6 years on: the Libyan psyche after Gaddafi

Introduction

Six years ago, Libya was allegedly “liberated” from Gaddafi’s 42-year rule. This name or persona had managed to sneak through Libyans and destroy everything and everyone that came in front of him like a hurricane, even posthumously.

Since 1969, the darkest era in the Libyan history began, and is still not over. One coup evolved into a new coup, and a new dark era on 2011.

Throughout 2011, many Libyans have changed on so many levels and discovered a love for Libya that they never thought actually existed within them. Maybe we should thank Gaddafi for this. The fact is that I (Malak) was experiencing it all. The fear of never going back to my home, friends, and family, for we feared the outcome of war. I grew up tenfold in those eight months of regime change.

Although Gaddafi is dead, his ghost is still haunting both Libyans who oppose him and Libyans who support him. Yesterday, October 23rd, marked the 6-year anniversary of that historical day. However, that day took a different turn of events. Freedom is used for many wrong reasons. Corruption under the Gaddafi regime lingers deep within the Libyan psyche.

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Institutional corruption

Unfortunately, Libyans are only liberated by name. The true liberation – just like the true jihad – remains; that of liberating the mindset of tribulation and corruption. Of course, Gaddafi more-than-tolerated under-educated parts of Libyan society – such as segments of women and Amazigh communities – for some of these people did not pose a credible intellectual threat to Gaddafi for 42 years, especially with an absence of female representation in his majlis.

Whilst Libya is relatively more educated than many of its northern African neighbours, inadequate education under Gaddafi means that Libya is struggling to recover in building adequate infrastructure to seriously excel and prosper in a post-Arab Spring world.

Remember, greed and conspiracy are other bi-products of institutional corruption, and these drain any nation of its resources.

Let us not blame only Gaddafi. The age of dictatorship has ended and a new Libya must rise, not fall, with a new, positive attitude of partial self-responsibility. Libyans must root-out ignorance and plant in new seeds of knowledge and education.

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Next steps for Libya

  1. Critics of regime change should see an opportunity to turn their energy towards evolving a better country for the benefit of everybody
  2. Government should be incentivised to encourage young enterprise to start building future infrastructure
  3. Government should be be incentivised to build comprehensive literacy rates to shift values away from corruption
  4. Checks-and-balances should be instilled within the government; critical voices of the regime change should be safely represented and not be afraid to voice their opinions

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By Malak Altaeb and Osama Filali Naji

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