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If you revert, we shall revert


By: Atef Elatrash*

I understand the collateral depression state accompanied the

Atef Elatrash

sixth anniversary of the Feb. 17th revolution (call it a calamity, conspiracy, or civil war, I will not burn you with a security report). But I will not turn a blind eye to the intentional falsification for its reasons and trajectory, especially after what I saw and documented since the first days.

Of the “forged truths” the raid against Al-Fadel Bu-Omar camp and its toppling in Benghazi. The fact, I stopped at, was that the Feb.17th martyrs’ funeral, started from the court to Al-Hawari graveyard, passed in front of the battalion to the graveyards, anyone lives inside Benghazi knows it. The battalion guards provoked mourners using phrases like “you think you can topple Gaddafi, woe you,” and other insults, and with such circumstances, what would be the reaction of the other side? Some youth grabbed as many stones as they could, available on the other side of the battalion, started to throw it, many mourners, including me, opposed such actions, but for only moments and they started shooting against the angry youth, many had fallen, it was normal that matters escalated from a spat to a raid that failed at the time, I stop here because I was arrested.

The question here: Why the Stun camp, infantry camp, air defense camp, armor, and artillery camp, as well as tanks camp and missiles camp, were not attacked? It happened to only that small battalion, but ask the people in Benghazi what Al-Fadel camp means for them.

Then we come to the seizer of weapons from camps; the promoted “forged truth” is that some parties were attempting to militarize the revolution, turn it into war and military confrontation with the regime.

The reality is that the reasons for the incident were that people of the eastern region remember well what happened in Feb. 17th, 2006 uprising and the subsequent crash of the uprising that broke out in Benghazi, Derna, Al-Baida, Tubrok and Ajdabiya, Gaddafi battalions crushed it; stones confronted bullets, NATO wasn’t there to protect civilians.

Days after, I remember, Abdallah Senussi holds an enlarged meeting with workers of the educational sector, which I attended, besides meetings with other sectors, he addressed one message: No indulgence with those who participated in the riots (as he put it), death for anyone who opposes Gaddafi regime.

Witnesses to the 2006 uprising remembered the stereotype, reflected it on the path of the revolution if things took the same peaceful manner, which is death, so it was normal for anyone who participated in the revolution to get the means of defense to avoid the same fate of the last uprising.

I remember well the days before the revolution, I had a conversation with my friend Al-Habib Al-Amin, I conveyed my fears and concerns of the repetition of the same experience, and the need to acquire weapons for self-defense, the question then ended with a huge question: From where we will get it?

Here we come to the “forged truth,” targeting and burning of police stations and vital institutions, the fact is that only the city police station and Ras Ebaida police station in Benghazi were burnt for simple reason, both stations were detention points for prisoners during 2006 uprising, and during the confrontations occurred in Feb. 15,16, 2011, subsequently became a legitimate target for the frustrated crowds.

Another “forged truth,” the revolution hampered development programs in Libya, thus there should be a universal conspiracy to foil it, the fact is that all projects stopped since 2009, due to struggle between the old guards of Gaddafi and the reformers. Any observer would realize it; the revolutionary thinking trapped reforming media with a solid language, development projects stopped.

Saying that life was stable, no one ever thought of a better life was another “forged truth.” I ask believers of such saying: how you explain the different demonstrations occurred in less than one year inside Benghazi alone, I remember: Bu Saleem massacre martyrs demonstrations, faced by internal security cleavers, demonstrations by girls of social care institute against sexual harassment they suffered, then they were pressured that “sexual harassment was an accusation against them rather than a crime”, Buatny drinks factory workers ended with the trail of demonstrators, besides preparations for other by soap factory, battery factory, and bikes factory, but the Tunisian Bouazizi in Tunisia ended it. Of course, some will say: Then we had a free expression; I say no. Once the demonstration ends, any media man who covers the incident was arrested immediately or harassed, or referred to the criminal court accused of libel and defamation. The participants’ accusations differed from arbitrary termination and late night visits.

Here I offer my testimony for what I witnessed closely back then and for what I documented in pictures and sounds inside Benghazi. So, please stop falsifying realities, as once things are calm, what you read will be documented in a book, if I read anything else with no proof, I will pursue them in courts.

It is natural, I am not satisfied with what the country is going through, and sufferings that citizens face, but it doesn’t mean we let those who exploit the current fiasco, deceive us with fraud realities.

For me, I consider everyone as a citizen, whatever their loyalties. I previously called, and I renew my call, neither February nor September shall draw our destiny, either we spare wisdom and save what is left, or kill yourselves, as Gaddafi said, I am tired of your pointless, endless divisions.

*A Libyan Writer and Journalist