Tawargha - Ten years of diaspora!
At stagnant piece of mud and prominent scrap pieces, cold tents for the Tawargha families settle inside the airport road camp south of the capital Tripoli.
Here, nearly years have passed since the town of Tawargha in northwestern Libya "which is mostly black" was evacuated, which is located close to the city of Misrata, which they have had a troubled relationship since the outbreak of the revolution
Today, more than 370 families live in this camp, which is the largest camp in western Tripoli, where there are more than 12,000 Tawarghans in other camps in the Libyan west, and more than 16,000 people living in the eastern areas. There are no exact figures for the families who were able to enter and return to and settle in the outskirts of Tawargha.
The cities of Misrata and Tawargha have been related by family ties for many decades. Despite the disparity of the tribal and clan powers of the two cities, the fact that the city of Misrata was famous as an industrial power in Libya, and it has priority in decision-making in the country, yet the Tawarghans were very close in commercial and knowledge cooperation with Misrata.
At the same time, the state of racism and the inferior view of the Tawarghans cannot be overlooked as being (black) and pursuing them, the fast of enslavement, negroism and the constantly harsh history. This has increased the social gap between the two cities, contributed to further marginalization of Tawargha residents, as well as prevented them from reaching decision-making positions before the February revolution.
After the revolution, some members of the Tawarghi community were part of Gadhafi's targeted brigades for the city of Misrata, which was attacked at the beginning of the events of 2011. These brigades did not hesitate to enter the city and commit humanitarian crimes against its inhabitants. A large number of "Tawargha volunteers" were accused at the time of contributing to honor crimes and rape against dozens of women from the city, putting the two cities' relationship to the test.
Because of the war between the two sides at the time, some families were forced to leave for less conflicting areas, while others suffered forced displacement by armed brigades of Misrata, which saw Tawargha as a hostile city and a contribution to war crimes against cities counted on the February 17 uprising. The cruel exodus of Tawarghans from major cities such as Tripoli, Benghazi and Sabha began towards remote surrounding towns and villages.
"According to UNHCR, the total number of displaced people of Tawargha was estimated at 40,000, or 8,500 head of households, systematically distributed to four major camps in Tripoli (Airport Road Camp, Al-Falah Camp 1 and 2, Sidi Al-Sayeh camp and Janzor camp). The airport road camp is the largest, which has been the target of numerous attacks by armed actors. In the eastern region, the Tawarghi community is divided into two large camps (Al-Riyadiya City Camp, ambulance and rapid response Camp of the Red Crescent), and another about 20 kilometers from Benghazi (Al-Halis camp), while more than 470 families are within more than 60 schools and vacant buildings."
There are also many micro-camps that are changing according to the nature of the political changes on the ground. The displacement of the Tawarghans is a situation that is changing depending on areas of stability or re-conflict, and the re-emergence of attacks from unspecified destinations, forcing displaced persons to change their places of displacement many times due to lack of services, or lack of employment and living opportunities.
Although many cities were displaced for political reasons, they were "temporary" such as the displaced of "Al-Mashashia, Kikla, Warshfana and Awbari". However, their situation was resolved through local, tribal and international authorities that contributed to the restoration of stability and their return to their cities. But despite the signing of the reconciliation agreement in 2018, which was a gesture of reuniting displaced families and returning to their city, Tawargha faced many difficulties and challenges, such as ensuring justice for both parties and applying fair law mechanisms to criminals.
Today, some families have tried to reach the outskirts of the city and some of its neighborhoods and housing there despite the lack of services and infrastructure, as well as the great destruction of the city, which prevented the population from continuing to live there, because they are completely unable to repair the destruction and destruction of their homes.
Six years of darkness!
Within the walls of a 2*2-meter cell, eight people spend their day inside in total darkness, where the smells of blood, urine and the breath of the human beings who preceded them and those who would follow them later mingle. "The author of the story" refused to mention his name, fearing that he would be pursued and threatened again, after being unjustly detained there for six consecutive years.
