Headline, July 13 2022/ ''' '' LIBYA'S STUDENTS LIGHTS '' '''


 LIGHTS '' '''

SHAKING OFF VIOLENCE WITH COMEDY AND BURGERS : After more than a decade of utter violence and conflict, fed-up Libyan students are just clamoring for peace.

Libya's 2011 revolution made rebels into heroes. In the years that came after, as the country splintered into rival political factions and warring regions, many former rebels and new fighters joined armed militias, hoping to defend their hometowns or simply to make a decent living. Militias could pay three times as much as the average salary or more.

It was not only the money that appealed.

When Taha-al-Baskini won a part in a new play about soldiers who reunite after dying in combat, his costume was already in his closet.

His onstage camouflage pants were the same ones he had worn as a militia fighter during Libya's most recent civil war a few years ago, when an airstrike injured Mr. al-Baskini and killed several of his comrades as they defended their city.

''People are sitting and talking to you, and the next moment they're bodies,'' Mr. al-Baskini, 24, whose brother died in the same conflict, said after a recent rehearsal for the play.

''When We Were Alive,'' at the National Theater in Misurata, Libya's third-largest city. ''You never forget when they were smiling and talking just moments before.''

As an actor, ''I try to show reality to the people,'' he went on. ''The message of the play is : ' No more war. ' We've had enough war. We want to taste life, not death.'' To the audience, that message is hardly a tough sell.

After more than a decade of violent chaos - years that saw their country overrun by foreign mercenaries and subjugated by militia whose power made them a law unto themselves - Libyans are clamoring for peace.

The question is whether the country can maintain a brittle truce even as two rival governments and their foreign backers jockey for power, raising fears that Libya is, once again, sliding toward conflict.

To achieve lasting peace, Libya needs not only to find its way out of the current political crisis, but also to demobilise a generation of young men who have grown to knowing little but war.

Misurata, whose powerful militias were key to overthrowing Libya's long time dictator, Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi, during Libya's 2011 Arab Spring revolt, is full of such men.

More than 40 of them mostly veterans of Libya's conflicts - now act at the National Theater, a former meeting hall of Colonel el-Qaddafi's political party. They hope to bring Misurata entertainment, they say, and some semblance of normalcy.

But there's no avoiding the city's damage, physical and psychic alike, onstage.

''I'd rather do something funny to lighten people's moods, instead of reminding them of the friends and brothers they lost,'' said Anwar al-Teer, 49, and actor and former fighter who raised money and put his own earnings toward converting the venue, which city officials were renting out as a wedding hall, into the National's 33-seat theater.

''But the theater is impacted by Libya's reality, even when you don't want to be,'' he said. ''A play is like a mirror reflecting the consciousness of our society, and our society is sick.

At a time when weapons spoke loudest and wearing a militia uniform inspired difference, men took to mimitating the fighters' style, even if they had never fired a shot : driving pickup trucks with blacked-out windows, wearing their beards long, dressing in fatigues.

''They were seen as heroes,'' said Mohammed Ben Nasser, 27, a rising star in Libya's small-but-growing television industry who also acts in ''When We Were Alive.'' ''It was how you got money, power, cars.''

Mr.al-Teer, the theater's owner, has used social cachet to steer young men toward acting instead. Put them on-stage, he says, and their social media likes will pile up. {Women are in the audience, and a few act, but in a country that remains deeply conservative, most of his actors are men.}

''It's like with TikTok,'' he said. ''Everyone wants to get famous.''

Mr. Ben Nasser, the television actor, said he had many friends who had embraced militia culture as teenagers, including many who dropped out of school to join. Now, the trend is waning, and most have gone back to university or into business. A few, seeing his success, have joined him in show business.

''They realized, 'We're fighters, but we have nothing,'' he said. ''They started feeling ashamed of being fighters, because now it's a shame on your family to be a fighter. When they looked at others, they saw you can succeed without being a fighter.''

But recent clashes between militias loyal to Mr. Dheiba and others aligned with the Site-based rival  prime minister, Fathi Bashagha, are a reminder that violence is never far away.

''People are too used to these things,'' said Alaa Abugassa, 32, a dentist ordering a Guns & Buns burger on a recent afternoon. ''It's become a part of their reality. It's the new normal.''

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Libya, Times and Tides, and Students, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Vivian Yee.

With respectful dedication to Leaders, Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of Libya, and then the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society - for every subject in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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