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Libyan Lit: Authors Freed From Four Decades Of Repression Find New Voices

The country’s best writers were long forced to rely on metaphor and symbolism to express their art and avoid the wrath of the regime. Now, with Gaddafi driven from Tripoli, a new world is set to open up.

Hisham Matar's latest work is 'deftly written...careful'
Hisham Matar's latest work is "deftly written...careful"
M. Lynx Qualey

With Muammar Gaddafi's four-decade dictatorship coming to an end, Libyan authors have begun sharing both joy and relief in public – and online. Novelist Hisham Matar took to his new Twitter account: "We got rid of Gaddafi. I never thought I would be able to write that sentence." On the blog "Imtidad", short-story writer and poet Ghazy Gheblawy wrote about how Libyans have been "liberated from their fear." It was a fear, says Gheblawy, that penetrated deep into the language.

"Libyans like me who opposed his regime (whether subtly or overtly) had to develop a dual personality," Gheblawy wrote. "Learning how to talk and write publicly in code became a vital skill to avoid persecution, not only of yourself but your family and friends."

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Geopolitics

AMLO Power Grab: Mexico's Electoral Reform Would Make Machiavelli Proud

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, says his plans to reform the electoral system are a way to save taxpayer money. A closer look tells a different story.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico votes

Luis Rubio

OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — For supporters of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the goal is clear: to keep power beyond the 2024 general election, at any price. Finally, the engineers of the much-touted Fourth Transformation, ALMO's 2018 campaign promise to do away with the privileged abuses that have plagued Mexican politics for decades, are showing their colors.

Current electoral laws date back to the 1990s, when unending electoral disputes were a constant of every voting round and impeded effective governance in numerous states and districts. The National Electoral Institute (INE) and its predecessor, the IFE, were created to solve once and for all those endemic disputes.

Their promoters hoped Mexico could expect a more honest future, with the electoral question resolved. The 2006 presidential elections, which included AMLO as a recalcitrant loser, showed this was hoping for too much. That election is also, remotely, at the source of the president's new electoral initiative.

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