We met Youssef Khair, 42, in Al-Riyadiya camp in Benghazi. A Tawarghi man barely stands on his slender legs on a crutch after surviving the inevitable death inside the prison cell. Youssef recounts his years in prison unjustly lost his life and suffered severe torture that left prominent effects on his entire body, and other effects on his mental health. To this day, Youssef suffers from the pain (iron pins) that have been implanted in his body throughout the detention period, which has lost him the ability to feel his left foot after being stuck for four consecutive days on a window in which he was stripped of his clothes without food or drink.
"Because I am a black Tawarghi, I was charged with rape without investigating or producing any evidence. I have not been subjected to a single trial for six years in which I have been detained, where torture was uninterrupted day and night, and affects individuals and groups alike. We couldn't get a break even for one night of torture. Even the food was just a simple bite that wasn't enough for even the children."
The severity of the torture, beatings and burning, Youssef loses his penis as well. On top of his physical and psychological suffering that he carries with him after his release, his wife decided to separate and abandon him despite his desperate need for her. Today, Youssef still lives inside the camp without a clear and sustainable source of livelihood. His health and physical structure do not allow him to work or even move. Even the organizations and government agencies he intended to help him with treatment inside or outside Libya have not provided him with any significant assistance.
"Neither the body can do anything, nor a wife who supports me in this malaise."
In the midst of all this atmosphere of trouble and cruelty, suffering was not only limited to men, but also to women who bore a double economic, social and psychological burden. The displacement has left many women more responsible for securing a living for their families and children.
"The women were strong in the challenge we went through."
Between racism, discrimination and the bitterness of living, which 46-year-old Amal Barka tasted during her exodus, walking 70 kilometers from Tawargha to the Heisha area to the camp in Tripoli, her mental state worsened to such an extent that she was unable to leave the camp for three consecutive months. It was only broken by the need to work and earn a living in order to survive a hard life.
Here she explains how much burden was on the women who had been given difficult responsibilities during the journey of displacement, as they had to go out to work and help their families, "the man's exit was not available at the time, because any man from Tawargha would have been arrested directly if he saw him." So the woman who was going out and serving the family need. Although she was not spared challenges, insults and blackmail, "the Tawarghans woman was strong and endured the great difficulties of securing a living for her and her family".
Amal then went out to work outside the camp in a private clinic for four months, after which she decided to devote most of her time to serving the cause of the Tawarghans, until she started a small business whose revenues would provide the possibility of supporting The Tawarghan families and supporting the institution she runs in their activities to bring peace between the two cities.
She says, "The role of women has not only stopped there during displacement, but has also extended to managing the crisis with Misrata, and there are even some local institutions, in partnership with some other human rights organizations, that are keen to launch activities and activities involving Misratans and Tawarghans women to advocate peaceful coexistence, renounce violence, hatred and bring peace between the two cities."
Camps: A fertile harasser's environment!
The fragility of the living situation inside the camp gives way to harassment targeting women wherever they are found. Shared facilities such as bathrooms, drinking and transportation facilities and daily needs place women in daily contact with men, which does not guarantee a safe environment , at least in part, for their bodies and mental health.
Here, Mr. Emad Quwaya, founder of Youth for Tawarghans, talks about the experiences of women and the life of the camp, where he was able to observe the number of violations these women are subjected to, without realizing their legitimate right to report or file complaints against those who carry out such unlawful acts. He says:
"Women are vulnerable in such situations. "Let alone if these women are displaced, i.e. their sensitive situation does not allow them to cause unrest, unfortunately these criminals are given permission to continue to do such unacceptable behavior."
He continues: "The camp can be imagined as a public place or an old corporate headquarters, with a common corridor for large families and a small area for smaller families or grooms. It is an open and unsafe area. The armed forces that controlled the area even contributed to the aggravation of unresolved problems. "Often there are armed clashes in front of the camp and no one can say a word."
