Exclusive conversation with Shaaban Hadiya (Abu Obeida): “Returning to Zawiya to participate in Libya stability process”

By Vanessa Tomassini, this interview is available in Italian on “Strumenti Politici“.

“I expect the people of Zawiya to welcome me with kind words and from all its components, military, civil, political, social or media, which are in contact with me and had hoped for my return to participate in the process of stability for Libya and the region. I wish all the best for Zawiya people and I expect to do a good job with them, a job that will benefit our community and Libya in general”. Tell us in this exclusive conversation after years of silence, in a very rare interview, Shabaan Masud Khalifa Hadiya (aka Abu Ubayda al-Zawy) announcing his return to Libya.

Mr Abu Obeida, thank you for accepting this interview. Please help me to introduce yourself

“My name is Shaaban Khalifa Hadiya, born on the 21st of September 1972, married and residing originally in Libya, in Zawiya. I have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Sabha University and a bachelor’s degree in Arabic from Tripoli University and from the Faculty of Shariah in Maliki jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University. I have a master’s degree in heritage at the League of Arab States, a master’s degree in law and sharia at Alexandria University and a doctorate in sharia as well at Alexandria University. And finally in Turkey I got a doctorate in political science. I have some memberships in the charitable field and civil society organizations. I was President of Al-Tawfik Charity Foundation in Al-Zawiya City. I chaired a charity in Istanbul in Turkey. I am also Head of Tedhkar Center for Strategic Studies to Support and Stabilize Libya and Vice President of the Center for Strategic Studies in Libya issues in Bulgaria. I am also a member of the International University Union and a permanent Delegate of the World Organization for Education and Development Sciences of the State of Turkey, a member of the Business Development Association and a member of the International Fund for Relief and Humanitarian Work”.

You are going back to Zawiya after many years. What are your expectations from this visit?

“I expect the people of Zawiya to welcome me with kind words and from all its components, military, civil, political, social or media, which are in contact with me and had hoped for my return to participate in the process of stability for Libya and the region. I expect all the best for Zawiya people and I expect that we will do a good job with them, a job that will benefit the city and Libya in general”.

Why now?

“The city of Zawiya is my city, my hometown, where I have my family, my father and my brothers. When I’m going to Zawiya, I’m going home to my parents and my relatives and it is still my residence. Zawiya witnessed a lot since the revolution and I took over the military council of Zawiya in a certain period of time. I was the head of the Zawiya Revolutionary Battalion and I was the head of rebels Libya, and I consider myself an active element of the city of Zawiya.”

How is the situation inside the city today?

“The situation in Zawiya is complicated, there is no doubt that it is going through many problems and divisions and all these things we have to overcome. There are many divisions and problems occurring between its people and illogical rivalries, and God willing, we will overcome all these difficulties. The city of Zawiya is an important city to Libya and especially for the capital, Tripoli, as it is considered the right wing and the strong wing of the city of Tripoli. People of Zawiya know that and they are aware of their responsibility to maintain it despite the rift and disagreement between them. This will not last and these problems will go away and we ask God to help us to participate in this”.

Which role can play Zawiya in Libya’s future?

“Zawiya is very important for Libya. I do not say that because I am the son of the city, but Zawiya is considered one of the most important cities in Libya and one of the decision-makers in the stability of the Country. One of our most important projects in Zawiya is the reconciliation and reform program among the people. This is our goal, and if we reach a genuine reconciliation among the Libyan people, it means that we are at the beginning of the road to laying the foundations of the State and lifting the suffering of the citizens. Zawiya is one of the best areas that can manage this case. And we hope that this end and goal will be planted in its people. We have special acceptance, and the city can lead the reconciliation project and support it because it is our believe. One of our most important projects now is the project of reform between the people, to raise the suffering of the citizen. This is our belief. Zawiya can lead these files in many areas. Perhaps in the coming days we will play a key-role for reconciliation among all segments of the city, including youth and elders…may God bless all”.

What’s your perception of the current situation in Libya?

“Existing legitimate bodies are difficult to come up with logical solutions to help Libya emerge from the crisis. The problem exists and the situation can deteriorate even further, especially since many of those in charge deal with issues as personal ones. And this handling has led to a lot of crises. As for the outside, they do not have full knowledge of Libya’s reality and the way the Libyan people live. The Libyan people must be taken into account when formulating any reform or political program. All Libyans must unite forces for the success of the next phase in Libya to create solutions that benefit the Libyan situation. Most of the countries that have gone through the same experiences, the first step they have made is to reconcile so that everyone seeks to build the state and that goal is unified and not limited to one person. It is important to expand the circle of participation so that the circle of responsibility also expands”.

What do you think of the reconciliation process?

“The national reconciliation process is an imperative in Libya, but not in the current way, far from taking into account the situation of the people and the specificities of Libyan society. In this way, the process of reconciliation is manifestly flawed. This is the reality of many who have sought reconciliation and have not completed this project, and the reason why is that their method is far from the reality of Libyan society, creating imbalance. This is actually what happened because many people failed in the reconciliation process, and I do not want to doubt their intentions, but the method they used in reconciliation is useless for the Libyan society.  Reconciliation must be among all Libyans regardless of their affiliation. This process is necessary to stabilize Libya. The first step out of the crisis must be a global reconciliation so that the society turns into a tolerant and harmonious system”.

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