By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 27 November:
Elders and political leaders have gathered in Sirte to discuss ways to begin a process of reconciliation . . .[restrict]between Qaddafi loyalists and supporters of the revolution.
A large number, if not the majority of residents still support the former regime in Sirte, which was the birthplace of Muammar Qaddafi.
The extensive meeting was attended by leading local figures including Sirte Local Council chief Ali Dhaw, President of the Elders and Shura (Consultation) Council Sheikh Ajeel Sadiq, along with a number of heads of steering councils in the town.
The meeting focused both on the need to “obtain national unity” and also to “resolve all the differences that exist between members of tribes within the region”.
Both physically and psychologically, the revolution took a particular toll on Sirte, the eventual fall of which in 2011 marked the effective end of the revolution.
During a visit to the town by the Libya Herald for the first anniversary of Qaddafi’s death on 20 October this year, residents spoke openly of their support for the former dictator, expressing their contempt for a revolution which they said had brought nothing but destruction and misery.
The town itself remains a shattered wreck in many quarters, with little to no reconstruction work having yet begun to repair the damage.
Members of the meeting also focused on the need to improve security in Sirte and the surrounding areas, with numerous homicides having taken place there in the past few months.
Feuding between Misratans and locals in Sirte has led to violence and bloodshed that compelled the authorities to impose a curfew last month.
Serious problems also exist with regards to widespread drug and alcohol abuse in Sirte, a problem also found in several other Libyan towns, and this too was a subject of discussion at the meeting. Members complained that too little was being done to bring perpetrators to justice and activate a still-weak judicial system.
The meeting began on Sunday and marks what undoubtedly will be the start of a long and painful process towards achieving reconciliation between Sirte and towns that supported the 2011 revolution. [/restrict]