As the United States held the second “Summit for Democracy” this week, Libyans have expressed their doubts about the U.S. rhetoric of democracy.
Experts and citizens in Lybia have said that when they revolted against late leader Muammar Gaddafi’s government in 2011, they were hoping for stability and democratic transition, as promised by the United States. However, the North African country has since slipped into a state of insecurity and chaos.
NO BETTER LIFE
“Things have not changed for the better. Unfortunately, Libya has become a mess. Security is fragile, the economy is weak, and foreign interference continues,” Mohamed Dakhil, a father of four, told Xinhua.
“Twelve years ago, I used to receive a monthly salary of 900 dinars (about 700 U.S. dollars), enough for a whole month and more. Today, I earn more than 2,000 dinars (about 400 dollars), but I cannot survive a whole month with this amount. The price of goods has reached the point of insanity,” said the 49-year-old Libyan.
Naima Baraka, Mohamed’s wife, bakes and sells traditional bread to help her husband pay the house rent and family needs. “I lost my three brothers in the war in 2011. All our conditions changed from bad to worse,” she said.
Since the fall of Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has struggled to make a political transition amid escalating violence and political division.
The United States claimed that it helped Libya get rid of Gaddafi so that Libyans could enjoy democracy and freely choose their government, but in reality, it caused chaos and insecurity and left Libyans facing a dark fate of non-statehood, Ismail Ben Gharsa, a 60-year-old Libyan who has five children, told Xinhua.
“We only want America and its Western allies to leave us alone, and not to interfere in our affairs, because we are able to choose the political system that is in line with our social and political traditions,” he said.
FAILING U.S. DEMOCRACY
Noting that “the United States is always trying to show that it is a pioneer in democracy, human rights and public freedoms,” Libyan political analyst Faraj al-Dali said it is not the reality because the United States “suffers from clear distortions in its system itself.”
Meanwhile, “Washington should know very well that every country has a different identity and system that do not necessarily agree with it (Washington),” said al-Dali, adding that to respect democracy, one should not impose it by force.
Al-Dali’s remarks were echoed by Jalal al-Fitouri, a law professor, who said, “America is trying to delude the world that it has a unique and strong regime.” And it should not impose American democracy “by force, war, provoking strife and overthrowing regimes, as happened in Iraq, Syria, Libya and other countries.”
“The United States claims to be democratic while, in reality, spreads war and destruction in Libya and other Arab countries and steals their wealth under the pretext of combating terrorism,” said 32-year-old Omar al-Sharef.
“The truth is that America is contradictory in its policies. How can the United States host a summit on democracy when it is originally a colonial country that lives on plundering the wealth of other peoples?” al-Sharef said.