Saturday, November 15, 2008

Is that really the kind of note on which President Bush wants to end his second presidential term?

The Rosett Report

November 14th, 2008 8:26 pm

Meanwhile, Behind a Barred Window in Libya…

President Bush, in his second inaugural address, talked about advancing the ideals of freedom as “the calling of our time.” Strange, then, that a brave democratic dissident in Libya, who answered that call — and has spent years in Libyan lock-ups for his pains – has received so little support or attention from the Bush administration. I’m talking about Fathi Eljahmi, Libya’s most famous democratic dissident, now 67 years old, and still behind bars, his voice not heard in public for more than four years.

During those same four years, Moammar Gadhafi, dictator of Libya since 1969, has been riding high as the State Department’s Exhibit A of “diplomatic success” in winning over rogue regimes (since then, a raft of rewards lavished upon Gadhafi have failed to inspire any other rogue regimes to offer up their up themselves — and their WMD programs — as Exhibit B). By now, the message of the State Department seems to be that while freedom is officially America’s calling, when someone actually tries to answer, our diplomats hit the mute button. It would behoove President-Elect Barack Obama and Vice-President-Elect Joe Biden to correct that message very soon, possibly by finding the audacity to invite Fathi Eljahmi to Obama’s January inauguration — for reasons explained in my column this week for, “Free Fathi Eljahmi.”

But even more urgently, Michael Rubin reports on NRO’s The Corner that while Fathi Eljahmi begins his seventh year behind bars in Libya, the Condi Rice State Department is planning a welcome in Washington next week for Gadhafi’s eldest son and chief emissary, Saif Gadhafi. Has Condi briefed the President on this arrangement? Is that really the kind of note on which President Bush wants to end his second presidential term? The term that Bush began with the words: “All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your repression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you. Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country.” For Fathi Eljahmi, time is running out. Will anyone in Washington now redeem that pledge?

1 comment:

Abdo said...

As a Libyan, I sincerely thank the author on behalf of all Libyans for her efforts to shed some lights on Mr. Eljahmi's imprisonment and his basic Human Rights violation and advocating his release. However, let’s be realistic! I think it is totally wrong to declare "the future of the Libyan-American relationship will be affected by the Libyan government's treatment of Mr. Eljahmi." for the following reasons:

1- The physical and psychological damages that Mr. Eljahmi had endured are very severe and possibly permanent that he might never recover from and could cost him his life (GOD forbid). He was sentenced to a slow death by denying him medical care for his ailments and drugging him with all sorts of medications that affected his brain function and well-being. This is how the Libyan government treated Mr. Eljahmi. So, releasing him at this stage should not be considered as a good gesture from the gaddafi regime because the man’s life has been destroyed already! and gaddafi is the one to blame.

2- To pressure the gaddafi regime to free Mr. Eljahmi is a great and a noble cause and if he is released that is even better (in fact I am sure he will be released because they know now that he is a helpless man) but … is that good enough? I think it would be a big mistake to weigh future relations with the release of only one political dissident. How many other Eljahmi’s likes are there locked in prisons and tortured, some of whom died, some were killed by the thousands as what happened in abu-sleem massacre 1996.

Perhaps the author of this article and senator Biden don’t know of another jailed Libyan dissident, Dr. Idris Boufayed who announced, with a group of other Libyans, a plan for a peaceful demonstration on February 17, 2007 to commemorate the first anniversary of the killing of 12 demonstrators in Benghazi by security forces. They were all arrested and jailed and he was later sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was a healthy individual but mysteriously became terminally ill with cancer in just few months after he was arrested and was denied medical care till recently after he became gravely ill and after some international Human Rights organizations started calling for his release for humanitarian reasons. Although he was released, he was not allowed to travel abroad to seek medical help since hospitals in Libya could not treat him. So here is another case where this man was indirectly sentenced to slow death by one way or another (I would not rule out deliberate exposure to radioactive materials as a form of punishment). These are just few examples of the brutality of the gaddafi regime against political dissidents.

The bottom line is, if America’s promise is to stand up for champions of freedom the world over, then let's (forget about the Bush administration) hope that the new administration of the white house would honor this promise unconditionally and should never restore any relation with the monstrous regime of gaddafi until ALL political prisoners are freed and drastic changes are implemented in terms of basic Human Rights … Now let’s be realistic again, would gaddafi instigate these changes while still in power…Nah…never…don’t be naïve! This dictator could never be rehabilitated…the evildoer is his character!

Finally, in my honest opinion, I do not think that America will jeopardize its relations (interests) with Libya for the sake of Mr. Eljahmi or other political dissidents. America’s interests are far more important than Human Rights abuses in Libya… and we are witnessing that day by day! This is the sad reality!

Abdoellibie / canada