By Abdullah Alkabir, a Libyan political writer and commentator

The anniversary of 17th February revolution is commemorated in Libya, and as usual every year, the debate about the revolution and its consequences comes to the fore. The same questions are asked, is it a revolution or a conspiracy? The answer will be along affiliation lines, whether a proponent or opponent of the revolution. Obviously, without ignoring the levels of awareness and the degree of cultural and intellectual maturity of those who wish to dissect the revolution, in order to find adequate answers to all posed questions.

Sometimes it makes sense to answer a question with a counter-question, or even several questions such as; where is the conspiracy in people demanding their rights, dignity and freedom? Where is the conspiracy in rising up against corruption, tyranny and dictatorship? Where is the conspiracy in people asking for democracy to choose who run their affairs? Aren’t silence, acceptance of oppression, humiliation, persecution, and squandering the country's resources for the sake of illusions of glory and leadership, the real conspiracy?

The first wave of Arab Spring revolutions began in 2011 and then its second wave after about a decade, and yet still an interacting event, warning of more waves and uprisings, because most of the goals that prompted the people to take to the streets have not been achieved. As long as the reasons that drive people to revolution remain, no one will be safe from implosion and start of new waves, and no one can predict when they will erupt, because the revolution is an exceptional event in the history of peoples, necessitated by a combination of several factors and circumstances.

The Arab revolutions at the beginning of the current century were the noblest and most beautiful moment in contemporary Arab history, in which young people emerged and declared their just and legitimate demands in a spontaneous, peaceful and civilized manner, without ideological or partisan leaders. No one denies the spontaneity of the first days of all Arab revolutions, but the response of regimes of injustice and tyranny, which are good at nothing but repression and killing, confronted the youth of the revolution with bullets, and despite the youth’s observance of peace, the regimes insisted on violence. However, it was not excessive in Tunisia and Egypt as it was the case in Libya, since the Gaddafi regime rushed to burn the country with its military arsenal, prompting the revolutionaries to take up arms to defend themselves. So, the fronts flared up, and the conflict intensified, eventually leading to international intervention through UN Security Council resolutions.

Matters did not settle for the revolution after the overthrow of the head of the regime, so transnational Islamic political projects emerged, and the counter-revolutionary forces rallied their ranks, backed by regional and international forces, whose interest is not in the rise of the people to take control over their destiny and chart their own course.

Indeed, those forces were set to besiege the revolution and plunge the country into chaos, and the aspiring agents returned to seize the legacy of Gaddafi, in order to establish a new dictatorship with the same rules and mechanisms, and thus the struggle between the revolution and its enemies continued.

The collapsed regime and the forces resisting the change bear responsibility for all this chaos and instability. The revolution overthrew the dictatorial regime, but it did not get the opportunity to build a new system conducive to achieving the goals of the revolution. Rather, it continued to struggle with the forces that fought against it, in a country that became politically desertified due to the systematic subversion practiced by the previous regime. There are no parties, civil society organizations, or a political practice that develops national consciousness and unites it around a unified identity, and there are no constitutional institutions that can be resorted to when the country is exposed to serious threats, not to mention the discord left behind among the various components of the country.

The revolution anniversary is commemorated, yet the situation in all aspects of life did not witness clear progress. Nevertheless, the people flocked in thousands to the squares of the country to commemorate and celebrate the anniversary, without compulsion or threat to cut the salary or the consumer goods through the co-operatives, as the previous regime used to do, when it celebrates its anniversaries of seizing power.

Now, the jubilant and free people celebrate the anniversary because they feel, it is the most prominent event in the contemporary history of Libya, and that they participated in it to different degrees, and they pin great hopes on it, to achieve the historical transformation by restoring the homeland, and establishing a state of justice, freedom and democracy.

The revolution shattered the fence of fear, unleashed change, and wide-opened the door to the future, despite all frustration, retreat and deterioration of the situation, it will make its way no matter how great the obstacles are, until all goals are realized.


Disclaimer:  The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Libya Observer