dark recesses at the back of my mind.
There’s nothing “worth fighting for”. The only thing we can do is minimize the suffering and hope that the country somehow manages to cling on to some semblance of existence as an autonomous nation after all this. Because let me tell you, chances of that happening are looking slimmer by the day.
Did you hear about the foreign planes? And the bombing? And the beheadings? Can you really look a Libyan in the eye today and tell them that the revolution was worth it? Entire families have been wiped out, people are living inside of fucking schools.
What were the goals of the revolution again? Democracy. Nope, still none of that. Freedom of speech? Well, if you’re prepared to die after speaking. A better country for all? *bitter laughter*
I’m being a total buzzkill, aren’t I? I bet you clicked on this looking for some rational, level headed analysis of the “Libyan Situation”. But there’s nothing rational or level headed about the Libyan Situation. The Situation is a mess. A maddening crisis deserves a maddening post. I am MAD goddammit, mad that I participated in the revolution and mad that I’m weak enough to admit that I regret it.
Maybe when the war ends (uhh?) and when things settle down, I’ll look at this and wonder what I was so enraged about. Things will seem like a dream when the war is over and there’s electricity and gas again. Or maybe there will be foreign forces in Libya and I’ll write sarcastic tweets about them. “Your guns will totally protect you in the land of guns, UN team.” Ha ha ha.
Frankly, I’m fed up and tired. Not fed up like ‘uhh, this sucks’. No, fed up as in ‘can the earth swallow me whole so I don’t have to live through this anymore’. If I had stayed home and kept quiet instead of protesting those far-away days ago, things would be the exact same. But I wouldn’t feel this heavy weight on my conscious like I share in the responsibility for the misery that’s enveloped us. I’m sad for the average Libyan, I’m angry at the politicians and I’m terrified of the future.