The Libyan consensus, is it easy?

The Libyan consensus, is it easy?


By: Idris Tayeb Lamin*

This is an article published on Alwasat website, last year. LIBYAPROSPECT is re-publishing it in English as its writer has

Idris Tayeb Lamin
Idris Tayeb Lamin

re-shared it again nowadays on his official Facebook page with the following introduction.

“How much I wish if I can dissolve this article in water and give it to the eastern Libya representatives in the House of Representatives, HoR, who speak about consensus with non-consensual spirit at all.

The only inquiry here, is to change the mentioned examples in the article with the trending examples nowadays, as they don’t talk about the required consensus with their (rivals), but talk about the (impossible) consensus with their (colleagues) who they disagree with.

Banning voting inside the HoR won’t create consensus even in hundred years, it just creates cultivating reality which is (belligerent) before minority against majority.

While the house’s bylaws state that in the case of not agreeing on (one opinion) votes are taken. Their logic says: voting is belligerent. The solution to them is the rule of minority’s opinion over majority’s. this is the Libyan version of democracy”.

Then LIBYAPROSPECT translated the original article:

Everyone, without exceptions, talk about a magical word named consensus, that became senseless, due to repeating it without deep understanding of its meaning. It became like mourning martyrs and praying for the wounded.

There is no (political) understanding around using this (political) term; it just became a weapon people use in the face of each other when a dispute comes up.

Consensus, in language, is something that is jointly done like understanding, interaction, reconciliation and even fighting. It can’t happen on reality without the determination of more than one person; it is collective in language and political in content, and one of its requirements is the mutual desire to reach solution that all parties agree on, which mayn’t happen in competitive atmosphere without talks to prepare for it.

But what happens is totally different. Unfortunately, the word is used in media, politics and activists’ speeches, as if all we lack is (agreeing) to accept consensus. Given that the term is, in the literature of politics, closer to the transition stages for requiring political outputs not based on belligerent. The term was successful in the first transitional stage, while founding the National Transitional Council since success factors were available achieved.  The concept is the unity of enemy being confronted but it may have been buried in the tomb of Gaddafi, that we don’t even know its position, and didn’t confess we still need it to complete the journey.

Entering the election process to found a supreme authority; the General National Congress, GNC, gave us a false sense of not needing this political prescription by which I mean election that we opposed before it happens and suggested to trade it for the local council elections, while keeping the (consensual) National Transitional Council, as a supreme council. This false sentiment has opened our oppressed for decades’ appetite for political competition before its time. The result is what is seen and doesn’t need description.

The exciting thing is that we are in the middle of the circle of political competition, with insistence on the repetitive and tacky use of consensus term.

In the mentality of competition created by the election process, the term became (my consensus) not (our consensus), so it lost its meaning linguistically.

A simple example is our brothers, the Tamazight, Tabu and Tuareg lifting the weapon of consensus in our faces and the trial to find a (democratic) form to reach an agreement since we reached the democracy game, which was the line used by the GNC in the 60 committee that suggested resolving the dispute in case no consensus reached by 2 thirds majority plus one vote with the approval of the cultural sector involved in the decision.

The method was turned down, and the magical word was brought up; consensus.

Despite all campaigns several cultural sectors made in media to convey their unclear point to the extent of using cursing language to defend consensus, no objections appeared to finding a way that preserves everyone’s right to complete the constitution in case of dispute.

Persistence was on (my consensus) not (our consensus). It is not limited to the Libyan cultural sectors, but also Jadhranians, Federalists and tribals and who go after their personal ambitions and gains and the armed who (set us free).

All those speak about the need to consensus that became rarer than the ogre, phonex, and the loyal friend.

Consensus can’t be attained in competition atmosphere. Democracy equation can’t depend on minority and majority if we still believe we need consensus that can’t be reached without joint compromises from all, and put in the box of nation.

If we, honestly, want to reach consensus without lies and greed for regional and race gains, we should look for Gaddafi’s tomb and extract it out of his remains and know that we were wrong when we buried it with him.

Then, we may be able to found a new transitional council.

*A Libyan Diplomat and Writer