Article: Amazigh Minorities from Libya in Tunisia during the 2011–2012 Uprisings

Hoffman, Katherine. Navigating the Border: Amazigh Minorities from Libya in Tunisia during the 2011-2012 Uprisings. Mobility and Minorities in Africa (May 2018): 149-171.

After the Tunisian popular revolution of 2011, and during the civil war in Libya that followed, roadside stands near the Tunisian–Libyan bor- der near Remada, Tunisia sold nationalist souvenirs of the revolution with the reinstated Libyan flag (first flown from 1951 to 1969) as well as the Tunisian flag1. Post–independence governments in North Africa have been deeply invested in enforcing the borders they inherited from colonial regimes. Even when borders «were originally “artificial” creations, they have long since become an integral part of the lives of borderlanders. . . borders have an impact on social identities and have come to “demarcate mental space”» (Nugent and Asiwaju 1996, p. 10 in Lentz 2003, p. 274). International borders, for many people, are deeply meaningful and naturalized through socialization in school lessons, bureaucratic administrative procedures, economic systems, and even children’s play. In refugee camps and shelters on the Tunisian side of the border, Libyan children made homemade flags to decorate their temporary dwelling spaces. While «borders and borderlands define ourselves and others» (Lloyd et al 2010, p. 703 and Paasi 2003), a border in and of itself means nothing without human mediation, notably in the dual forms of policing and narration. As I explain in this article, during the first years of the Libyan civil war, the selves and others people were mediating were not only national — Tunisian and Libyan — but also ethnic: minority Amazigh (Berber) and majority Arab.

Article: The Everyday Politics of Reclaiming the Disappeared in Libya

Zarrugh, Amina. ‘You Exile them in their Own Countries’: The Everyday Politics of Reclaiming the Disappeared in Libya. Middle East Critique 27(3), pp. 247–259.

Located in Libya’s capital city of Tripoli, Abū Salīm Prison has become suspended in Libya’s national collective memory as the site of a contested prison killing in 1996. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the prison hosted many prisoners of conscience, namely individuals who forcibly had been disappeared because security personnel suspected them of opposing the regime of Mu’amar Qadhdhafi. Drawing on interviews with their family members, I trace how Libyan families contested the state’s violence and forced disappearance through everyday behaviors, such as inquiring about their relatives’ whereabouts and visiting Abū Salīm Prison. The article contributes to an ongoing discussion within sociology, anthropology, and area studies about the significance of small-scale acts of resistance as forms of political action. Disappearance not only pulled people apart, but also brought them together, often around the same spaces that were intended to disenfranchise them.

A Bibliography of Libyan Sociologists

As a research aid, the Libyan sociologist Mustafa al-Tir (مصتفى عمر التير) published a bilingual English-Arabic bio-bibliography of sociologists and anthropologists in Libya in the early 1980s. In it, he writes:

“Producing bibliographies and indexes, whether general or specialised, is an important concern of those organising or propagating knowledge in society…Bibliographies and indexes are, of course, essential for the development of scientific research…

I have noticed on more than one occasion that many Libyan planners and scholars ignore sociological studies which have been carried out in their own society…and that some planners seek the help of specialised experts in social sciences from abroad while native experts, no less competent and probably much more so, because of their knowledge of the language, values and systems of this society, are available…The wrong lies in their complete negligence of the works of their native colleagues.

I believe that the negligence on the part of many students, planners and specialists of the works of Libyan researchers in social sciences is due, partly at least, to their failure to recognise the availability of local experience and their ignorance of the works of Libyan researchers.”

Attir, Mustafa O. 1980(?). The Libyan Sociologists, anthropologists and social works and their scientific research. Arab Development Institute: Tripoli.

 مصتفى عمر التير. 1980. المتخصصون الليبيون في علوم الاجتماع و الانسان و الخدمة الاجتماعية و نشاطهم العلمي. معهد الانماء العربي: طرابلس

A PDF of the work can be found here.