Libyan revolutionaries speak out: ‘The West’s war machine won’t help us win’
He was speaking at a press conference to explain how the national revolutionary council is attempting to co-ordinate the rebel cities and administrate daily life.The revolution looks close to defeating a dictatorship that had until recently appeared unstoppable. Colonel Gaddafi’s 41-year old regime now only controls the area around the capital Tripoli.Gaddafi’s response has been brutal. The regime has opened fire on unarmed demonstrations with machine guns and rockets.It has used fighter jets against protests. Thousands may have died in the attempted crackdown.Western intervention would be a disaster. The rebels still have the initiative, and they need to keep it.All the major cities and towns, apart from the capital, are run by revolutionary councils—from Benghazi in the east, to Misrata, in the industrial heartlands of western Libya. These councils are growing in strength—on one day last week alone some eight towns set up these councils and declared for the revolution.All observers speak of the efficiency and energy of the councils and the relaxed air of “freedom” in the areas under their control.In Benghazi, despite food shortages, the poor speak of howthey are eating better now than before the revolution. Food and other services are organised on the basis of need.
'The Libyans watched from an open window of the immigration post, leaning out to see the 20,000 fleeing Egyptian, Bangladeshi, Chinese and Iranian workers heaped
up against the border wall. They seemed quite unconcerned, shirt-sleeves rolled up, moving to a window closer to this crowd.
Already up to 75,000 have struggled into Tunisia, but yesterday the crossing system collapsed as thousands of men, almost all Arabs desperate to escape Muammar
Gaddafi's state, fought with local Tunisians who – under the eyes of the army – attacked them with stakes and iron bars.
Of all the gloomy stories
yesterday, however, none was as
grim as that of Adel Jumaa. He
was a young Libyan who had just
escaped across the southern
Tunisian border and spoke of Libyan special forces checkpoints,
of senior police officers shot by the regime, of the people of western Libya
who wanted to get rid of Colonel Gaddafi but who were unarmed and too
fearful to leave their homes. Libyans who had spoken to foreign television
stations by telephone had been arrested and "disappeared".
He said: "There is a big bridge this side of Tripoli and Gaddafi has put
dozens of missiles on the eastern end. The security people checked my car
up to 15 times at road blocks. They were looking for telephone smart
cards, PIN cards, anything to do with communications."
This surreal awfulness was all too well illustrated for me when, driving back from the border
last night, I listened to Colonel Gaddafi's state radio broadcasting the 5pm news from Tripoli.
Here, for students of the absurd, were the contents.
President Barack Obama has announced that al-Qa'ida controls Benghazi. The
"people of Libya" have denounced UN sanctions. A South African "King" has
telephoned Colonel Gaddafi. Revolutionary Committees will protect the people from terrorists of a "well-known group".
An independent Libyan committee has been set up to inquire into recent "disturbances" and to find out why foreign news organisations were lying about Libya. The Libyan people "are happy to defend their revolution and their historic leadership and the achievements of their beloved leader".
In Benghazi, "the
people who did 9/11 are slaughtering and raping".
Oh yes, and an imam denounced all other imams who criticised the beloved leader and all foreign news organisations which denounced the same Great Leader. And then, on a
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-panic-on-borders-as-chaos-engulfs-libya-2229612.htmltelephone line, a "reporter in Benghazi" described al-Qa'ida's cruelty towards the people of Libya.