By Issraa Murabit.
Zawia, 31 January:
This year’s One Voice conference, held on 26-28 January 2in Tripoli in partnership with numerous other organisations . . .[restrict]focused on the constitution and security.
The closing ceremony of this year’s One Voice had a somewhat unexpected start. With the arrival of the President of the General National Congress, Mohamed Magarief, who had failed to turn up to his previous speaking appointment on the first day of the conference, came unexpected drama.
With no notice, a man who had come in with Magarief’s security guards began shouting at the back of the hall. In an absolutely bizarre turn of events, this 37-year-old man by the name of Ahmed Asswayim from Benghazi began claiming that he had been the one that killed Qaddafi.
And in between interruptions, where he stopped to push away or fight off those trying to get him out of the conference hall, conference participants got to hear his claims of being the unknown Qaddafi killer, interjected by his frustrations at the lack of change, and finally finishing by him telling Magarief, who was standing on stage about to give his speech, that he was another Muammar and he would kill him just like he had killed the first.
In an absolutely absurd and what seemed like a contrived moment, Magarief empahtically and dramatically invited the screaming (and armed) man on stage to come and speak with him. After being held and huddled around for a few moments, the two returned to the microphone hugging and kissing one another on the cheeks.
In a matter of seconds, the man who had been yelling in anger and frustration at Magarief, was now tearing up on stage. The crowd, overwhelmed by the emotion of it all, began to sing the national anthem. Mothers of martyrs came up on stage and hugged Ahmed, praising him for killing Qaddafi. Once the singing was over, teary-eyed women listened to Ahmed as he talked of the lack of praise he had received and the lack of change in Libya over the past two years.
He had been living in the Rixos hotel and people in the Rixos knew who he was and ‘treated’ him accordingly, and that he had been looking for an opportunity to come out with this information, he claimed. He pointed out the man who killed Moatassem Qaddafi, and, absurdly, finished off by talking about how badly he wanted to get married.
Magarief promptly walked off stage with him and seated him at his table, neither addressing the women who were the reason for their attendance – nor giving the women the chance to address him. Once the events of the evening began to progress as normal, more and more women and speakers were coming to the same conclusion, and one which is in no way flattering to the head of the Congress: that it was all staged. That it was a dramatic and planned ploy to get out of actually speaking to and dealing with the citizens he was chosen to lead.
Magarief said he had met the young man two nights earlier, and in a later conversation with the now happy Ahmed he shared that he not only lives at the Rixos but also has a signed and authorised document stating he can carry his weapon wherever he wishes – pulling it out and waving it around, showing the weapon that killed Qaddafi to anyone who would look.
Magarief did not speak to the women and left at the beginning of the ceremony. He stated that “the mood had changed,” as a result of these events, as the reason for not speaking.
A surreal ending to a bizarre night. [/restrict]