Speech of Prince Mohammed El Senussi to the Libyan nation on the 65th anniversary of Libyan Independence.
London, 24th December 2016
In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Most Merciful
Prayer and peace be upon the Prophet Mohammed, His family and His companions
My dear Libyan people, peace be upon you all,
Today we celebrate the anniversary of our independence. One of the most important milestones in our modern history. On this day, the 24th December 1951, King Mohammed Idris El Senussi (may Allah bless him), announced from the balcony of al-Manar palace that our country, Libya, had become an independent nation. According to the UN resolution of 21st November 1951, Libya became an independent state with full sovereignty. This independence was backed by the provisions of the Libyan Constitution of the 7th October 1951 that was agreed and issued by the General National Assembly of the UN and a committee from the three regions of Libya: Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan.
It was the first time in history that the newly formed country of Libya became an independent state. Prior to that, what we know as Libya today, had been different parts of different governing regimes. For example, during the period before independence, Libya had been occupied by colonial forces.
When we look back at our independence, we remember how difficult it was to attain it. Libyans were facing very challenging conditions after World War II. They lacked resources and a large proportion of Libyans was living in poverty. We were facing national and international crises. But our people were resilient. They knew what was needed to build their country. They supported their wise leadership and worked together to achieve what our martyrs had hoped for: freedom, dignity and independence.
Then came the the military coup. That regime did everything it could to manipulate our people. It used media and propaganda, it corrupted our education curricula in schools and universities, it spread destructive ideas and thoughts among our students and our youth. Our society is still suffering the effects of these misguided policies. That regime destroyed the legacy of our forefathers.
My dear Libyan people, our dear King Mohammed Idris el Mehdi El Senussi, used to say his famous words: “It is easy to achieve independence. It is much harder to keep it.”
Unfortunately, due to very difficult events, we have failed to keep our independence. The military coup in 1969 seized our independence and suspended the Constitution. A small minority from our army decided to hijack what our ancestors achieved over many years. They destroyed our country and the core values that our society had been built on. Our forefathers were “succeeded by generations who lost all [thought of] prayer and followed [but] their own lusts”. Hence, Allah Almighty destroyed them in a historic popular uprising. It started on February 2011 in the great city of Benghazi, and spread all over Libya. The uprising succeeded in overthrowing the tyranny.
Today, after five years, we find ourselves at another turning point. We have to look to understand the real reasons for the current fighting and turmoil between our brothers. We need to know that we must live in our country in peace and under the sovereignty of our Constitution, the Law and a just government. We have all to be aware of the dangers surrounding our country and we have to come together to protect the nation. It is time to unite and follow in the footsteps of our forefathers who established this country. In this way we can build Libya again and achieve what all Libyans wish for: peace, security, development and stability.
We have to solve our problems with our own hands. We cannot rely or depend on others as others will not have mercy towards us and will not look after our well-being and safety. Outsiders have their own agendas and interests which differ from our interests and objectives. Our politicians should not make mistakes that will lead Libya into danger. They have to shoulder their responsibility, as our ancestors shouldered theirs and saved Libya from many disasters and problems over the 18 years after Libyan independence. During those 18 years Libya and Libyans enjoyed stability and security and deployed successful national development programmes, especially after they were able to sell oil between 1961 to 1969.
I have followed with great sadness the painful events we have faced over the past decades and the events over the past 5 years. We have to learn lessons from these events and know the real reasons why we have faced calamities that have hit every village and every city in our beloved country, and affected every single citizen. We have a responsibility as citizens to be aware of these dangers and to void them and their destructive effects. We all have to come together, hand in hand, to protect our national, religious and moral values. We have to preserve our heritage and respect the memory of our ancestors who gave us our independence. We learnt from them the goodness and the love of our homeland. Let us follow this principle: none of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.
My dear Libyan people, I am aware of the calls for the restoration of the Constitution of Independence and to return Libya to its origins; that is the Constitutional Monarchy that was in place before the military coup of 1969. This Constitutional Monarchy, which has been seen by many as a way to restore safety, security and just parliamentary governance is based on respect for the Constitution and the Law. It is also based on the peaceful transfer of power through free elections that sustain responsible and capable political leadership. This Constitutional Monarchy establishes a fair and just democratic system and protects the rights and the duties of our citizens.
According to my principles, as you all know from my previous announcements, I would like to state again today that I am always ready to serve my country and my people whenever they ask. It is an honour to do so. But, I cannot do this unless there is a national consensus. Only Libyans have the right to bring about such a consensus. This consensus will bring stability and be able to deliver the objectives of our people. Libyans have suffered enough and it is now time for them to find some relief and focus on building the foundations of a bright future for themselves and for their children.
We ask Allah Almighty to have mercy on our founding father the pious King Mohammed Idris El Mehdi El Senussi, and his friends and companions, great people who have passed away like him. May Allah Almighty have a mercy on the souls of those who gave their lives for the sake of the independence and freedom of our country.
May Allah Almighty save and protect our country. I wish all my dear Libyans love, security and safety.
Peace be upon you all,
Mohammed El Senussi
24 December 2016