Tribalism Holds Everyone Back

By Padraig O'Hannelly.

The late Christopher Hitchens once wrote in Vanity Fair:

"There is almost no country in Africa where it is not essential to know to which tribe, or which subgroup of which tribe, the president belongs.

"From this single piece of information you can trace the lines of patronage and allegiance that define the state."

Although writing nearly 20 years ago, and referring more to sub-Saharan Africa, his comments could apply to Libya today.

True, the GNC, its President, and the cabinet represent of a wide spectrum of society, but still the most important piece of information to be known about any official is not his ability, experience, or policy, but the tribe to which he belongs.

This mentality continues to tear the country apart.

Problems large and small can be traced back to tribal frictions, from the billions lost in oil revenues to the fact that it's becoming harder to buy a cup of coffee in Tripoli, due to the lack of water and electricity.

Imagine what Libya could achieve if people looked beyond their tribal interests and worked together.

3 Responses to Tribalism Holds Everyone Back

  1. Anthony Petruzzi 10th September 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    Since the Libyan people are such football fanatics, maybe if a football analogy was used, members in power both in and outside of the government would understand the major issues that are causing Libya to be unsuccessful, read non-supportive to all of the Libyan people.
    Since the revolution, the power brokers have been dribbling the ball back and forth in front of the goal. Sometimes they have moved towards the goal, but since they went at it alone, two or three defenders got in their way and they lost the ball (their job) or quit the team in a pout because everyone would not see things their way.
    Football is a team sport, as is running a country. Until everyone recognizes that the only way to score (meet the needs of all Libyans) is to play as a team and forget about egos, tribal affiliations, religious memberships, small ethnic groups, etc. Libya will not take care of all Libyans and Libya will not rise to prominence in Africa and the World.

  2. saraj 11th September 2013 at 11:27 am #

    A country does not need to know what is his tribute president but a home of trust that works for its people

  3. Tony Bullard 3rd October 2013 at 7:52 am #

    I have worked in Iraq and Afghanistan and now work in Chad i tried this out on my staff, no one knew what the presidents foreign or domestic policy was but they all knew what tribe he belonged to

Leave a Reply