The bridal face of Libya on 17th February, 2012 was worth a billion-sight to behold. It was the day every house seemed lit with colourful bulbs and every door decorated with tri-colour flags of freedom.
The celebration was remarkably amazing. The revelling shrill of the children, the glowing faces of the girls, the thumping boots of the youths and the rejuvenated spirits of the old…all witnessed their moments of rebirth in the glory of hard- earned independence and liberty.
Libya had never witnessed the same experience of shared joy before. The collective thrill and public jubilation had never been the components of national festivity before. The drum never beat its music and the firecracker never burst its way to the sky before. All was alien to the conscience of autocracy in the past.
The revitalizing mood of celebration on the day was even more than the combined merriment of Eid-ul-Fitra and Eid-ul-Adha together. It surpassed all its inhibitions and the night shied from its characteristics of darkness as the dwellers thronged the road with dazzling lights of the cars and the singing songs of patriotism. In short, the cities in Libya never slept…at least that was the temper like in Zliten.
In contrast, 17th February, 2011 was the day of earthquake in Libya when tyranny let loose its teeth to bite the awakened souls of the common masses. The day savagery danced to the tune of its thirst and hunger. The day bullets outnumbered the victims and darkened the night with blood of the innocent and the hapless.
Thereafter, the struggle began…the day seemed to have the shroud of the night with horror and the night seemed to have the lurking danger of hell. Finally what led to the climax of drama is history now.
Freedom is far superior to all the wealth accumulated. Libyans had almost everything before. They had houses, cars, shops, and lands to cultivate. They had wives, children, parents and all that a normal human being elsewhere in the world could aspire to attain in life. But they were deprived of one precious asset, and that was FREEDOM.
Truly, they were denied the rights to cultivate the nationalistic feelings. They were prevented from inventing patriotic songs that envisioned the future of Libya in unity beyond tribes and beyond one-man.
That caused most Libyans to live through the feelings of restlessness and rootlessness. That generated in them the frustration of unbelongingness. Such was the state of subjugation and slavery for over four decades without a query. Then what worth were all the houses and cars for?
Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), a Spanish novelist, dramatist and poet said, ‘Liberty is one of the most precious gifts which heaven has bestowed on man; with it we cannot compare the treasures which the earth contains or the sea conceals; for liberty, is for honor…’
The honor is finally back. The surge of nationalism was never seen before and national awakening never enveloped Libyans in as much way in the past as that of now. Finally, struggle for political independence has reached its zenith. National identity is something they should feel proud of.
But true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. It is good to announce the monetary reward for the parents as well as for the children on the historic occasion. However, such a defining moment of the day should be kept exclusively for policy announcement that affects the large group of people in the long run for financial rehabilitation.
Another aspect of gala on 17th February was that the restraint with which the freedom procession was organized in the streets without chaos and without proper security on the ground augurs well for the eventful moments of general elections to be held within months.
That also acknowledges the maturity with which Libyans have chosen freedom their way of life without causing nausea to others.
At the same time, those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like other martyrs, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. They should know that the pain they went through in getting it will require more endeavor in maintaining its continued existence.
The bridal face of Libya that was glimpsed to the world in the night of 17th February, 2012 could be kept in a state of constant smile forever only if Libya reflects its true character of liberty in every walk of life setting an example for other Arab countries to emulate. Only then the true spirit of 17th February will be attained with cherished message for liberty and dignity.
Published: The Tripoli Post, http://www.tripolipost.com/articledetail.asp?c=5&i=7914
Categories: Democracy in Libya