By: Abdul-Rahman Al-Shater*
The Movement of “Citizenship is my right and isn’t tolerated” held
a seminar in Tripoli entitled “the constitution’s crisis, problems, and solutions.” It was attended by many people and discussed problems flawed the latest constitution draft and presented several sensible suggestions to solve the problems and reach a draft that helps to build the modern United Libyan State by equality in rights and duties.
The transcendence that many talk about is a deformation of the concept of the democratic process. They say that majority practice transcendence and want the minority to impose its opinion which is a complete delusion. The view of the group harms the country while the individuals don’t. Subsequently, the minority must subject to majority’s opinion, not the other way around; this is the actual practice of democracy, and other else is the dictatorship of the minority. In the past, it used to be centered in one person today it is centered in a small group; we cloned the individual dictatorship to tens of it.
“Citizenship is my right and isn’t tolerated” is a real fact that is not supported by some. Other don’t want to understand it, so it isn’t enough to include this right in the constitution, but it should be enshrined in the hearts of citizens as an authentic culture like beliefs and ideals.
We can’t apply this right in our society where there are many loyalties around tribes, cities and regions and as long as we are distant from the citizenship concept that is under belonging to the state, not anything else.
We all understand that the citizenship in its simplest forms belongs of a human to a land; a man living in a country, carrying its nationality, taking part in governing, abide by its laws and equally have the same rights and duties of other citizens. Since we are Libyans and have the Libyan nationality, we are equal in rights and duties. Subsequently, the concept of citizenship is applied on us all without discrimination.
Many remember the 1950s and 1960s of the past century; we didn’t deal with each other by tribal or regional identity but basis of Libyan identity. I recall the old city in Tripoli, where I was born and raised, was inhibited with a mixture of Libyans from cities in the east, center and west. Though, we treated with each other as Tripolitanians as all people were parts of a larger family.
After the coup of 1/9/1969, the regime enriched the tribalism, and we started to re-know our friends, neighbors, and classmates with their original roots. Step by step, we began to treat them based on this affiliation, not because of discrimination or exception but as retraction of reality being dragged to by the former regime.
After the victory of February 17th revolution, new behaviors started to show up that in the beginning was because of embracing the role of the city or tribe in the revolution and sacrifices it made. But small states started to form in cities and wars and identity-based kidnappings started. Also, reconciliation agreements appeared between cities as if they are independent states. We began to hear about the enemy neighbors or the enemy brothers or the enemy citizens. The purpose of this all is to cut the lines of oil based funds for the state, alarming things that still worry us and disassemble our country.
Today we start over to define the concept of citizenship, which isn’t going to be an easy process as the citizenship concept has been smudged by red color that triggers revenge and hatred. So, I say it doesn’t about include the citizenship in the constitution, but it is a process that will never happen without raising and developing the concept of citizenship in individuals. Citizenship is the cornerstone of democracy, and we must understand it well before speaking of democracy.
The message I want to convey that we must work hard through long years to uproot the culture of tribalism so that our belonging is to the mother nation Libya. This will only through a new culture that is modern and belong in the 21st century through long years and educational curriculums from kinder garden to university, media, sermons, theater, seminars, and lectures. This is the responsibility of political elites through pressure on country leaders. We badly need to rebuild the Libyan man again away from the culture of backwardness and fanaticism that doesn’t see the nation in its big and inclusive picture but only in the boundaries of the tribal or region’s interest. While the international community works to form powerful alliances, some of us work to dismantle the Libyan state.
What happens these days of race and conflict over positions and quotas to distribute it is a madness that will only result in creating a mad reality that doesn’t help in achieving stability and easing the suffer of people and building the modern democratic state of the 21st century. This chaos and the bad situation isn’t the purpose and goal of the revolution; it is moving away from the citizenship and enrichment of tribalism and regionalism by loyalty ad ability to achieve a private interest rather than public one that builds the Libyan state, not efficiency.
Yes, “citizenship is my right and isn’t tolerated” because the nation is ours all. We are partners in it. Shall there be understanding that the strong nation is only built by sacrifices? And the first after martyrdom for freedom is considering the high interests of the country and sanctifying it, and that who wins and sides with the sole nation isn’t defeated but sacrificed for the sake of the nation.
*A Libyan Politician and Writer
Translated By LIBYAPROSPECT: Source