It began with the rise of the oppressed and ended with the production of new oppressors

Abdul Rahman Zayed

A decade of the revolution of the oppressored against the oppressor, which produced new oppressors.

A decade on the closure of Abu Salim prison, which opened many prisons, and a decade on the return of the General from the diaspora, who exiled others after him.

It became clear that the revolution’s veterans faced a dilemma: a group that supported its outputs worshiped it, and a group disavowed it.

The gaddafi regime was characterized by totalitarianism, so he imprisoned, displaced and assassinated, ad tried to Arabize non-Arabs, and discriminated against women in personal and criminal cases.

The people rose up demanding social justice, but before the completion of their first year of revolution, the wheel of persecution turned again, so the people of Tawergha were expelled, and some were isolated politicaly.

And arbitrary prisons were opened instead of one prison, and enforced disappearance and liquidation over identity spread, so that the outcome of injustice in a decade of February exceeded the four decades of September.

On the occasion of the passage of a decade since the revolution, my friend, who was a volunteer at that time, and later disbelieved in the phenomena of persecution that resulted from it, asked me: “If you went back to the first day of the revolution, would you support it?”


Disalacement was forced on me, and the fire entering my house played a role in absorbing the feelings of a demonized Libyan Jew in 1967, or the feelings of a Tawergian bid farewell to his city in the year of the revolution.

What I read and watched of artworks about civil wars and displacement was not enough to absorb the feelings of its characters until I became part of it.

The UN report defines IDPs as: “Persons or groups of persons who have been compelled to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, or situations of generalized violence, human rights violations or natural or man-made disasters, and who have not crossed stae frontiers recognized internationally.

The Libyan regimes have a rooted history with the phenomenon of forced displacement, the Jews of Libya were displaced under the rule of the Kingdom, and its reform movements were displaced under the rule of Gaddafi, and the people of Tawergha, Derna, Benghazi and others were displaced under the rule of the February governments.

Militias are considered one of the most important tools of post-revolution governments in enhancing their influence, and they are also responsible for producing the phenomenon of forced displacement.

As a result of the conflicting governments’ involvement in this phenomenon, the Libyan diaspora became one of the marginalized groups whose rights in society were marginalized.

In October 2014, social phenomena had the final say in Benghazi. The second battle of Benghazi began in the middle of the month, and all those who were “them” and were not “we” were targeted.

As for “them” they were all those who violated the condition of the cosmic vision, and as for “we” they were all those who agreed with it, and as for the condition, it is the warlord who entered the city.

Some of the social psychologists tried to explain these phenomena with the theory of “terror management theory”, and others with the theory of “social identity theory”. As for the self-described city scientists, they prohibited from teaching these theories in their departments.

I asked my sister, a psychology graduate, about the reason for the prohibition, she replied that there were orders in the department that prohibit teaching any theory that explains the intolerance of human groups, even if these theories do not target religious groups directly.

After the massacres of the Suwaid and Karshini families, families opposed to the warlord began to leave the city, successively. After leaving the city in 2015, I did not appreciate the number of displaced families until months after my arrival in the Libyan West.

One day I meet my high school friend, another day I meet my professor at the university, and another day with the shaikh (Imam) of our old mosque.

In February 2018, Human Rights Watch published a report it conducted with 27 displaced persons from the city of Benghazi, in which it spoke of torture, enforced disappearance, and the seizure of property inside the city.

With the intensification of the systematic campaigns by the war media against the displaced, many of them tried to escape stigmatization and demonization, some of them were able to change their mother tongue to a new one, and others used a different date for the time of their arrival.

My sister and I were surprised when her dentist told us that she was also an immigrant from Benghazi, as it was difficult for us to distinguish between her dialect and that of the people of Tripoli.

After a while, I realized that the displaced has a fair share of social stigma, as most families refuse to intermarry with a displaced family because of their political opposition, and of course, my family had experience with this kind of discrimination.

The discrimination of the displaced does not stop here, but goes beyond it to the systematic discrimination in the education sector. After the internal security took control of the University of Benghazi, the “hospitality dormatory” was closed, which was a feature of the educational continuity of the student who moved from one city to another due to different circumstances.

