One year on: “The real problem in Libya today is that weapons are everywhere”

 
One year ago, Libyans started the revolution that would end up toppling Muammar Gaddafi. Our Observers in Libya tell us that today, despite having gotten rid of a dictator, torture and other atrocities are still far too common in their country.
 
Libyans widely consider October 20, 2011, the day Gaddafi was captured and killed, to be the date of the country’s “liberation.” However, the protest movement that led to his demise started on February 17, 2011 and Libyans are marking this anniversary throughout the country. On this occasion, Amnesty International has published a report detailing its concerns about the country’s progress – or lack thereof. The organisation accuses "out of control" armed militias of committing human rights violations and notes cases of alleged torture in prisons, as well as reports of arbitrary arrests and executions of people presumed to have been Gaddafi supporters.
 
This alarming report adds to the growing woes of the National Transitional Council (NTC), the country’s provisional leadership. The NTC’s deputy head resigned on January 22 after coming under fire over his links to the former regime.
 
 
Libyans celebrate the first anniversary of their revolution on February 16 in Tripoli. 

"Our country remains unstable"

Anas El Gomati is Libyan but was born in London. He spent some time living in Tripoli in 2009 before moving back there for good in June 2011. He works as a Research Director.
 
Today's joyful celebration isn't representative of the actual climate. We must look at it in context of a year of mourning and suffering. Today we're finally breathing again. However our country remains unstable: weapons circulate freely and armed militias commit crimes with impunity. This threatens to spoil the elections [both legislative and presidential] that are set to take place in April and June. The NTC must play a stronger, bolder role if it wishes to guarantee the population’s safety.
 
On top of the atrocities listed in Amnesty International’s report, I’m also very worried about the impact of Doctors Without Borders leaving the country [Doctors Without Borders said it was halting its work in Libya because its personnel were asked “to treat prisoners between torture sessions.”] The presence of NGOs like Doctors Without Borders is vital to our freedom and to democracy. They are the only ones who can testify to human rights violations. It’s no coincidence that they were not allowed to work here during Gaddafi’s reign!
 
However revolutionaries and citizens must take responsibility, too. We can't expect the NTC to govern alone - only with more participation will this road be easier to go down, together and united."
 
 

"No country can expect miracles in such a short time span"

Omar Regi is a businessman living in Tripoli.
 
I think we’ve gained many freedoms in the past year, especially in the media. Since Libya’s liberation, seven new television stations have been launched, and six more are waiting to be green-lighted. Five new newspapers have been founded, too. They’re doing good work and covering all aspects of the news, including criticism of the NTC.
 
Some people complain that some members of the NTC were leading figures in Gaddafi’s regime [Editor’s Note: The most prominent example is the head of NTC, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, who served as justice minister under Gaddafi]. However, apart from some expatriates who returned to Libya to help lead the new government, who else has the experience and qualifications to manage the country? Because of Gaddafi’s iron rule, Libyans simply don’t have a tradition of politics. These former officials are, for now, the most qualified leaders. You also have to make the distinction between those who sided with Gaddafi until the end and those that abandoned him early on. No one currently in the NTC sided with Gaddafi until the end.
 
The real problem in Libya today is that weapons are everywhere. The government has asked all former rebels to join the national army or give up their weapons, but many have disobeyed.
 
Of course we haven’t yet attained all the goals of the revolution. But that’s normal. It only began one year ago. No country can expect miracles in such a short time span. It bears reminding that we’re just getting out of four decades of dictatorship, of underdevelopment and of ignorance. So we must give the NTC some time. Me, I’m giving them three years.”
 

Comments

Libya will never be the same again

I challenge these NATO clowns with this statement (from the Qur'an)

"Whoever turns to them now belongs to them"
You people turned towards the same people that colonized you, you now belong to them, you really think your country will now ever be safe and sound???

Seriously?! Hasn't the Iraqi scenario taught you fools anything???

Thank God Libyans aren't muslims (anymore)

libya

Quite hilarious ,they got thier weapons from Gadafi.When he was one of their chums.

Libya's Problem

The real problem in Libya today in not that weapons are everywhere.It is rather that there are so many different groups of people in the country ready to fight and kill each other totally forgetting why they got rid of Gaddafi. If there are no weapons,they will kill each other with their bare hands.As to the other view that no country can expect a miracle in such a short time,nobody is really expecting a perfect democracy in Libya because there is no perfect democracy anywhere in the world.But the picture Libya presents today is not conducive even to a semblace of democracy in a thousand years.

Close