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  • Translator: Timothy Covell Reviewer: Morton Bast

  • I have never, ever forgotten the words of my grandmother

  • who died in her exile:

  • "Son, resist Gaddafi. Fight him.

  • But don't you ever turn

  • into a Gaddafi-like revolutionary."

  • Almost two years have passed

  • since the Libyan Revolution broke out,

  • inspired by the waves of mass mobilization

  • in both the Tunisian and the Egyptian revolutions.

  • I joined forces with many other Libyans inside and outside Libya

  • to call for a day of rage

  • and to initiate a revolution against the tyrannical regime of Gaddafi.

  • And there it was, a great revolution.

  • Young Libyan women and men were at the forefront

  • calling for the fall of the regime,

  • raising slogans of freedom, dignity, social justice.

  • They have shown an exemplary bravery

  • in confronting the brutal dictatorship of Gaddafi.

  • They have shown a great sense of solidarity

  • from the far east to the far west to the south.

  • Eventually, after a period of six months of brutal war

  • and a toll rate of almost 50,000 dead,

  • we managed to liberate our country and to topple the tyrant.

  • (Applause)

  • However, Gaddafi left behind a heavy burden,

  • a legacy of tyranny, corruption and seeds of diversions.

  • For four decades Gaddafi's tyrannical regime

  • destroyed the infrastructure as well as the culture and the moral fabric of Libyan society.

  • Aware of the devastation and the challenges,

  • I was keen among many other women to rebuild the Libyan civil society,

  • calling for an inclusive and just transition

  • to democracy and national reconciliation.

  • Almost 200 organizations were established in Benghazi

  • during and immediately after the fall of Gaddafi --

  • almost 300 in Tripoli.

  • After a period of 33 years in exile, I went back to Libya,

  • and with unique enthusiasm,

  • I started organizing workshops

  • on capacity building, on human development of leadership skills.

  • With an amazing group of women,

  • I co-founded the Libyan Women's Platform for Peace,

  • a movement of women, leaders, from different walks of life,

  • to lobby for the sociopolitical empowerment of women

  • and to lobby for our right

  • for equal participation in building democracy and peace.

  • I met a very difficult environment in the pre-elections,

  • an environment which was increasingly polarized,

  • an environment which was shaped by the selfish politics of dominance and exclusion.

  • I led an initiative by the Libyan Women's Platform for Peace

  • to lobby for a more inclusive electoral law,

  • a law that would give every citizen, no matter what your background,

  • the right to vote and run,

  • and most importantly to stipulate on political parties

  • the alternation of male and female candidates

  • vertically and horizontally in their lists,

  • creating the zipper list.

  • Eventually, our initiative was adopted and successful.

  • Women won 17.5 percent of the National Congress

  • in the first elections ever in 52 years.

  • (Applause)

  • However, bit by bit, the euphoria of the elections,

  • and of the revolution as a whole,

  • was fading out --

  • for every day we were waking up to the news of violence.

  • One day we wake up to the news

  • of the desecration of ancient mosques and Sufi tombs.

  • On another day we wake up to the news

  • of the murder of the American ambassador and the attack on the consulate.

  • On another day we wake up to the news

  • of the assassination of army officers.

  • And every day, every day we wake up with the rule of the militias

  • and their continuous violations of human rights of prisoners

  • and their disrespect of the rule of law.

  • Our society, shaped by a revolutionary mindset,

  • became more polarized

  • and has driven away from the ideals and the principles --

  • freedom, dignity, social justice --

  • that we first held.

  • Intolerance, exclusion and revenge

  • became the icons of the [aftermath] of the revolution.

  • I am here today not at all to inspire you

  • with our success story of the zipper list and the elections.

  • I'm rather here today to confess

  • that we as a nation took the wrong choice, made the wrong decision.

  • We did not prioritize right.

  • For elections did not bring peace and stability and security in Libya.

  • Did the zipper list and the alternation between female and male candidates

  • bring peace and national reconciliation?

  • No, it didn't.

  • What is it, then?

  • Why does our society continue to be polarized and dominated

  • with selfish politics of dominance and exclusion, by both men and women?

  • Maybe what was missing was not the women only,

  • but the feminine values of compassion, mercy and inclusion.

  • Our society needs national dialogue and consensus-building

  • more than it needed the elections,

  • which only reinforced polarization and division.

  • Our society needs the qualitative representation of the feminine

  • more than it needs the numerical, quantitative representation of the feminine.

  • We need to stop acting as agents of rage and calling for days of rage.

  • We need to start acting as agents of compassion and mercy.

  • We need to develop a feminine discourse

  • that not only honors but also implements

  • mercy instead of revenge, collaboration instead of competition,

  • inclusion instead of exclusion.

  • These are the ideals that a war-torn Libya

  • needs desperately in order to achieve peace.

  • For peace has an alchemy,

  • and this alchemy is about the intertwining, the alternation

  • between the feminine and masculine perspectives.

  • That's the real zipper.

  • And we need to establish that existentially

  • before we do so sociopolitically.

  • According to a Quranic verse

  • "Salam" -- peace -- "is the word of the all-merciful God, raheem."

  • In turn, the word "raheem," which is known in all Abrahamic traditions,

  • has the same root in Arabic as the word "rahem" -- womb --

  • symbolizing the maternal feminine encompassing all humanity

  • from which the male and the female,

  • from which all tribes, all peoples, have emanated from.

  • And so just as the womb entirely envelopes the embryo, which grows within it,

  • the divine matrix of compassion nourishes the entire existence.

  • Thus we are told that "My mercy encompasses all things."

  • Thus we are told that "My mercy takes precedence over my anger."

  • May we all be granted a grace of mercy.

  • (Applause)

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

Translator: Timothy Covell Reviewer: Morton Bast

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【TED】Zahra' Langhi: Why Libya's revolution didn't work -- and what might (Zahra' Langhi: Why Libya's revolution didn't work -- and what might)

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    Zenn posted on 2017/11/11
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