Living in the Margins
This chapter focuses on Libya’s Tebu community during Libya’s 2011 revolution. Told mainly through the voices of Tebu military and civil leaders, it describes Tebu origins and livelihood, their systematic discrimination under Qadhafi, and involvement in the Libya-Chad war. It argues that Qadhafi’s manipulation of the Tebu during the latter, and their migration between Libya, Chad and Niger left the Tebu alternately participating in, and alienated from, the state, noting that the young Tebu activists and soldiers of those years became Tebu leaders and commanders in 2011. It follows the Tebu’s battle against Qadhafi in 2011 and their role in the revolution in Libya’s south. The chapter then contrasts this narrative with the post-revolutionary communal conflicts between Tebu and Arab tribes in the south; the Tebu’s ongoing struggle over citizenship, social welfare, illiteracy and racism; and the conflicts created by population explosion and competition in oasis towns over smuggling income and agricultural resources, arguing that these issues have estranged the Tebu from their revolutionary allies as much as from Qadhafi’s government.
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