Libyan Rebels Aspire to Democracy

The USG Open Source Center translates an article about a rebel news conference in which they lay out their vision of Libya’ future:

Libya’s TNC Presents Memo Detailing Vision for Post-Al-Qadhafi Stage
Report by Khalid Mahmud in Cairo: Al-Sharq al-Awsat Exclusively Publishes the Transitional Council’s Vision of the Post-Al-Qadhafi Libya. The Revolutionaries Vowed To Write a New Constitution and To Take the Country to a Stage Where There Is no One-Man Rule
Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Document Type: OSC Translated Text…

The Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC) has pledged to rebuild a real democratic state in the country that is based on the law and public liberties after the collapse of Al-Qadhafi’s regime and to write a constitution for the state that defines its nature, spirit, and role and draws up its features and shape and the structure of its legal, political, civilian, legislative, executive, and judicial establishments.

In a memorandum presented to the various countries taking part in the Western alliance entitled “Vision of the Democratic Principles in Libya,” which Al-Sharq al-Awsat is exclusively publishing, the Council, which is headed by Counselor Mustafa Abd-al-Jalil, explained its general vision for rebuilding the national and democratic Libyan state in a way that goes in line with the hopes and aspirations of the Libyan people and the requirements of this important historic stage in which the revolution of 17 February is passing.

The memorandum said: “Time has come for drawing up the main features of our modern, free, and unified country after the elimination of the atmosphere of fear, repression, and tyranny and after we defeated the crimes of domination and humiliation practiced by the battalions and gangs of the hateful regime of Al-Qadhafi throughout difficult and lean decades.” The memorandum pointed out the difficult historic experiment through which the Libyan people passed and which taught them many political lessons that emphasized beyond any doubt that there is no alternative for setting up the society of freedom, democracy, and the sovereignty of the principles of human rights.

The memorandum pointed out that the historic experiment has also taught the Libyans the need for respecting the various social interests of all sectors, groups, and strata of our national social structure and also taught them that the political authority should be the outcome of a free choice by all without excluding anyone and without silencing anyone.

The memorandum stressed that “the authority should be subject to the principles of socio-political code which leads us to the civilized civil society which recognizes the intellectual and political pluralism and recognizes the peaceful, institutional, and legal transition of power through the ballot boxes in accordance with what is decided by the articles of the national constitution, which is enforced by the legitimacy of the referendum and the acceptance and satisfaction of the people, whose voice is above all voices.”

The Council said that it is presenting a host of democratic principles as the basis for rebuilding the free and unified Libyan republic through the adoption of the whole political democratic principles. The Council announced in its memorandum that it recognizes the following rights without reservations:

o Drafting and adopting a written constitution for the state that defines its nature, spirit, and role, and draws up its features and shape and the structure of its legal, political, civilian, legislative, executive, and judicial establishments – a constitution that clearly and openly defines the duties and rights of the citizens and is based on the principle of the separation between the three branches of government (the legislative, executive, and judicial) and defines the relationship between them in a flexible and balanced way and on the basis of the independence of the judiciary and its supremacy because there is no voice above the law and there is no authority on the judiciary.

o Adopting the principle of the free and direct choice of all the state’s legislative and executive establishments. This means demonstrating the right to freely electing and running for the post of president of the republic and the membership in the parliamentary councils.
o Practicing, respecting, and ensuring the freedom of speech, expression and publication, and the independence of the press and the mass media in accordance with the constitution and the legal principles emanating from it.

o Ensuring and guaranteeing the right of peaceful protest such as staging rallies, demonstrations, and sit-ins in light of what the constitution and the legal principles emanating from it dictate and on the basis of preserving security and order and social peace.

o Ensuring and guaranteeing the right to form political groups and the civil society’s organizations in a voluntary and independent way, including the formation of political parties, popular organizations, trade unions, societies, unions, and peaceful and free associations.

o This civil and free state, which is the state of institutions, liberties, and law, adheres to the principle of intellectual and political pluralism and the principle of the transition of power. It is a state that opens the way for real political participation on the fullest manner – a participation by all national, ethnical, political, and regional strata, in the political decisionmaking and in implementing and watching this decision and benefiting from its fruits and results.

On the link between the political democracy and the values of social justice, the memorandum presented the following points:

o Developing the national economy on the basis of knowledge, programming, and planning so that the people would benefit from national resources and correct the influential economic establishments in order to put an end to poverty, unemployment, and inflation, and to move toward the society which enjoys health, clean environment, abundance, and welfare.

o Establishing the state of the real economic partnership between a strong and productive public sector and a free private sector that is self-motivated, and a supportive and active civil society that confronts corruption and the exhaustion of resources.

