Libya’s political leaders must not mistake the lack of demonstrative political pressure to address the issue of national reconciliation as a sign that all is forgiven. Dealing with our past is akin to treating national internal bleeding whose symptoms might not be immediately apparent to the naked eye but whose long term consequences for the health of Libya’s body politic can be extremely harmful.
The need to deal speedily and effectively with the past is best illustrated by the German writer Jurgen Fuchs who expressed concern to Adam Michnik, a leader of the Polish opposition to communist rule about crimes committed by the communist regime in East Germany. “If we do not solve this problem in a definite way, it will haunt us."
Likewise in post revolution Libya, the present and the past are entwined and the burden of the past will continue to be an albatross around our present and future. The albatross will pull us back if justice is not done and seen to be done.
When a forty- two-year-old regime ends as a result of a violent revolution, anomie is inescapable. But it is the duty of the successor regime to come up with a strategy that ensures justice is dispensed in a balanced way.
This brings to the fore the urgent need to establish accountability for past crimes of human rights abuses and addressing allegations of active participation in systematic abusive practices in a court of law in a transparent and fair manner.