By Nafissa Assed.
Tuesday, 1 May:
Libyans began registering today to vote in the June elections for a national assembly, as the Libya . . .[restrict]geared up for its first free polls following the removal of Muammar Qaddafi. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all Libyans for this spectacular day. Happy first registration day for elections! It’s the day Libyans proved they are indeed free to register and vote and that democracy is the foundation for any solution in Libya.
To build an elected and sustainable Libya, free from the injustice and oppression of Qaddafi’s era, every single Libyan whether based in Libya or abroad must contribute and have a say to its transformation. All Libyans must be included in the upcoming elections. We have had too many martyrs, we have bled and suffered too much to revert to the inequality and lack of freedom of the past. We don’t want to go a step back in time anymore, do we?
Today, I was excited and delighted holding my national identity papers in order to go to the registration centre at a Tripoli school in Ben Ashour and register to vote — for the first time in my life — for the June elections. I went around 5:30pm and people who work on the registration institution were very kind and happy every time they saw Libyans entering the centre.
They told me that they have been open since 7am. They showed me the list of people who came to register; I was sorry to discover that they had only ten registered Libyans in their list- knowing today is an official day off in Libya.
Clearly, one of the biggest challenges Libya faces is the need of an awareness campaign about the registration and the election. There are over 1,300 registration centres across Libya for the landmark polls, which will open the door to a new constitution. Yet Libyans may ignore the country’s first registration and free elections if nothing is done to educate them about the process. A Libyan earlier asked me: “What is this card you have?” I couldn’t really tell if he was trying to be funny or he really did not know what this card is about!
Both civilians and the mass media played a tremendous role and part in the revolution of Libya, yet I have not seen most people I’m connected with doing much in the past few weeks about the elections and nothing by the media.
Now is not the time to sit back on the laurels of success. Nothing is yet won and too many evil persons are waiting in the wings to ruin the triumph of the Libyan Revolution of 17 February. Local media must rise up and begin educate Libyans and raise awareness about the importance of registration, the elections and politics.
No Libyan channel is covering the registration for election! I’ve been checking every Libyan channel. All I’ve seen were songs and dull shows. Sadly, our local TV stations don’t know that what’s happening in Libya today is real history!
Every Libyan over the age of 18 has a right to vote. Maybe if there was enough media awareness about the registration and the elections and its importance in the transformation and the forthcoming future of Libya, many Libyans wouldn’t have to be so uninformed over what the simple registration act and elections are all about.
Nafissa Assed writes for numerous blogs and on-line publications. She is a former Libyan exile who was born and brought up in Morocco. Her father returned in 1990 but was murdered by the Qaddafi regime in Libya. After his death she lived with her grandfather, Mohamed Othman Assed, Libya’s prime minister from 17 October 1960 to 19 March 1963. In 2010, she moved to Libya full-time.
After the Libyan revolution started, she wrote anonymously from Tripoli on what was going on inside the country. [/restrict]