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Open letter to Mr. Ghassan Salame

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

Dear Mr. Salame,

I first would like to thank you for all the efforts you have been doing for my country with a true and sincere desire for peace and stability. I do appreciate your involvement and intense work. Not all of the global and national leaders, however, share this same will of ending that devastating crisis.

During the eight months of late 2018, you have appointed the Humanitarian Dialogue to meet with the Libyan people across the whole country. More than 70 panel discussions have been held and thousands of grass-root Libyans like me have expressed their concerns and hopes about their future, and I sincerely want to thank you for it.

At this occasion and for the first time since 2014, I had the feeling that my voice mattered and was a humble part of a future national democratic process. Moreover, the results overwhelmingly confirmed that we wish nothing but a united, safe, sovereign, peaceful and democratic country.

Mr. Salame, if you really share with us these serious and audacious conclusions, why don’t you give us serious and audacious solutions to enforce them?

Indeed, how can you promote a unified and institutional country and, at the same time, continue to back a presidential council that cannot even rule the capital city and that relies on militias and their self-interested tyrants? Those people, who confessed themselves their impotence after the attack on Tripoli Foreign Ministry, have failed and will continue to fail and you are at the risk of being held responsible for this disaster.

On 19 December, the forces of the Libyan National Army, in agreement with regular forces from the city of Misurata, conducted a major and successful anti-terrorist operation in Al-Sadada against radical extremists from both the Benghazi Defense Brigades and forces of Ibrahim Jadran whom the latter has been a major disturbing element to Libya stability for the last two years, and is now, thankfully, listed on both the United States and Security Council sanctions list. When you should have congratulated the forces of the Libyan National Army and praised this concrete enhancement of the regular armed forces cooperation, you only warned them against possible consequences, asserting that they were « playing with fire » and suggesting that they would be held « responsible » for such « misjudgment ». You, therefore, protect the enemies of Libya with such clumsy and disrespectful statements, and what’s more you become their accomplice. How ironic is it that your claims and expectations stand on one side of the barrier, your actions on the other.

It is so bitter a disappointment to witness such incomprehensible and irrational attitude and, be sure that it will not persuade the Libyan people that the international community is actively working for the sake of our country.

Of course, Mr. Salame, we also do promote peace, who is the sensible person that would not? Do you believe we have not suffered enough that we still want more conflicts, wars and « bloody battles »?

What do you think, indeed, Mr. Salame? Do you think that Benghazi, Sirte, Derna and the Oil Crescent have been liberated by peaceful talks and handshakes? Do you think that « silent gun and avoided clashes » have been the solution to expel the terrorists who wanted nothing but our death out of our cities? You are insulting our brothers and sisters who gave their lives in those battles so that we can now live free and safe in our cities without the threat of having our heads cut off by a self-styled emir.

What kind of peace would be acceptable with those people? Do you really believe that they could be part of the dialogue?

How can you promote democracy, human rights and gender equality while conversing with radical Islamists who believe that religious laws are above state laws, who consider secularism as a crime and women as their obedient subordinates?

How can you promote stability while letting thief gangs threatening the oil facilities and acting so with impunity, clandestinely supported by some foreign countries too well known for their notorious disrespect of human rights?

How can you condemn the awful living conditions of the migrants while preventing the regular forces to dismantle the militias and the extremist groups which benefit from this modern slave trade?

How can you promote transparency and continue to turn a blind eye to the massive corruption system that plagues the Central Bank and divert oil revenues?

Mr. Salame, your dreams are noble and we share them, but they will continue to be dreams, and only dreams if you do not find the courage to replace your delusive « inclusive dialogue » by rightful decisions to evict for good the opponents of a safe, secular and unified country.

It is not the way you seem to take for the National Conference and it is a pity. Let me then predict with true regrets that it will be another failure, disguised behind a so-called political step forward which will eventually add to the current mayhem.

The Libyan people are fed up with those precious nice words which mean nothing on the ground. Let me warn you that this growing anger that you are indirectly but firmly contributing to raise could turn into another chaos.

Just like you, I believe that a both political and security solution is necessary and I would like the former to lead to the latter. But this hope does not resist a fair assessment of the reality which should conclude that the opposite is inevitable if we want to bypass the supporters of the status quo. Refusing this matter of fact is nothing but an ideological blindness that harms the Libyan people.

Mr. Salame, your commitment no longer requires useless sermons and fairy tales but strong choices and pragmatism. This would be the greatest good resolution you could take for 2019 if you really want your dreams, our dreams, to become true.

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