Ever since the start of, what the media has described; “The Arab Spring”, I have seen and read tons of explanations and analysis about the root causes of the revolts in many parts of the Arab world. The summation of much of this analysis can be captured, in my mind, in one simple and universal idea: Human Rights.
The human right to be a full, equal, and free citizen; fully included in the economic, social, and political life of society, with no discrimination on the bases of race, color, gender, economic and social class, political opinion, nor regional, ethnic, or tribal affiliations.
To me, the issue of human rights, is not only the cause behind the political revolts of 2011 and beyond, it is also the goal and objective of these historical events. Even more than that, the question of human rights in the Arab world, and in Libya, implies and points to the kind of vision that people have, even if not clearly articulated, for their future, and it also frames the strategy, plans, and methods that should be followed to achieve these goals across the board, from politics to economics, social dynamics to processes of law and justice, to education, health, and entitlements to equal rights and opportunities to receive public services.
In short, the Libyan citizen has been driven and is asking for nothing less than to be treated as a full human being, with God given rights to have his/her voice heard in the affairs of society, to be given equal opportunity in the economic life of his/her country with fair and equal rights, to be treated as equal before the law and in society, to enjoy his/her freedom of speech, conscience, and beliefs without the interference of anyone – government included.
These rights are neither east or west, these right have been captured and included in every human society and religious tradition since the dawn of time. They are even expressed in our very physical bodies as human beings; with minds to think with freely, tongues to speak with freely, ears to hear with freely, and feet to walk with freely.
Now is the time for these values should be translated in Libya in clear, explicit, and permanent codes in any new public policy institutions, policy reforms, legal processes, and constitutional declarations. This is not an issue that can be left to majority or government decisions; these are God given and inalienable rights that must be above and beyond the manipulation of political dynamics of any given time. As we think of such values, we need to remember that any democratic and legitimate system worth its name, is not simply measured by how much it reflects the will of the majority, but how it can and actually does protect the rights of a minority, even if a minority of one conscientious objector.
In Libya, these values should, can, and must be reflected in a bill of rights for all citizens equally, reforming the political system so it can be inclusive of all segments of society irrespective of anything other than citizenship and legal status, establishing a fair economic system that gives equal chance to all citizens with out favoritism or nepotism, a justice system that is impartial and just irrespective of the political, economic, social, religious, gender, ethnic, tribal background, or any other consideration, a justice system that is JUST even with those who were not just in the past.
It also means developing the right professional capacities to meaningfully implement and protect such values, through education, and a human safety net system that must protect the poor and disadvantaged from hardship and destitution.
The Libya, I and many others, dream of, is a country that reflects and reaches out to the best values and principles, even if it may not reach them. A country that can learn from its past, and the tragedies of human history, and does not repeat it.
A Libya where the goals of equal opportunity, justice, and long term sustainability, are not simply pronouncements and slogans, but real, credible, and true, reflected in its laws, policies, and political, economic and social structures.
A country of equal rights and opportunities, not equal results and outcomes.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Libya Herald.
Article by Hafed Al-Ghwell, Libya Herald.
This article was originally published here.