Feature: Libyans desire national reconciliation 10 years after uprising against Gaddafi

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TRIPOLI, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) — Muhammad Tishor, a 48-year-old owner of a sewing workshop in the Libyan capital city of Tripoli, has been visiting the Martyrs Square over the past few days.

As the 10th anniversary of the uprising against late leader Muammar Gaddafi approaches, the square has been decorated with flags and slogans.

“This place has great symbolism and stirs mixed feelings among many Libyans,” Tishor said, sitting on a bench on the Martyrs Square.

“When many Libyans came out 10 years ago, the slogan or motive was nothing but gaining freedom and equality for all … we will continue to strive to achieve all of its goals,” Tishor said.

In February 2011, many Libyans demonstrated against Gaddafi’s government and soon afterwards, the demonstrations turned into an armed conflict.

Since then, Libya has been plagued by escalating violence, political division and economic instability.

“With the situation we have reached today, we seek and hope to achieve national reconciliation among all the people despite their various political, geographical and social affiliations,” Tishor said.

“We want a strong Libyan society that is not separated by politics, and we want people to be able to exercise their right to express without fear, whether they support or oppose the revolution,” Tishor added.

Ibtisam Dardour, whose son participated in the demonstrations, also believed that national reconciliation is the only way to save the country.

“My son Abdullah was one of the young people who went out in Martyrs Square on the night of Feb. 16 (2011). He was with thousands who chanted in the name of the revolution,” Dardour told Xinhua.

Abdullah was killed in the following violence, she said, with tears in her eyes.

Carrying a small sign saying “National Reconciliation — the Way to Peace and Coexistence,” Dardour said she believes that national reconciliation can end the conflict between Libyans.

“For me, at the beginning of the revolution, I held a grudge against anyone who supported Muammar Gaddafi, because I considered them all accomplices in killing my only son. However, I decided to forgive them, because hatred will not bring my son back to life,” Dardour said.

“I hope that the new government will pay more attention to the reconciliation, and that all the displaced people will return to their cities,” she said.

The political process in the war-torn country has recently made concrete steps forward.

In October 2020, the Libyan parties signed a permanent cease-fire agreement that ended the war between the east-based army and the UN-backed government in and around Tripoli.

Earlier this month, the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) selected a new interim executive authority for the country, which was accepted by all parties involved.

The new authority’s main task is to prepare the country for the upcoming general elections on Dec. 24, 2021, as agreed upon by the LPDF.

The United Nations Security Council welcomed the major achievement in Libya as a milestone in its political process.

Through a presidential statement, the council “welcomes the agreement reached by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum on a new unified interim executive authority charged with leading the country to elections.” Enditem

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