Monday, October 3, 2011
Crown Prince - People will build free Libya
Crown prince of Libya: People will build free Libya
30 September 2011, Friday / ALİ SERİM , LONDON
Libya’s Crown Prince Mohammed El Senussi, the grandson of King Idris who was deposed by the Libyan army under the leadership of Muammar Gaddafi in a military coup in 1969, has said that since the Libyan people regained most of the country from Gaddafi’s iron grip and have reclaimed Tripoli as their capital, they will be able to rebuild a free Libya soon.
“That’s an outstanding feat. Libya is finally free and the difficult task of rebuilding our country after 42 years,” he said in London where he currently lives with his family, and hopes one day to be able to travel freely back to Libya.
“I have called upon the National Transitional Council [NTC] to put the freedoms and rights of the Libyan people, especially respecting their choices, at the heart of their thinking,” he said adding that he will be watching how the political scene evolves.
As the dust settles after six months of fighting in Libya, the NTC is now governing Libya after the rebels forced Gaddafi from power. Gaddafi’s whereabouts remain unknown, but the new leaders suspect he is hiding in the southern desert of the North African nation.
In an interview with Today’s Zaman, Mohammed El Sensussi also talked about special ties between Turkey and Libya.
Can you please tell us about the El Senussi Dynasty and its role in Libya’s history?
For more than 200 years the Senussi family has served the country’s people and played a very important role in unifying and defending Libya. In 1951, my great uncle, King Idris El Senussi established modern day Libya under a constitutional monarchy and from 1951 to 1969 Libya prospered in harmony under democracy until Colonel Muammar Gaddafi seized control of the country in a coup. At the time my father, Crown Prince Hassan El Rida El Senussi was acting king whilst his uncle was undergoing medical treatment in Bursa, Turkey. My father was imprisoned and for seven years my family and I were put under house arrest in Tripoli -- which is where I was born and grew up. We were made to suffer by direct orders of Gaddafi. Our house was burnt down in 1984, our family graves and mosque were desecrated and the body of the founder of the Senussi family, Mohammed bin Ali El Senussi, was scattered in the desert. I went to England in 1988 with my family and have been living in exile ever since.
What is life like in exile?
There are many who have suffered much more than me and that is why I have made it my mission to help the Libyan people and have spent more than 20 years working in opposition to Gaddafi’s hateful regime. It has been difficult, of course. I have not been able to return to Libya for more then 20 years. Everyone wants to live in their homeland and as a Libyan my heart will be forever in Libya.
What will happen in Libya? Do you believe that the war will end soon?
If we keep our unity and resolve, I am sure that it will. In just six months the Libyan people regained most of the country from Gaddafi’s iron grip and have reclaimed Tripoli as their capital. That’s an outstanding feat. Libya is finally free and the difficult task of rebuilding our country after 42 years begins now. I have called upon the National Transitional Council to put the freedoms and rights of the Libyan people, especially respecting their choices, at the heart of their thinking and I will watch the evolving political settlement to make sure that they represent the wishes and needs of the Libyan people.
What do you think about the role of Turkey in Libya?
Let’s remember that Turkey and Libya have a very long, common history spanning several hundreds of years. The two great nations have always been strong allies and close friends. Turkey has a very important role to play in Libya. It is a strong, democratic country with a growing economy and we can learn a lot from it. The Turks have taken a keen interest in Libya and in our people and we are grateful for that. They were the first to send medical aid to injured freedom fighters and civilians, and evacuated hundreds of the wounded in a medical ship from Misrata and Benghazi at the height of the conflict to treat and nurse them in Turkey. Turkey has shown support for a new and democratic Libya, and it has frozen Gaddafi’s assets which should now be invested back into Libya and used to re-build the country.
What can Turkey do for Libya?
Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan said in his recent visit to Libya that Turkey will help to build infrastructure and provide aid to the Libyan people who are in need. He has also pledged to rebuild the damaged schools, courthouses and police stations, as well as constructing a new Parliament building for the Libyan people. Turkey has already sent humanitarian aid to Bani Walid with supplies expected to feed around 10,000 people in the city. Turkey pledged $300 million to Libya in July and some of that money will be used to help rebuild the city of Benghazi and its airport. Turkey understands Libya and the Libyan people, and we share a special relationship and a common culture. It’s important to thank Prime Minister Erdoğan and the people of Turkey not only for their support but for their swift action. It will take some time to re-build Libya, but with the unity and resilience of the Libyans themselves and the support of Turkey and the rest of the international community, we will do it.
What do you think about the Turkish political leadership?
Prime Minister Erdoğan is one of the most popular and well respected figures in the Middle East. Turkey has been successful in positioning itself as a world leader and a supporter of those countries emerging from the Arab Spring. Prime Minister Erdoğan showed his commitment to democratizing Arab countries in his recent visit to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. This can only be seen as a positive move.
What is next for Libya?
For Libya to truly represent the wishes of the people we must set in stone their freedoms and choices at the heart of our democracy. We need to provide the people with the ability to choose the government that is right for the country. The right to life must be a fundamental part of our constitution as never again can we allow people to be murdered by the state or be locked up without a fair trial. People should be free to live their lives, in accordance with the rule of law. Every Libyan should receive a decent education and have access to healthcare and no one should ever again have property confiscated by the state. Where homes have been snatched by Gaddafi’s regime and supporters they should be returned or compensation granted. All Libyans must share in the wealth of the country and finally, we must foster a good relationship with our neighboring states and the international community. I will not sleep until we have achieved these peaceful and equitable objectives, and I will stand up and take action if I sense they are being taken away.