All these factors have made the camps a convenient environment for the harasser. The harasser sees women as too modest, confused and distrustful of themselves. Therefore, he is using all of this to reach his goal. Today, many families have left the difficult and harsh (camp environment) towards other more difficult and harsh areas and cities, with the aim of avoiding problems of honor and shame.
Although the return was the fate of the Tawarghans from the very first moment of displacement, the return route was not furnished with flowers; During their return, they were confronted by military battalions they had to stay in the Area (Qrart Alqatf) on the Tawargha border for eight consecutive months, after which they were able to return to Tawargha after the issuance of the social pact between the two cities in 2018.
After the signing of the reconciliation and the decision to return, some families were able to return to Tawargha, where an estimated 700 families were estimated to be returning today. A large number have not yet been able to return, owing to the devastation in the stricken city in terms of infrastructure, poor services and livelihoods, the absence of jobs and the difficulty of earning a living, making return another challenge forced to force the people of Tawargha, who are still living in and out of Libya to this day.
See between the two cities
We traveled away from the camps and returned to the camps Through a live documentary photographic trip that "Muhammad Mosli" takes on from the city of Misrata, during which he documents scenes from the Tawarghi community, highlighting a vast visual and human space, highlighting what this particular group is going through today. Muhammad Mosli is a documentary filmmaker and photographer who chose to experience documenting the stories of internally displaced persons and incorporating peaceful concepts through these stories.
"Although I am from Misrata, I am in solidarity with the Tawargha case, and people knows me inside Misrata, and understand my position well."
Anyone with prior knowledge of the sensitive relationship between the two cities is well aware that talking about the Tawargha case in public is not easy. Let alone to advocate and defend it, which puts Muhammad in the face of great questions from the people of his city. Many of the city's leaders and elders, as well as some of his relatives and family, are wondering about this sympathy!
"We are the ones who make change at this sensitive time, because the situation cannot tolerate new conflicts and wars." Muhammad said, Documenting the treaties and agreements of reconciliation and peace between the two cities is very important at this particular time, to allow the displaced to rest and return to their city. This suffering must end, and everyone must be aware of the importance of spreading positive messages for the benefit of the parties.
Mosli has been following the movement of the Tawargha from the beginning, He did not leave any camp he did not visit and observed the troubled situation of the people there. He documented their unfortunate stories and tales with pictures and videos, as he supported their right to safe access to their city and strengthened his relationship with those he called those who wanted peace and restore the good relations between the two cities as before.
Finally, Mosli does not hesitate to contribute to the documentation of the culture and arts of the Tawargha society, which is still alive from his point of view, despite the displacement, the diaspora and the tragic situation.
Today, 10 years after the revolution, and in the face of ongoing political conflicts and partisan conflicts that have exacerbated the problem of internally displaced persons, none of the successive governments have offered real and radical solutions to them. It has not even contributed to the total reconstruction of destroyed cities. To date, many have not been able to access education and health services in their cities, following major disruptions to the displaced and displaced persons.
Mr. Abdul Rahman Shakshak, chairman of the Tawargha Municipal Council in the Western Region, states that despite the weak potential and the country's unstable situation, the council has succeeded in restoring some of the city's buildings and administrative headquarters, such as the university building and police stations, as well as connecting water and electricity networks again.
"Many have contributed to the politicization of the Tawargha case. It was not in their interest to restore consensus and reconciliation between the two cities."
Mr. Shakshak also expressed his full satisfaction with the security situation in Tawargha and denied any problems currently occurring between the residents of the two cities. He even explained that the Misrata City Council helped secure Tawargha and the gradual return of residents. At a time when he sees the real dilemma for him today is the crisis of disrupting the granting of rewarding compensation to families, so that they can return full and maintain their homes and property.
The Tawarghans case remains a thorny issue with countless social and psychological dimensions, reflecting its dark shadow over an entire generation. Even after the restoration of peace between the two cities, many have painful memories and painful pains, and their deep and deep scars will not be treated for the length of time.