LIBYAPROSPECT – Amsterdam
In the middle of the raging conflict and the political and military movement in Libya, a council was formed by the elderly and the wise, taking the path of reconciliation and trying hard to alleviate the tension between all parties in Libya.
The Wise Council, in a way or another, succeeded in resolving some of the security problems that have been stuck since Gaddafi’s regime been taken over. Then the Elders Council’s tours all around Libya helped in solving whatever was possible and went through reconciliation trips between the east, west, and south of Libya.
LIBYAPROSPECT (LP) spoke with the vice chancellor of the Council, Salem Madi, who exclusively told us the following.
Interviewed by Mohamed Rabie – exclusive for LIBYAPROSPECT (LP).
LP: How was this council established?
- The Elders Council was found after establishing the Wise Council that came through representation, which means that each local council chose 2 or 3 members to be members of the Wise Council and be part of it. Then the problems that happened in Sabha, Al-Kofra, Zuwara, Al-Jmail, Mezda, Al-Shaqiqa, Ghdamis, Darj, Tiji, Al-Hwamed, Al-Ajailat, Al-Zawya, Wersheffana, Ghiryan, Al-Asabaah, Al-Gwaleesh, Kekla, Bin Waleed, and other places, prevented the Wise Council from doing its job. At that point, we started thinking of finding a body that is made up of the elite, and that is what happened. The body was called (Elders Council for Reconciliation). The members were chosen on the basis of ability and competence to be in touch with what is happening on the ground, and since the day it was found the body was working hard to fence and repair the situation.
LP: In your point of view, what are the roots of this problem? What are the reasons for it, which happened in several sites in Libya?
- The problems were indeed, driven by several factors, they are considered more like results than actual reasons. For example, Gaddafi’s saying ((The land is the property of no one)) led to fighting and war, as well as prioritizing some tribes by the ex-regime intending control. Also, activating ideologies at the time helped to increase the social tension.
LP: What are the most prominent problems that you were able to resolve?
- A settlement has been reached regarding the irritating problem between Al-Tabu and Awlad Suleiman in Sabha in the southern part of Libya; an agreement was made, and reconciliation was achieved. Also, a truce was conducted between Al-Tabu and Al-Zawiya tribe in Al-Kofra, which was a complicated situation that took so much effort and numerous sessions that ended up in reconciliation between the parties.
LP: Do you mean that your work was limited to solving the situation in the south?
- The council is working on problems and tensions all around Libya. Without these men, the situation wouldn’t have been like this, but the political and ideological factors are the causes of this continuing dispute and fighting. We will not stop looking into the details of every conciliation attempt and bringing down the tension that we must admit that it is still there even though all the effort.
LP: A Libyan-Libyan conference was held in Nalout Lately and was attended by all parties. So what comes next?
- It is a meeting that happened for the first time. It gathered all sides from throughout the country; our invitation was accepted by all political, military, and social parties as you observed, several meetings and sessions took place. We sat together after Jum’a prayer, which they all prayed together behind one Imam. And we all had dinner together and spent the nights together to agree on a statement by all parties. This is considered a good step, we sat with social leaders for the first time, and we hope Nalout’s meeting will be the first step to building a reconciliation that will extend to all Libya.
LP: Do you have any suggestions or ideas to help with the Libyan political reconciliation and its fallouts?
- The social forces are based on the unity of the social fabric guarantees the imposition of the safety and security at this stage and in these conditions. The social forces are continually working on setting and imposing safety and security of all citizens in a social way. But the political problems are not priorities of these forces. I won’t hide from you that the social forces, including the Elder Council, might in the next period interfere between the political parties by what came to the Libyan Political Agreement (PA).
LP: Is it possible that this council of yours will transform into a ministry that oversees the matter of Libyan reconciliation? Especially that the road to it seems to be a bit long.
- I don’t think that the council will be transformed from a civic organization to a ministry. However, the government should think of finding a body for reconciliation in Libya.
LP: What about the displaced and fugitives that are fleeing due to fear in Libya? How are you handling them? And how is it possible to bring them back home?
- We are adopting the comeback of the displaced and the fugitives and are working hard on finding appropriate solutions for them; this is one of the council’s tasks. In this occasion, I ask all Libyans that are not in Libya and haven’t committed a felony or a crime to come back home, and maybe soon a mechanism will be put for that.
LP: Do you have any last words to say in this interview?
- I tell the Libyans that we are on the margin of Nalout’s meeting, announced the establishment of a national movement under the title (Na’am Libya ), which means (Yes Libya). This will be working on highlighting a national project that works on demonstrating the national personality that leads to defining the unifying Libyan identity, rejecting all ideas crossing the ideological borders, which refuses the national state, whether it was nationalist or religious. We should be Libyans working for Libya and maintain its entity and cherish its sovereignty.