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After Kadhafi, Libyans face new battle

It has been two years since the death of Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi. As the country marked Liberation Day on October 23rd, Magharebia met with Dr Omar Moussa Barasi in al-Bayda to ask about the revolution’s impact on Libyan families.

Magharebia: The February 17th revolution changed the country. Did it also change people?

Dr Omar Barasi: There are situations that resulted from the war, such as the spread of arms and the openness stemming from the weakened state not exercising its role. There is also the proliferation of drugs in an unprecedented way, and the change in the conditions of some families, as a result of their children’s access to funds acquired both legally and illegally.

Magharebia: Why do extremists seek out teenagers? And can anything be done to protect Libya’s young men?

Barasi: They usually target young people who have family, social, economic, or political problems. They embrace them and program them in a way that serves the organisation, for there is no authority to prevent them from achieving their goals.

As for how to protect a young Libyan, it is the role of the state and society as a whole, starting with the family, which educates him based on moderate Islam and raises his awareness of the dangers of these groups. The family can show him examples of what is happening now to those young people thrown in the middle of the war in Syria, where they are sold or left without protection.

Schools and universities must also have in their curriculum a module where they educate students about surrounding threats. Mosques, radio stations and newspapers, and other media must also teach the same thing.

Magharebia: What do security problems mean for the average Libyan family?

Barasi: The psychological and social situation of the Libyan family is linked to the surrounding environment. Unfortunately, the country’s situation is worsening by the day, especially with regard to the most important pillar of the state, which is security.

The lack of security has become an obsession that terrifies all members of the community and undoubtedly affects education, health, and employment. This is especially true since they started threatening doctors, nurses, and preachers.

This puts Libyan families in a bad psychological position. They are worried about the fate of their children, who might develop an aversion to their homeland. Young Libyans could get involved with subversive groups to protect themselves…

The lack of security also prevents them from having access to opportunities. They will resort to sneaky paths.

The country thus becomes a conglomerate of criminal gangs defending themselves and imposing their decisions. Families will seek more weapons to protect themselves. They deal with the problem by creating a bigger one. Families lose their equilibrium, and justice and respect fall by the wayside.

Magharebia: All borders of the country are exposed. How do you think they should be protected?

Barasi: Officials wasted a chance to secure the country after liberation. Back then, citizens were celebrating victory and did not care for arms, for they had reached their goal – the liberation of the country.

A plan could have been made then to collect arms, even by buying them. I am one of those who accuse the National Transitional Council for slacking off in this regard. Many groups have since entered the scene.

The solution understood by everyone is an army and police, with no loyalty except to the homeland. But there are many obstacles to building this.

The truth is that the policy of Zidan with neighbouring countries is excellent, but he failed in internal politics…

The issue, in my opinion, is the lack of patriotism, which was stripped by the former regime. Loyalty here is not for the nation and this is a big problem. This cannot be addressed until the citizen feels that his country is protecting him.

I suggest an unusual solution, until we can build a national army. The solution is to provide money to neighbouring countries so that nothing illegal or harmful can cross the borders.

Magharebia: What can social experts offer to ordinary Libyans?

Barasi: The social expert is like the policeman and the soldier… He can conduct field studies on some of the problems that are bursting to the surface and can also predict some of the problems that could occur in the future. He can try to find solutions or propose ones to the concerned groups.

In schools, he has a significant role in creating a favourable atmosphere for pupils, and for their relationship with teachers and the administration. In the factory, he can try to overcome problems that hinder production and provide suitable conditions for the workers, as well as in the security field and for groups that need care. He can urge neighbourhood groups to co-operate and prepare hospitals and patients psychologically and socially. He can collaborate with community development teams for the betterment of the homeland.

Magharebia: How do you see the future of Libya?

Barasi: The future of Libya, unfortunately, looks worse with every day that passes. If the wait continues without a drafted constitution, which must garner approval, then the situation will be catastrophic.

The weakness of the state and the concentration of services, or, let’s just say, the control by certain groups of its resources and decisions, made a lot of people consider partition.

We hope that the future of the country will not be what we see now and that our calculations turn out to be wrong. The Almighty’s assessment is always best.

Interview by Asma Elourfi, Magharebia.

This article was originally published here.

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