15 February 2013

Libya: Nation Marks Revolution Amid Uncertainty

Photo: Magharebia
Libyans celebrate the February 17 revolution.

Benghazi — As Libyans prepare to celebrate the second anniversary of the revolution, calls mount for the government to accept security assistance.

Two years after Libya's February 17 revolution, the country remains insecure and citizens are clamouring for quicker progress.

In the east, some are calling for a "new revolution" to correct the course of the country, saying that their revolution has gone off track.

"The second anniversary will be the start for the uprising of truth," said Jabir al-Mejbri, a young Cyrenaica activist who staged a hunger strike to demand the redistribution of congressional seats.

"There is no security or safety," al-Mejbri added.

Libyan people are worried, Benghazi resident Ibrahim Sultan said. "We need assistance from Western countries as far as security measures are concerned," he told Magharebia.

"Given the performance of the General National Congress (GNC), we're now in need of foreign assistance," agreed Benghazi engineer Suleiman al-Darsi.

Civil society groups should demonstrate to urge the government to pick up the pace of activating security and the army, 23-year-old teacher and Muslim brotherhood member Abu Bakr Belal al-Amin said. He also suggested that authorities end centralisation and speed up the election of the constitution drafting committee.

Any protests called to mark the revolution anniversary, however, must not devolve into "chaos", Benghazi resident Hassan Mohamed warned, especially since "the interior ministry's promised security plans haven't been activated".

"Unfortunately, in the anniversary of our glorious revolution, those who suffered under the former regime are still suffering, and marginalisation is on-going," said Tarek al-Sahati, 26, an employee at Hatif Libya.

"Sadly, the country is still overwhelmed by chaos due to the absence of laws that would hold to account those who make mistakes and deter those who try to undermine the state's security. We want laws and legislations, and then everything is supposed to become organised," al-Sahati said.

Abdelkrim al-Raqie, another Benghazi resident, said the anniversary marked "the triumph of truth over falsehood".

"The country has an urgent need for security, as without it, there can be no stability, building, or development, and the condition of our country and citizens will get worse," al-Raqie said. "This is what we miss now in some of our areas, especially in Benghazi, the cradle of the revolution."

Al-Raqie also suggested that foreign assistance might be needed for training, planning and rehabilitating the security forces.

For his part, journalist Nasser al-Daisi commented that while the second anniversary of the February 17th revolution was cause for celebration, Libya still needed change.

"The political performance of the GNC is weak and is not up to the level of national responsibility. There are serious issues for which the GNC is not firm," he said.

The government, he said, "hasn't been able to build the army, which is the first strategic factor for building the state and protecting legitimacy, and which will also back security agencies as a second line for protecting citizens".

"The army needs to build its ground, air and marine branches, and to train cadres. However, this will be done only done through overseas courses and new weapons," the journalist said.

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