By: Huda Biuk
I have been clear ever since starting the Bifocal, that this column would always show the flip side.
Being a dual national, I write with a dual perspective as it is the way I have grown to see the world, and it is how I now watch Libya as it continues its tough journey through the transitional road. However, this week I find it hard to find a flip side, at all, as recent events have painted the same frail picture for everyone.
Last Wednesday, was a day of the Libyan transitional period that will always be remembered, not only by Libyans, but by the rest of the world. If not for the General National Congress’s vote for a new Prime Minister, then for the tragic loss of the American Ambassador who was a friend to the Libyan revolution.
As with many previous examples, the news of the Ambassador’s unconfirmed death travelled by word of mouth and through social media before media outlets announced it as breaking news. No doubt, Libyans will recall what they were doing the moment they heard the news, because it was a moment of tragedy and it was a disappointing portrayal of the Libyan government’s inability to establish security and stability.
Looking at pictures posted all over the web of the Ambassador walking the streets of Tripoli, sitting in front of a bowl of bazeen in Gheryan, and reclined enjoying where Libya’s coast meets the Mediterranean, it became harder and harder to identify where we all thought this country was headed. Nothing seemed predictable in those moments of havoc, trying to confirm the news, then attempting to understand how it could be true.
As Libyans planned to meet at Martyrs Square in protest of the violence that took place at the American embassy in Benghazi the night before, the Libyan Prime Minister and the Head of the General National Congress appeared before the public to announce Libya’s solidarity with America and its intolerance for violent acts.
To my surprise, and perhaps many others, the scheduled vote for the new Prime Minister was not delayed by the General National Congress. And, it was with this non-change that Libya’s newly elected national assembly began to prove its dedication to making this transitional period change for the better.
Watching the GNC members stand around the table with a pile of 200 ballots placed in the middle, one couldn’t help but wonder what answer the folded ballots held – if only to have one question about Libya’s future clearly answered. Libyans all over the country surrounded their television screens, counting the votes along with the representatives on the second round of the vote.
Elders, like my grandmother watched with interest, not fully understanding what was happening but realizing, somehow that it all meant change. “Whoever it is, may he be the best for this country,” my grandmother said, speaking more to herself than to the rest of the family who surrounded her.
During the count up to the final vote, each additional vote resonated as another voice heard, another district represented, and another reason to hope that what was lost would only push us quicker in the right direction.
(This article was originally published in Tripoli Post on 9/16/2012)