In his famous speech in February 2011 Muammar Gaddafi used the words 'shibr shibr, bet bet, dar dar, zenqa zenqa, fard fard' to voice his intention to rid Benghazi of the terrorists 'square by square, house by house, room by room, alley by alley and person by person'. Unfortunately the United Nations were fooled into believing that Gaddafi's air force had bombed certain districts in Tripoli, and that a terrible massacre against 'civilians' was about to take place. Well, we all know what happened afterwards after the 'no-fly-zone' was used by NATO as an excuse to take side in a conflict by completely destroying the Libyan army with thousands of lethal bombs.
On October 20, 2011 NATO bombed a convoy of cars that was fleeing Sirte, leading to the merciless killing of this great man, founder of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Although he was assassinated that day, his ideas did not die along with him. The concept of a country ruled by its people through a form of direct democracy, without high officials, banksters or big corporations exploiting the people, is an idea that should inspire many of us today.
Introduction of the concept of Shibr Twittr
In an attempt to not only commemorate Muammar Gaddafi, but also to revive the idea of a Jamahiriya-like society, I would like to introduce a new verb, namely to shibr shibr twittr or to shibr twittr, whatever you like better. Shibr shibr twittr has got a funny ring to it, but shibr twittr sounds more practical. How does one 'shibr twittr'? Simply put, the term refers to a mode of mindful twittering that adds a positive and preferably personal note to a tweet.
Before I will elaborate on this, I would like to share some thoughts on the possible idle fixation on Libya, as the future of the Jamahiriya. Although Gaddafi started the Jamahiriya in Libya, the current state of affairs makes it unlikely for it to return in the near future. Although it is tempting to support the Green Resistance and its attempts to restore the Jamahiriya, I think they are unlikely to succeed. On a ethical level one may wonder if it is the right way to fight for a Jamahiriya through killings and bombings. I guess Muammar Gandhi, oops, Mahatma Gandhi would disagree with that method.
Perhaps the Jamahiriya currently is not be found in that North-African country, but within ourselves. In How to Mathabafy your Local Universe (1) I go about exploring the concept of creating a mathaba/meeting atmosphere in your own local community, simply by trying to consciously engage in a friendly way with the people you meet.
Building a Shibr Twittr Mathaba
The word mathaba refers to a meeting place of revolutionaries, of people uniting to fight oppression and abuse. But it also is a meeting ground for people to work towards a peaceful society where exploitions is reduced to a minimum. Within the Twitter community there are quite some people who feel sympathic towards the Jamahiriya and there are many more who share a common opposition towards imperialism, neo-colonialism, manipulative media and greedy corporatism.
Couldn't we somehow do something useful and constructive with all those tweeting people who resonate with this mode of thinking? To tweet and retweet certain articles is ofcourse a relatively useful way to spread ideas, but is it the best we can get out of this community? Couldn't we do better than that? Couldn't we add something that allows us to actually act as if we already were in some kind of Jamahiriya society, as if we were walking on a square to meet with others in a way that brings joy to those that meet each other there?
Instead of just tweeting, reading and retweeting messages it might be a good idea to try and do something more, if only for 5 minutes a day. In those five minutes you might try and close your eyes and think a bit about what a certain tweet does to you. What does it remind you of, how does it feel? Does it stir a memory, or does it create a new insight or idea? If you learn to disengage from a kind of mechanic tweet-retweet behavior for a few minutes, chances are that your mind or your body gives you something that tells you something about the topic or it tells you something about that is important for yourself.
A tweet on a car explosion in a Damascus district killing 15 civilians can be automatically retweeted, but you could also shibr tweet it, which means that you allow a pause to let the contents of the tweet enter your system, as if you allow your body to feel and touch the tweet, as if you are allowing a piece of chocolate to slowly melt on your tongue. If you feel anger or disgust you might mindfully watch that feeling first, and then you could try to let your heart make something better out of it.
While tasting the sweet, you register what it evokes within you, and it would be the ultimate act of mathaba if you would share those experiences with other people. This could be done through twitter, but I would like to recommend a less anonymous way to share these personal aspects of a shibred tweet. How satisfactory is it to simply shout your experiences out on twitter, without really knowing who will listen?
What I would like to propose to all those who resonate to a certain degree with the line of thinking in this article, is to create a mathaba for the (twitter) world, and what spot would be more suitable for such a place, than this website called World Mathaba? Within half a minute you can have yourself registered and you can share your personal experiences while shibr-tweeting, simply by writing comments below certain articles that have a link with the tweet that you wrote. Perhaps you can just add a memory of something that the masses have forgotten, in order to keep these memories alive (2). You can use the search box on the site and type the words that relate to your experiences.
It provides a way to have a more personal interaction with others and it would of course be great if we could create a positive atmosphere that allows for creativity to surface. A Jamahiriya was not meant to be an anonymous place, but a place where you meet people who you can get to know, simply because it is nice to creatively interact with people who want change.
Thanks to @poshbirdG for the shibr-inspiration in the tweet from November 8, 2012 (4).
(4) The original Shibr-shibr-tweet by @poshBirdG:
Tags: shibr shibr jamahiriya