In order for the studies to continue, the displaced student had the option of either starting over or returning from the middle, which requires a personal presence at the university to withdraw the transcript, so this protocol was rejected by most of the students.

At first, I thought that the systematic discrimination practiced by the University of Benghazi is only directed against the city’s displaced, only to discover later that even my friend, of the Tobo race, could not complete his university studies in the city of Kufra since 2015.

The ethnic war that the city witnessed after the outbreak of the revolution, made the administration of the Kufra branch of Benghazi University, wich administration was controlled by the Arabs, took the decision to transfer the university branch to areas that the Tobu families cannot enter.


The description of the “Arab Spring” of the North African revolutions remains sufficient for the various ethnicities of the North to disbelieve in them.

As a revolution, it was supposed to be a dividing line between the era of ethnic oppression in which forms of racial superiority and Arabization were practiced over the indigenous population, and the era of justice and social equality.

During the four decades of Gaddafi, the archaeological monuments of the Tobu were destroyed, their personal names were Arabized, and they were prevented from using their ethnic language.

A year after the February Revolution, the ethnic conflict escalated in the south of Libya. In February 2012, clashes erupted between the Tobu and the Arabs, claiming the lives of 17 from the city of Tazer (Kufra). An indication that the oppression of four decades will not disappear in two years.

The year 2015 is considered one of the year of higest persecution in the city of Tazer (Kufra). The resulting escalations between the Tobu and Arabs resulted in the Tobu being prevented from university education by transferring the university administration to non-neutral areas.

Because of this, Tobu activists did not stop demanding their basic rights, which resulted in widespread cases of enforced disappearance, including my Tobu friend. After his enforced disappearance in January 2016, he was later released after 9 months.

Despite the departure of the Gaddafi regime, its nationalist system is still rooted in Libyan institutions and elites.

The draft constitution, which is supposed to be compiled by Libyan experts and specialists, showed its failure to boycott the indigenous population, as a result of the “racists” taking possession of it and their insistence on passing “racist articles” in the draft, according to the boycotting members of the committee.


Libyan women in general, and the Libyan women of indigenous people in particular, are considered one of the most persecuted groups. The severity of the persecution increases with the intersection of forms of discrimination on the individual.

The persecution that is being practiced against my Tobu male friend is not equal to what is being practiced on my female Amazigh friend, and is not equal to what is being practiced on the female Tobu.

In 1988, sociologist Deborah King published her paper in which she formulated her theory of “multiple jeopardy”, in which the doctor explained that different factors of an individual’s identity that lead to discrimination or oppression, such as gender, class or race, have a multiplier effect on discrimination that person is exposed to.

During the Gaddafi era, personal status and criminal laws were notorious for discriminatory articles against women and the indigenous population.

Penal Code 375 reduces the death penalty for the one who kills his wife, daughter or sister, and Criminal Law 424 exonerates the rapist if he marries his victim and does not divorce her for 3 years.

As for the first February contract, it showed that the mindset of the legislator and his defunct entourage is present in the committee of proposed draft, especially on the article on passing citizenship to those who married a foreigner.

At the moment of the fall of the regime, the Libyan woman tried to hurry to take her share of the cake of the social and political space, which was previously distributed among the supporters of the patriarchal, nationalist and totalitarian regime. The result was assassination, threats and enforced disappearance of many of those who entered this race.

Intisar initiated reform and was assassinated, Salwa opposed the militias and was killed, Seham refused the war and was forcibly hidden, and Hanan revealed corruption and was physically liquidated.

Despite all these threats and demonization campaigns directed against Libyan women who are still practicing their human rights activism, I mention some of them:

– “Tamazight Women’s Movement” founded by a group of Libyan Amazigh activists, which focuses on women’s problems from an intersectionality perspective, and

– “No To Discrimination” established by a group of Libyan Berbers claiming their rights to Libyan nationality.


Peaceful resistance was my answer to my friend’s question, because the armed revolution and the sudden vacuum of state institutions will only be filled by the products of decades of racism, patriarchal hierarchy, and other totalitarianisms.

The option of peaceful resistance remains the most correct, as its success depends on the purification of its elites, and on a long-term reform that ensures stability during the change of the state’s structure.


Related Articles