Exclusive Interview with Organization Behind Libya's Revolution

Shalom Life speaks to Libya Freedom & Democracy Campaign about the revolution and what changes we can expect in Libya

Published: February 20th 2011
in News » World

Libyans protesting the Gaddafi regime

What the world has witnessed over the last month is unprecedented.  Long-standing regimes overseen by a cadre of vile, malicious dictators, finally being brought to their knees; their respective reigns of terror, fear and intimidation quelled by nothing more than peaceful protests led by those who couldn’t – wouldn’t – take anymore. It is proof that citizens, when united for a common goal, especially one as basic as personal freedom, could achieve the seemingly impossible.


Tunisia was the spark, but Egypt was the fire.  Having removed Mubarak, oppressed Arabs everywhere understood that no regime was too strong, too big or too oppressive.   


Libya, whose neighbor to the east is Egypt, and to the west is Tunisia, was once thought to be too strong to be reformed.  Protests have come and gone, but nothing ever changed, until now.  


72 hours ago a very powerful, and quickly developing uprising started to remove the regime that has ruled Libya for 42 years.  What once seemed impossible, now seems inevitable.  


One of the strongest organizations helping to support this democratic movement is the Libya Freedom & Democracy Campaign (LFDC), an organization comprised of Libyans living across the globe, using the internet and telecommunication to support those within Libya by providing unfiltered information to those living in Libya and the rest of the world.


Earlier today I had a chance to speak to the official spokesperson of the LFDC.  Understandably, due to the risk of danger to himself and his family, I was asked to keep all personal information confidential.


Shalom Life (SL): Much like Tunisia and Egypt, Libya is now having its own revolution, but for it’s own reasons.  Can you please explain what those are?  


LFDC: Libyans have their own bottled anger, but I believe ours is more than Tunisia and Egypt put together.  


Libyans, as of today, are still governed by law no. 15, which was established in 1972 which states that on average an employee will receive $250 USD.  After paying taxes we are left with about $200; yet our national annual income per capita exceeds $10,000 which should make us the richest in the continent. Sadly, this low wages are paid intermittently.  A person will be paid one month and then 3 months he won’t get paid.  The yield of oil has also increased dramatically in recent years and Libya is earning more money, but the people see no tangible benefits.    


SL: What changes do Libyans want to see?


LFDC: Libyans see 3 important issues that need to be fixed; Health care, education and civil infrastructures as a matter of urgency.  


For example, on average Libyans spend $2 billion USD on healthcare outside of Libya, $1 billion in Egypt and $1 billion in Jordan, because simply Libyan citizens have lost trust in the Libyan health care and the education system has virtually collapsed. 


Gaddafi, his children and other close members, on the other hand, have continued to exhibit ostentatious behavior that reflects life of debauchery and excess.  For example, in Gaddafi's recent visit to Italy, he had instructed the protocol department within the foreign affairs to contact call girl agencies in Rome, so they can get for him 500 girls on 2 different nights for parties in the Libyan Ambassador’s residence in Rome under the disguise of promoting the Green Book ideology and converting them to Islam, while the Libyan people were facing extreme hardship to make ends meet.  


To add insult to injury, upon his return, he went out in the streets of Tripoli. On Al Jamhurria street, outside Mawlai Muhammad mosque, he insulted Libyan women who were begging outside the mosque. He went as far as removing their veils and slapping one of them. This was an insult to Libyan dignity.  


SL: Reports are that the internet has been shut down in Libya.  How are you communicating with its citizens?  


Related articles: (Libya, Revolution, Gaddafi, )

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