By Mohamed Alagteaa.
13 February 2021:
It has been ten years since the fate of Libya and its people was altered forever.
It is hard to imagine a decade has passed, because as Libyans, we are still in a fighting mode, both figuratively and literally.
So many lives lost in senseless wars on the hands of men incapable of seeing beyond power, and their own ego. So many opportunities for peace and security squashed in their quest for more ill-gotten wealth.
The 17th of February is a day pinned in our nation’s history as a scar of a heroine to some, and as a mark of shame to others, yet both fail to realise, it is an open wound.
This anniversary is a reminder of the hopes and aspirations of an open democratic society where all live under a governing system set to provide to its people and believe in its potential and worth. This anniversary is also a reality check of long queues in front of banks, longer queues in front of petrol stations, water shortage, 14-hour power cuts in the gruelling summers of the Sahara Desert, sky high inflation, dangerous triggering rhetoric, militias, kidnapping and casual indiscriminate shelling.
Libyans have become so numb to all of this. We no longer register it, because it is the norm, it is now part of our psyche. Life goes on.
Even in the midst of a global pandemic where the world has changed indefinitely, the status quo remains supreme.
Lately, efforts to salvage what is left were crowned with the formation of a new government garnering blessings from left to right. Yet, the people’s hope in a resolution coming from a recycled administration of the same culprits is simply pragmatic. After all, does it really matter who is appointed when a mass grave is found every day?!
According to these efforts, the elections are to take place in December of this year, so in a completely unrealistic optimistic attempt to believe they will, here are some recommendations on whom “not” to vote for:
1- candidates starting any public appearance with “may Allah have mercy on the blood of the martyrs”.
2- candidates who say we want a “unified police and army” without stating clearly how is that possible with countless militia groups.
3- candidates who just flew in from who no knows where just because they are “successful”.
4- candidates who say women are our “mothers and daughters” or women are “half of society”, and finally,
5- candidates who cannot afford little hunger and are easily fatigued.
This really makes no difference. We can debate the causes and effects, the beliefs, and ideologies, but the truth is that our salvation is beyond any new government or elections. The sickness of tribalism, discrimination, bigotry, intolerance, and patriarchy is the wound we must tend to as a nation seeking redemption.
Maya Angelou once said, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
The future is bleak, but I take solace in her words, because we should be unrealistic optimists. We must. I choose to believe we are in the midst of those changes and one day, these conditions will no longer be our reality.
Mohamed Alagtea is a writer and a former journalist who covered politics, migration and environment for multiple Libyan outlets before pursuing higher education abroad.
This article was contributed by the writer as part of a series of pieces by a number of female and male youth, in and outside Libya, invited by Libya Herald to reflect on the 17th February 2011