In this NRO piece, Mohamed Eljahmi draws the curtains on Qadhafi's Libya ... it's not what some would have us believe:
More than two years after the U.S. government began its rapprochement, how goes life in Libya? At first appearance, some may think Libyan strongman Muammar Qadhafi has reformed. Last week, the State Department released its annual "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices." As pejorative as was the description of Libya, the report still puts too much of a fine patina on the Libyan regime. It inaccurately said that the Libyan security forces are under civilian control. They are not. They are under the control of Libyan military ruler, Col. Muammar Qadhafi as is every facet of Libyan political and economic life.
Qadhafi has sought to improve his image. On March 2, 2006, for example, he released 130 prisoners. This was an empty gesture. In the riots that followed the February 17 cartoon protests, Qadhafi rounded up scores of new prisoners. Political dissidents — my brother, Fathi, among them — have spent years in prison for the crime of demanding freedom of speech and multiparty elections.
Qadhafi is weak. There is no freedom of association in Libya. He staged the cartoon protests in front of the Italian consulate in Benghazi to rally populist support and extort concessions from a Europe too willing to self-flagellate and assume guilt. But something went wrong: The rally went awry. State-security officials and plain-clothed members of the Revolutionary Committees shot and killed 11 people. In the following three days, rioters burned government buildings, police cars, and branches of the Revolutionary Committees. Chaos grew as violence spread to the coastal cities of Tobruq and Derna. The Libyan government called in Special Forces and units of commandoes to take control and Benghazi was put under an unannounced state of martial law. ...
In a March 2, 2006, speech, Qadhafi said the riots occurred because the Libyans are angry with the Italians. He demanded Italy pay compensation for its past occupation of Libya. In the same speech, Qadhafi hailed his al-Jamahiriya "state of the masses" and condemned representative democracy, constitutions and free press. He argued that elections would only bring chaos. Many Arab dictators use the same strategy of fear. But the truth is inescapable. There is yearning for an end to the totalitarian state. Georgia has its Rose Revolution and Ukraine its Orange Revolution. In Benghazi, they now speak of the Vagabond's Revolution.
Read the full article here.
Mohamed has worked tirelessly for the release of his brother Fathi, a human rights and democracy activist, from Qadhafi's jails. Fathi was imprisoned for speaking out in favor of freedom of speech in 2002, and despite a brief release in 2004, has languished out of reach of family and friends ever since. FDD has been proud to help his cause:
The Committee on the Present Danger, which FDD helped revive in 2004, sent a letter to Qadhafi requesting a meeting with Fathi and medical treatment for his life-threatening diabetes. A press release on the result his here. A a supportive editorial from the Wall Street Journal is here.