o Building a state that reconsiders, in a scientific way that copes with the development and the progress in technology and the wide use of knowledge and sciences, organizing the social life in order to preserve the sublime family values and correct the relationship between the two sexes. This state should also reconsider the contents of education, culture, and media in a way that is necessitated by the development and progress of the society and the revival of the creativity spirit and ensuring the fair laws for personal status that guarantee many social rights that we have lost during the black dictatorship and tyrannical period and the creation of public and private funds for social care and social integration and solidarity. It should also ensure the freedom and rights of women in the law and constitution and the equal chances in all legal, political, economic, and cultural fields.

o The state we are seeking is the civil state that respects the religious beliefs and their sublime principles away from racialism, extemism, violence, and forgery that are sometimes caused by the political, social, and economic interests. The state we want is a state that renounces violence, terrorism, racialism, and cultural isolation. It is a state that respects human rights and the principles of citizenship and the rights of minorities and weak groups because the human being in light of the state of the institutions and law is a free creature who enjoys all privileges of citizenship regardless of color, race, language, fai th, ethnicity, or social status.

Concerning the future relations between the Libyan state and the world, the TNC said: “Our upcoming state whose democratic fabric is having balanced and rational regional and international relations, respects neighbors and praises the friendship relations and values the independence and sovereignty of states, and seeks to achieve regional integration and international cooperation and contributes with the rest of world countries in realizing international peace and security.”

It pointed out that this aspired state adheres to the values of international justice, citizenship, and respect of human rights. Therefore, it seeks to renounce the fascist and dictatorship regimes and joins the international system in alienating racialist conflicts and their discriminatory and ethnical forms as well as international terrorism. On the other hand, it supports the causes of peace, democracy, and the liberation from all forms of hegemony and tyranny.

The TNC stresses anew that this democratic state respects all charters, accords, and international and regional agreements that it concludes with the peoples and states for the sake of international peace and security and to achieve cooperation and peaceful coexistence among peoples and nations, pointing out that Libya as a state, after the fall of Al-Qadhafi, would honestly and truly take care of the interests and rights of the foreign citizens and companies in the country in its capacity as a state of the institutions, liberties, and law. It has laws that organize legitimate immigration, residency, and nationality, and respect the principles and the rights of humanitarian asylum in general. This state rejects the interference in the affairs of the countries and peoples out of its respect for their sovereignty and in recognition of their freedom of choices.

(Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat Online in Arabic — Website of influential London-based pan-Arab Saudi daily; editorial line reflects Saudi official stance. URL: http://www.asharqalawsat. com/)

Posted in Libya | 6 Responses | Print |

6 Responses

  1. Thank you for this translation: “It should also ensure the freedom and rights of women in the law and constitution and the equal chances in all legal, political, economic, and cultural fields.”

    Remember Gaddafis claim (“Al-Queda, all Al-Queda …”) and the question of the “anti-imperialistic” anti-interventionists (“Who are these people?”)?

    Thus, now we know: Islamists most recently transformed into womens rights activists –

    or could it be that “these people” are just ordinary people who dare to be unknown and nevertheless dare to fight for their human dignity?

    • Paul: it’s common for Islamists to talk about women and equal rights, also about democracy.

      Sometimes such language is genuine and sometimes it’s lip service. We don’t know which is the case here. The US State Dept has already impressed on the rebel leaders that they need to project a democratic image if they’re to enjoy Western support. The rebels have every motive to tell Western audiences what they want to hear.

  2. Impressive high up the Hayakawa abstraction ladder. One pauses though at the Saudi source…. Should we take this any more seriously that Saudi professions of “real democracy?” In any case, the TNC has posted its own translation of the full document (without the Saudi spin) here: link to ntclibya.org

    • Stuff like this would would quickly be labeled, in the US, a fascist, commie, pinko, socialist, liberal agenda – hide the kids. If the rebels want our support they better get some talking points from the American Enterprise Institute. “strong and productive public sector”, those are fighting words.

      o Developing the national economy on the basis of knowledge, programming, and planning so that the people would benefit from national resources and correct the influential economic establishments in order to put an end to poverty, unemployment, and inflation, and to move toward the society which enjoys health, clean environment, abundance, and welfare.

      o Establishing the state of the real economic partnership between a strong and productive public sector and a free private sector that is self-motivated, and a supportive and active civil society that confronts corruption and the exhaustion of resources.

    • But we have our Excellent Points! The point is the Points are meaningless when Ruled by a very non-democratic International Economic Order of . . .
      let’s say (and limiting ourselves to the most recent historical context) the Bush-One, Clinton-One, Bush-Two, Obama-One/Clinton-Two Administrations.

      This trajectory of Democratic/Republican Liberalism (Corporatism: which makes cozy-capitalist relationships for High Players like Mubarek,the Chinese,the Saudis, etc., makes meaningless these Quaint Ideals.

      Secretary of State Clinton PROUDLY reminded us: The Mubarek Family are personal friends of Her Family! So have the Kadaffi Sons been well-heeled players in this fast moving international jet-set casino they all play in.

      All “national” Sovereignty is abdicated at the Shiny Brass & Glass Doors of Goldman Sachs. Alas, that means you too Tripoli.

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