Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Transitional chaos in Libya

The people of Libya have completed another phase of revolution.  The violent overthrow of the past government is complete.  Now the new government is in the dire situation of producing results demanded by the people.  The first demand is to bring law, security and predictable government more quickly.
In the pursuit of those demands the new government of Libya has asked the international community to release the financial sanctions put upon Libya.  What is surprising is that the financial sanctions are still enforce while the weapons sanctions have been lifted.  Think about that piece of idiocy for a moment.  A country that is well stocked with weapons to the point where stock piles are found daily is allowed to bring in more weapons.  Yet the money to run government, police, hospitals, schools, transit and a host of other infrastructure is still on hold.  Who makes the decision to lift the sanctions – UN Security Council.
It is even more absurd when you hear the list of priorities for the return to peace.  Number one is the locating and documenting existing weapons in Libya.  Second is the reintegration of the 75 000 fighters into society.  Third priority is to quell the rise in gang violence.   
There were enough more guns and ammunition to oust the last leader yet they need more to secure the peace?   In addition, you will not have any money to pay the police, military, doctors, teachers or government agencies to run these operations.  To be fair, there are funds made available.  It is just frustrating to see that weapon sanctions get lifted before financial sanctions. 
As the Libyan government deals with the transition, the public needs to be engaged as well.  The people need an outlet to express their experiences.  There needs to be a reintegration program on a mass scale that the entire society can go through.  In the past these have been called Truth and Reconciliation Commissions.  No matter what the name is, such programs are needed. 
The biggest test is going to be the elections, which are supposed to take place next June.  Already people are becoming agitated with the slow progress of transition.  This is to be expected as a violent revolution is a very highly intense atmosphere and peace is not.  People want change now and that is impossible.  What needs to be done is to engage with the people.  There needs to be mass discussions on the vision of Libya.
These discussions will allow the people to vent off the anger of what appears to be slow progress.  Having a person in place for the people to scream at, take that energy and produce positive feedback.  This is the realm of community development.  It may be the smallest of items that will bring the anger to a level that is acceptable.  Perhaps the local market has been destroyed or the schools or mosque or even a popular community area.  Whichever it is, a discussion with the community will provide answers. 
One thing they certainly do not need is more weapons.

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