Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Libya and the Need for Reconciliation and Repair

Libya and the Need for Reconciliation and Repair

Thursday, 25 June, 2020 - 10:30
Jebril Elabidi
Libyan writer and researcher

After years of embers, chaos and war, Libya is in dire need for reconciliation and for repairing what sedition, fighting and warring have caused — a war that went on for different reasons and in pursuit of different aims but left the same victims, Libyans in the east, west and south, some who were killed by Libyans while others by cross-border arms, some who were mercenaries for money while others mercenaries for ideology. The victim, however, was always Libya.

To address the Libyan situation, there must be a move toward an inclusive national reconciliation, and apart from demanding “Kleib alive.” This situation of intransigence and of putting one's self before the nation's interest fails in providing a solution for any problem or difference in perspective. Instead, it would be a suicide. Putting the nation’s interest first is the right way toward building a nation that is free of exclusion and marginalization.

Libya today is in need for the building of institutions and the preparation of an enlightenment project as a condition for transitioning from the revolution to the state. This would be of more benefit to the new Libya than prose speeches that mostly failed to address the Libyan situation and instead incited regional and tribal tensions. Their projects for building the state remained, for the most part, shy and imported, going far from looking for reasons and instead of neglecting the inherent problems of an authoritarian regime without trying to resolve or reflect on them, serving as an obstacle that would force us to stand at a crossroads while going through a stage of difficult birth where visions take hold. Libyans today are in dire need for writing a social contract — the constitution, so that the country can undergo a transition from revolution to a democratic state that could secure the rights of all Libyan citizens.

Abridging Libya and subjecting its people’s will to narrow party frameworks, which some have allegiances to foreign projects that have failed in their own countries, makes an attempt to replicate them in Libya an unacceptable matter. Free will is the human way and people’s behaviors emanate from their absolute independent will that is free of foreign intervention. This is the right path toward building a nation that provides opportunities for everyone, starting from a political framework, the building of institutions, and the preparation of a developmental project as conditions for the passage from revolution to the state.

Nationhood is neither a word, a poetic expression nor simply an additive for a party or institution.

The nation moves toward building a society where the individual is a free citizen with all his rights guaranteed by the constitution without the need to join a party or side to gain them.

Repairing the damage and compensating past oppression are both important steps toward reconciliation and forgetting past pains. Any action that causes harm to another warrants compensation. This compensation needn’t be financial, it can be to mentally and socially rehabilitate victims of detention and provide them with the opportunity to be employed and have a better life.

While searching for a system of governance that does not replicate the marginalization and negligence of the past regime through a centralized totalitarian regime and to prevent a monopoly over power, there have been some demands for a federal government.

Federalism may be the solution in light of the unprecedented levels of tension in Libya after the spread of a discourse of hatred and suspicion among different parties. Federalism is a form of government that is possible in Libya to avoid divisions, where the authorities are distributed by the constitution between a central government and federations, where the latter is tasked with the provision of the rule of the central government over the divided areas.

The solution for the Libyan crisis must be reached through dialogue and not by using foreigners to overpower each other, as the latter would complicate the crisis and would not provide a solution, instead, it would hamper the opportunity for a peaceful solution.

National reconciliation begins where war ends and the fighting stops. It begins when the guns and canons are silenced and the mercenaries have left the entire country. It begins where Libyans sit on the same table as equals, as reconciliation cannot be reached when the parties are unequal.

Other opinion articles

Editor Picks