Smoke rises from heavy shelling as Libyan rebels who are part of the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi retreat during a battle with Gadhafi's troops, outside the town of Bin Jawwad (Photo: AP
Yesterday, the Friends of Free Libya Executive Committee met in Cairo’s Garden City Club, bringing together Libyan and Egyptian political, legal and civil society activists.
Included are prominent political analyst Amr Hamzawi who is the chairman of the committee, Nasser Amin, human rights advocate and general manger of the Arab Centre for the Independence of the Judiciary, Amir Salem, director of the Legal Research Centre for Human Rights, and Faiz Gebril, representative of the Libyan National Congress in Egypt.
Activists discussed the role of civil society in raising awareness across the Egyptian public, fundraising for medical supplies and humanitarian aid, and the role of the media. Lobbying for the Libyan cause was discussed, including the suggestion of banning Libyan State TV on Nile SAT, or airing Libyan revolutionary channels.
Al- Zahraa Langhi, coordinator of Free Libya in Egypt, underlined the importance of the initiative, especially to coordinate already existing efforts to support the Libyan revolution. “There are already humanitarian aid convoys, and medical assistance from Egypt, but the efforts need to be coordinated. And we need to support the revolutionary Libyan TV channels 'The free revolutionary Libyans' and 'Free Libya'. They need to be seen in Egypt. Also the authorities should stop airing Libyan State TV, which promotes lies and incites hate,” Al-Zahraa said.
He added that Free Libya in Egypt is going to be a focal point for training human rights advocates in Libya and raising awareness on, as well as documenting, human rights violations.
Abdallah Schleifer, the international coordinator of Free Libya, is more concerned about the situation in Benghazi and the lack of proper military aid and training in Libya than the media and human rights situation. “Although the rebels have popular support, it is not reflected in provision of military training. I only hope that military experts from, say, Egypt would volunteer and train them on discipline, organisation, and planning," said Schleifer.
Schleifer underlined the importance of Arab solidarity. “This is realistic pan-Arabism, not like the utopian solidarity of Nasser. Now the Egyptians are supporting the Libyans ... the whole world sympathises with Libya and admires the Arab revolt,” he added.
Faiz Gebril of the Libyan National Congress agreed, adding: “This is Egypt’s chance to regain its role as the centre of the Arab world. We are lucky the 25 January Revolution was ahead of us so that the Egyptians can support our revolution. We need Egypt’s free media to support the Libyan cause and not deal with it as an item in a news bulletin but to support and encourage the unprecedented Arab revolt,” said Gebril.
At the end of the meeting the group asserted the importance of the protest and solidarity demonstrations. March and April has seen some of the worst human rights abuses in Libyan history. The date 7 April also commemorates the killing in 1976 by Gaddafi's Revolutionary Committees students who opposed his rule — one of the most notorious of many human rights abuses and atrocities authored by the Gaddafi regime. The day is marked annually.
The protest is set to start at 12pm Thursday in front of the Libyan embassy in Zamalek. It will also coincide with several protests worldwide in front of the Libyan embassies as well.