Final Reflection

December 8, 2014

From the beginning, I was curious about Libya because I wanted to know how a country would decide a future for itself after so many years of being told what to do. Because Libya was such a broad topic, I decided to focus my blogs on a few themes.  My articles focus on civil rights abuses, war, personal stories, and the role of religion in Post-Qaddafi Libya. My final post will summarize my research, make connections to perspectives on globalization, express my broader thoughts about Libya, and reflect on my personal understanding of Libya.

Edward D. Mansfield and Jack Snyder, authors from Controversies in Globalization say that some countries just lack the preconditions for democracy. In addition, these authors assert that unleashing mass opinion through sudden democratization might raise the likelihood of war because the rule of law, per capital incomes, literacy rates, and other factors are weak and well below the levels needed to sustain democracy. Mansfield and Snyder explain the exact situation that Libya is experiencing after the fall of Qaddafi. The agenda set by the United States to rid Libya of a corrupt ruler only put the country in danger of more corruption, war, and chaos. Libyans were left without a supportive base to lead a stable country. Qaddafi’s demise has only created a breeding ground for more power hungry anti-Islamist and extremist groups.

Three years after the fall of Qaddafi, Libya has turned into a place that U.S officials and others fear: a lawless land that attracts terrorists. Although the fall of the Libyan regime was good news, the United States and others did not take too much consideration on how exactly Libya was going to successfully move towards the path of democracy and stability. The U.S did not want to embark on a nation building effort in Libya because it did not pose any real threats to our countries security. However, after hearing news that ISIS is in the picture, the United States and other countries have grown nervous. It is interesting that the United States has grown interested, especially now that its security is threatened. But by limiting efforts to help Libya stabilize, the U.S and its allies have inadvertently helped turn Libya into a major security threat than it was before the military intervention in 2011. When Clinton was asked why the United States did not do more to help Libya, Clinton responded by saying “Libya is a perfect case where people who’ve never had the opportunity to run anything, manage anything, even participate in meaningful politics, and they are not even sure what questions to ask.”

I think that much of the chaos could have been avoided if Libya had received more support so that it could stabilize its country. The country does not have the foundational support to begin forming a democracy. Towns and tribes across Libya are choosing sides, and many people are so hopeless and hungry, that they are siding with terrorist groups. Sectarianism. The country’s chaos has mostly been portrayed as a contest between Islamists and more secular groups – young revolutionaries and military officers of Qaddafi’s regime. One of the most powerful Islamist groups fighting in Libya is Ansar al-Sharia, which has been affiliated with al Qaeda.  It is not surprising how the aftermath of Qaddafi has turned out. After the fall of Qaddafi, Libya’s citizens were left with the responsibility to elect their own leaders after almost 50 years of being governed by one leader. Much of my research centered in the point that Libya’s plan for democracy was poorly planned and unorganized. Little thought was placed on the power struggles that would arise with the absence of a leader or stable government. The General National Congress, Libya’s elected leader, is unstable and is being taken over by Islamists. The GNC’s original plan of sharing differing points of view backfired, and the country of Libya is divided by those who are for Islam and those who against Islam in Libya.

In terms of society, I thought it would be beneficial to research about the role of women in Libya, and what they are doing after Qaddafi.  I found that many women have joined woman’s rights organizations, such as The Voice of Libyan Woman, in order to shift the woman’s role in society at both the grassroots and policy making levels. These women believe that by increasing the role of woman in society, there will be more order and stability in Libya. The organization says that there is no quick fix to their problems; instead of using military combat, people must fix the community. Without fixing the community, no improvements can be made.  VLW uses religion to enforce their roles, which is very interesting to me because it is a radical perspective. The radical perspective is the very reason why they are so undermined in society to begin with and why Libya is in so much chaos. However, these women are also taking a cosmopolitan approach. It seems necessary to incorporate religion into their cause, because people need to be integrated slowly; it takes time for people to be comfortable to different ideas when certain ideas are so engraved into their culture. Slow and careful integration and creating a stable foundation is what needs to be done in order for democracy to happen in Libya.

Civil rights abuses are rampant in Libya, and much of this is due to the countries lack of governance. Many Libyans have been killed, tortured, and detained based on their origins of perceived political views. Many Libyans even fear spreading the word about their conditions and political views via social media. A few of the articles that I read portrayed how innocent people are being attacked for simply having a point of view. One woman was attacked for not covering her face.  Egypt’s president has recently called on the U.S and Europe for assistance to combat terrorism in Libya.  Although it is obvious that Libya needs attention, the international community must carefully consider what measures need to be taken so that their investments are not wasted. If efforts to control terrorism are to attack them out of the country, then what measures will be taken to keep them from coming back? As mentioned, Libya was particularly attractive to extremists groups because of its lack of stability and governance. The international community must look at Libya’s situation from the ground up, instead of temporarily treating the problem.

Various perspectives on globalization are colliding here. Libya has been under regime for almost 50 years. Libya and its neighboring countries have historically, culturally, and economically been reliant on the radicalistic perspective; it is all they have known.  It is difficult for people to change their ways, especially if it is rooted in their culture to think a certain way. While the ousting of Qaddaffi was supposed to gear the country away from radicalism, many groups in Libya are fighting to preserve it. Islamist groups are taking the opportunity to turn the unstable country into an Islamic one, keeping the country from growth and freedom. Although many individuals in Libya want to democratize the country through grass roots approaches, a cosmopolitan perspective, there are groups that are only looking for power over others who do not share the same religious views. These power struggles are creating more chaos, and unless these groups can come to some sort of agreement, there will not be order in Libya.

My overall understanding of Libya is still limited, but improved. Researching the country was difficult, because I could not decide where to direct my focus. Much of the crisis in Libya is rooted by so many different factors, and it was impossible for me to understand Libya from every angle. Historical knowledge was extremely important in understanding the countries issues because it explains how the country has progressed or regressed. A sociological imagination was also necessary, which is why I found personal stories so helpful; they gave me more context. Without a sociological imagination, it is difficult to understand a countries circumstance. Because Libya was too broad of a topic, I decided to increase my understanding of Libya through a variety of topics, such as the civil war and who the main key players were. I found it difficult to stay on one topic, because there was so much information to learn, so jumping around to different topics was more effective for my learning.

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar