• Michael Padilla-Pagan Pay

Hybrid Approach Social Solidarity-Libya

Earlier this week (June 27, 2017) I wrote a posting that gain some views and traction, so I wanted to continue on this topic.

As Libya continues to be marred with internal conflicts, instability, and unrest, the process for establishing peace and promoting development remains an elusive challenge despite the multiple efforts to erect peace agreements that often dissolve due to opposing parties and conflicting interests. Would there be a path to move away from the conflict and promote social cohesion, integration and ultimately stability and progress? If there is, social solidarity and a coherent cultural framework need to remain at the forefront of its political reconciliation process.

Like many other transitional processes, diversifying a culture can often be a challenge. Though this challenge can be mitigated through the identification of preexisting social norms and paradigms – one that can sustain a new narrative that will enable prosperity and integration. Often, it will mean working on eliminating biases and prejudices that exclude large sections of the population, like women. These reformed value systems should be in place through education and other institutions, that would abide by democratic governance, fair allocation of resources, and an efficient - yet monitored – inclusive distribution of power.

However, the long road toward peace is established far beyond the mere absence of violence. It is the state of affairs that emerges when social solidarity is present within a community and is expressed through all social and governmental institutions, aiming to enable people’s wellbeing, safety, security, mobilization. Consensus, interdependence, and integration are all powerful components of social solidarity that need to be fostered and sustained.

While it might sound simple on paper, the ruthless truth of everyday practice often emerges when one closely examines the indigenous and prominent cultures that continue perpetuating stereotypes and promoting practices that are exclusionary in nature, violent, biased, and distorted in their representation of other social or ethnic groups. Only a hybrid approach that would attempt to merge culture with modern governance practices might prove successful, although it would require the careful study of social dynamics, demographics and social and cultural dynamic systems.

Once such a hybrid approach has been formulated, it can be implemented to the younger generations through schooling, education, and training in order to suppress or eliminate the social and cultural elements that hinder progress and stability. When one addresses the younger generation effectively and established true reciprocal social integration, then a contagion effect occurs to avail room for freedom of ideas, views and values.

The generational gap, as well as the cultural chasms, or even political and feudal debates begin to dissipate and healing and reconciliation efforts become more prominent. Usually, the whole process will require not only intentional efforts, but also sustainable efforts to allow for new social norms to be established and for a new peaceful narrative to become prominent. Resistance is to be expected, not only from individual agents but also from groups and social institutions that will see their influence declining or their message challenged.

Forgiveness and peace, redemption even, may sound attractive in principle; but are quite elusive in practice. Personal, historical, cultural and religious narratives are self-perpetuating and can oppose any attempt to move forward and progress as a community. Even on an individual or familial setting, disputes and hard feelings are often hard to put aside, despite good intentions. Imagine how much harder it might be if one is attempting to work with communities, instead of individuals. On the other hand, narratives of conflict may destroy social solidarity, perpetuate hostilities, hinder progress and eventually lead to open violence. Communities, therefore, need to be gently introduced to new narrative of transitional justice that acknowledge past wrong doings while augmenting the platform to focus on progressive, new attitudes that enable resiliency and sustainability. Libya is currently faced with such a challenge and needs to rise above its tormented reality to remain on the path of true progress, social solidarity, cohesion and integration of all parties, tribes, and demographics. Only then, will the future do justice to the cultural and historical wealth of the people of Libya, leading to a brighter, peaceful, and prosperous future.  


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