Tripoli, 2012 – The Libya Initiative (Al Mubadara Libya) is an action plan promoting societal healing and a political culture of justice, forgiveness and reconciliation in Libya through a nation-wide effort of listening, remembering, weaving and sharing personal and collective narratives.
Libya is a nation with extraordinary potential. Realizing this potential requires a national effort aimed at overcoming individual and collective traumas, fostering reconciliation among all Libyans and suffocating radical and intolerant ideologies that penetrate and take root when disappointment grows and hope fades.
In 2012 the Ara Pacis Initiative developed, in collaboration with local partners and with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of former President of the Libyan GNC Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf and of key Ministries of the Libyan Government, a collaborative cultural action plan for societal healing and reconciliation.
The two-year plan aimed to contribute to the processes of consolidation of democracy and stability in Libya through the enactment of initiatives aimed at overcoming divisions, restoring dignity, acknowledging the burdens of history, fostering dialogue and, in general, opening new paths for societal healing, forgiveness, justice and reconciliation.
Though security problems have stalled full implementation of the action plan, the initial phases of The Libya initiative met with significant success: close to thirty media activists completed training in “Media for Reconciliation” and published their stories on several media outlets; the topic of sexual violence and war rape was addressed publically for the first time in Libya, contributing to the legislative engagement of policy-makers in support of the victims and leading to the next Ara Pacis project, “The Necessary Truth.”
The launch event itself, held in Tripoli on May 4, 2013, effectively served as a public, bottom up, symbolic truth-hearing event centered on the dignity of human life and on the right of the aggrieved and excluded to be respectfully heard, have their suffering acknowledged and to be fully recognized as human beings and as citizens.
The proceedings were held in the presence of the top echelons of Libya’s political leaders and focused on genuinely listening in the spirit of dialogue and reconciliation.
The success of the event, as measured by the satisfaction of those who “testified”, among whom four government ministers, shows that such bottom-up approaches to truth proceedings may offer a much-needed answer to one of the top questions on the minds of transitional justice experts: how to bridge the role of justice with that of healing at the personal and societal levels?
The launch of the Libyan Initiative was supported and funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was held under the patronage of the President of the Libyan National Congress, Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf.