Day 43: Why Libya’s revolution didn’t work- and what might.

On her deathbed, Zahra Langhi’s exiled Libyan grandmother gave her one piece of advice. ‘Don’t ever turn into a Qaddafi like revolutionary.’   Langhi stands in front of a group of delegates at TED women 2 years after the Libyan revolution began and admits Libya failed to follow this advice.That’s 2 years after young people raised banners in a ‘day of rage’ against their treatment, banners which carried slogans of freedom, dignity and social justice. After six months of war and a death toll of over 50000 people the country was liberated. Qaddafi left behind a heavy burden in a country whose history, culture and moral fabric were destroyed.  
Immediately after the revolution there was euphoria. Hundreds of organisations sprung up throughout Benghazi and Tripoli. Langhi cofounded the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace to lobby for empowerment of women. In Libya’s first elections in 52 years women won 17.5% of the National Congress seats. Then the excitement faded and the violence began again; the American ambassador was killed one day; another day the news featured a story on the assassination of army officers.
Watching intolerance and hatred become the norm, Langhi felt Libya made the wrong decision. Their elections didn’t bring peace or security, neither did the increased number of women in political power. One of the frequent arguments for including more women in high ranking positions throughout the world is the empathy we bring to roles. Langhi concludes that instead of acting with rage, Libyan society needed to adopt a feminine approach and look instead to acting with compassion and mercy.  


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