Sara Merabti Elgvin, “On the margins of society: Insecurity and the challenge of political representation in Southern Libya”
Norwegian Defense Research Establishment
This presentation deals with the present and historical patterns of politicial representation in the borderland areas of Southern Libya. It is based on qualitative interviews conducted during the fall of 2021 and on historical and anthropological sources. At the moment, Southern Libya seem to be “forgotten” by the main factions which are vying for control over the country. As a result, Southern Libya is governed by a mosaic of tribal actors and armed groups, with no centralized authority in place. Ordinary people are complaining about a lack of economic opportunities, lack of security, and lack of basic services. Some ethnic and tribal groups seem to be worse off than others.
I argue that this situation has led to an intensification of an old pattern in Southern Libya: That political representation is not about individuals, but about groups. Both before and during the Qadhafi regime, the right to representation and to be heard was granted to people through their group affiliation. Under the present climate of insecurity, it appears that this tendency has become stronger: The only source of security is the group people belong to. The insecure situation seems to lead to more polarization and conflict between groups, and to negative images of people who belong to competing groups.
سارة مرابطي باحثة المعهد النرويجي للشؤون الدولية
على هامش المجتمع: انعدام الأمن وتحدي التمثيل السياسي في جنوب ليبيا