Libya is a poor state. The story began with the discovery of oil, when all Libyans decided to throw down the shovels, picks and water buckets in their hands and shuffle over to sit down behind desks, like bureaucrats who do nothing but sip coffee and repeat the same old stuff about the terrifying conspiracies being hatched against us by everyone, including ourselves.

Libya is a poor state. The story began with the discovery of oil, when all Libyans decided to throw down the shovels, picks and water buckets in their hands and shuffle over to sit down behind desks, like bureaucrats who do nothing but sip coffee and repeat the same old stuff about the terrifying conspiracies being hatched against us by everyone, including ourselves.

Since 1959, Libyans haven’t done a thing even while the local economy has collapsed, agricultural production has fallen short of demand and imports have gone through the roof. These facts are lost on most Libyans whose only concern has been paying the grocer’s bill.

For Libya is not only a poor state, but a sick one. Sick because the cure of natural resources, the indifference to the spreading incidence of Dutch Disease [Editor’s note: this is the name given to the state of job-related complacency and idleness that afflicted the Dutch during the first half of the twentieth century following the discovery of oil in the North Sea], lavish spending and Gaddafi’s ever deepening pockets, his billions which so enraged the international powers and petroleum companies and which were stolen twice over: once from the treasury of his corrupt state and once again from the pockets of the Libyan thieves themselves, the corrupt officials of the same corrupt state.

For all these reasons we declared war on one another in order to drive one half of ourselves over the border, while the other half stayed behind to fight, caught up in Libya’s crisis: the fact we have to live cheek-by-jowl in one tenth of our country’s landmass.

We are going to have to declare another war.

As for the first war, well, reckless as always, we called it a revolution. It ended with Libya declaring some cities victorious and other cities semi-victorious, while yet other cities were just not lucky enough to find a place amidst the chaos of redrawing Libya’s political map. Tribal alliances that had remained unchanged for more than a century were rebuilt.

This is something that needs to be discussed, given that some Libyans suddenly decided that they would not recognize the UN road map. They chose to try and repeat Gaddafi’s experiment under the banner of the Caliph of the Muslims, killing people right and left with the support of the Mufti, who informed everybody that it was no less than God’s judgement over them. This, after he issued a decree bringing the Ministry of Assistance to the Families of the Martyrs into being, something that could not be real unless God’s foot-soldiers, the angels, have descended from the heavens to incarnate as bottom-feeding desk jockeys.

The end of the first war led to a most upsetting, even enraging consequence—and I am not talking about the Libyan people’s customary bias in favour of the victors.  No, the pitiful truth is that the new state declared a new division among Libyans based on the old one, a division that applies in death as in life.

In a precedent for all human history, the entry-papers for Paradise, the documents for forgiveness and intervention with the Almighty, were to be issued by the employees of the Ministry of Assistance to the Families of the Martyrs. In Libya, for the first time in human history, a ministry was responsible for the offspring of the inhabitants of Heaven. The offspring of the inhabitants of Hell, on the other hand, had no one to take their side. These poor souls had no state full of demons working a full quarter-day as did the angels of this impossible ministry, a ministry susceptible to administrative corruption (if it had not already fallen prey), with some of the living finding themselves declared martyrs and drawing a monthly stipend—though not in Paradise, of course.

This is exactly what happened in the Libyan army, which issued documents stating that it had sent a dead man on a study trip abroad and sent another group of the dead into retirement, their pensions continuing without the next-of-kin being notified. We are corrupt to the marrow but we are very good Muslims and that, it seems, is what will lead us to the next war.

It shall be a religious war par excellence and it will not be ended by a courageous decision on the part of a Libyan people grown tired of fatwas fired back and forth and God’s name taken in vain. After the end of the vicious Libyan war three years ago—the war that declared itself a revolution—everyone claimed that he was defending his principles, principles that no one could identify because they have never been stated, save the sole aim of removing Muammar Gaddafi.

The decision the people must make before half of them fall victim to this coming war is to close the mosque doors to the politicians and bar the mouths of the men of religion from discussing politics. In short: the separation of religion (the sacred) from politics (the profane). That is a first step.

The separation of state capital from government is a second step. Let state employees find other places to work instead of clinging on to the petticoats of state and let the role of government be confined to overseeing the disbursement of this wealth to fund development and provide priority services to citizens, and nothing else.

As for those who have a fantasy or ideology which makes them strive to rule the world, then they must leave the state budget alone and look for another pocket to turn out. The citizen who wants to boost his income must look for a piece of land to cultivate or build on, instead of hunting for an intermediary who can get him access to a third or fourth salary for a job he doesn’t do.

The problem, as Al Sadiq Al Nayhum says, “concerns the individual who is incapable of understanding his responsibility towards the democracy that benefits him, and that there is nothing worse that contractors and builders sitting around in cafes demanding that the state turn Libya green and fill it with factories.”

Libya is a state in which all the inhabitants are Muslims. Some of them, it seems, have discovered that they are more Muslim than others. Yes, my friends, this is Libya: a country with three prime ministers and no one knows where the president is. Libya is a country whose citizens commit every possible—and impossible to believe—crime, even as they continue to believe in the myth of a blessed revolution.

This good-hearted people, every one of whose members is fully prepared to slaughter all the others due to a squabble over superficial issues like the right to park a car, or questions of the profoundest gravity, such as whether or not Gaddafi is really dead. The lie of the rich state, which in truth can only offer the world the largest rubbish tip you can imagine, a tip whose inhabitants do not respect the most basic principles of communal property. Libya remains a country without a people.

We are Muslims, after all, but the Mufti is the one who decides which of us are Muslims and which of us are very good Muslims. This is a dilemma on whose horns the Mufti himself hangs after deciding to send very good Muslims to the lands of less Muslim Muslims. This was the first shot of the religious war between Muslims, who, as they have done since the Battle of the Camel in 656, have divided themselves into two camps where one lot slaughtered the other. Today, too, one lot wants to sever the necks of the other lot, a Quran in his hand and in his head the single thought: God wants him to kill.