LIBYAPROSPECT – Amsterdam
LIBYAPROSPECT interviewed Yousef Zarzah, the head of
the Misrata-Tawergha reconciliation case
Zarzah told LIBYAPROSPECT that “we met at a house in Soug Al-Juma, a group represented Misrata and another represented Tawergha; it was the first time both teams met directly since Gaddafi’s fall. There were previous initiatives, but both teams had not met face to face until now. In our meeting, we conversed quietly and had lunch together.”
Mohamed Rabie interviewed him.
LIBYAPROSPECT: What happened in the Soug Al-Juma meeting?
- We were very honest with each other, brought forth all the issues transparently and compromised many points; there had to be compromised. I was affected the most, they killed my only brother right in front of me, people from Tawergha killed him. I told them in the meeting “I forgive you and withdraw my right regarding my brother’s blood in return for peace in Libya.”
LIBYAPROSPECT: Then what happened?
- We agreed to meet again. I returned to those affected by the war in Misrata and reported everything we agreed on. They objected a few points at first, which I communicated in another meeting with Tawergha’s representatives in Tunisia in the presence of Libyan figures. The agreement was adjusted under both parties’ approval.
Al-Zarzah added: I operated as a mail carrier between both sides, and we reached a deal that everyone is satisfied with, as well as ended a five-year feud between the neighbors, Misrata and Tawergha.
LIBYAPROSPECT: You signed the agreement on the 31st of August 2016 in the Tunisian capital city, what did the agreement include?
- Yes, we finalized the agreement and signed it, we focused on the important issues, including compensation and justice, in addition to rebuilding Tawergha and Misrata’s suburbs, starting with Tummena near Tawergha. We allocated 6000 Libya Dinars for every Family from Tawergha to restore their homes. The agreement also included granting temporary mobile housing to those, whose houses suffered extensive damage, while they wait for the rebuilding process. On the other hand, it was agreed that the villages and suburbs surrounding Misrata to be rebuilt and that those affected by the damage be compensated fairly under the Libyan judiciary system.
LIBYAPROSPECT: How did you conclude that 6000 LYD was the right amount of compensation?
- We agreed on that number upon a field visit to the city of Tawergha organized by reasonable people from both sides, and after estimating the damages, they returned with this figure, and we agreed on it, everyone accepted the results of the visit.
LIBYAPROSPECT: What was Misrata’s Local Council’s reaction to the reconciliation?
- We were in touch with the council and discussed the details of the agreement; I understood that they blessed it, and I will meet with them very soon to ratify the agreement and implement it.
LIBYAPROSPECT: According to our coverage of the reconciliation between the neighbors, Misrata and Tawergha, we understood that the requested for Tawergha to be an independent municipality and not just a branch of Misrata’s; what did you do regarding this point?
- We discussed this issue constantly, but it was of little importance when compared to rebuilding and reconstructing Tawergha, we agreed to bypass it and move on to more important topics.
LIBYAPROSPECT: Returning to the beginning of the initiative, where you were tasked on the 2nd of July 2015 with this case, you had some people opposing your idea, what are the results now, especially after finalizing the agreement between both sides?
- The initiative encouraged many to consider reconciling to quash the hatred between everyone. I communicated with many of those affected in Misrata, maybe even all of them, they welcomed my intentions and understood what it meant to bring peace to Libya. They comprised a few points after many debates, all for Libya’s interests. In conclusion, everyone accepted the terms of the agreement and the reconciliation.
LIBYAPROSPECT: Were you opposed by anyone?
- Many of those who oppose the agreement were not affected by the war against Gaddafi. You can find them on social networking pages doubting the credibility of the agreement, scattering rumors and misinforming the masses. The gradual return of the people of Tawergha to their homes will put an end to all of this, a move that will coincide with the implementation of all terms of the agreement. We are scheduled to meet soon with both Misrata and Tawergha to complete all remaining terms.
LIBYAPROPSECT: Do you want to say any final words?
- I hope Libyans’ intentions grow clearer, and aim to diffuse the explosion on the verge of blowing up in our faces.