Benghazi, from The Civil War to A Reconstruction Plan

Conversation with the director of the Benghazi Salam Center, Faraj Najem, on Benghazi reconstruction plan, recently approved by the Municipality and presented on June 17.

On the occasion of my field research in Cyrenaica and presentation of my work on the intertwined histories of the agricultural colonization of Sicily and Libya at the Benghazi Salam Center on June 22, I interviewed the director of the center and Professor of Governance at the University of Benghazi Faraj Najem.

I’d like to begin this conversation trying to summarize the most important moments and reasons of the 2014 civil war, and I would like to do so precisely from the spatial location in which we find ourselves, that is, from the point of view of the city of Benghazi, from its representative buildings and urban areas. So, maybe a good starting point could be the Al Da’waa al-Islamiya building, in 2014 transformed from its original commercial function and turned into the new Libyan Parliament. In my understanding of the war, this “adaptive reuse” speaks about a nodal point in the conflict, that is, about Cyrenaica’s request of a spatial division or distribution of the executive and legislative powers between Tripoli and Benghazi, right? Is this division of powers between the two cities the core of Benghazi’s proposal of a federal unity between the two regions? Furthermore, Libya’s 1951 Constitution and 1963 Amended Constitution provided for two capitals, right?

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