Justice For Salwa Is Justice For AllWe are determined to build the Libya we have always dreamed of…. We may become disappointed or get let down but we will never give up for Libya – no matter how long the struggle takes. ~The Last Words of Salwa Bugaighis~ ABOUT SALWA ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN BREAKING THE SILENCE: A PLATFORM FOR WOMEN JOIN US
“Salwa was neither carrying a dagger nor a rifle. She was only carrying her gentleness, her calm, her beautiful smile and her courage, which made her indifferent to the Islamic threats for being an unveiled woman, for being a human rights activist, and for being a politician competing with men in a domain that is monopolized by them.” ~ Karama
On June 25, 2014, on a Wednesday morning in Benghazi,Libyans felt a sense of renewed hope as they cast their votes in the second legislative elections in Libya’s turbulent transition, establishing the principle of peaceful transfer of power. This moment proved pivotal in Libya’s history and compelled human rights lawyer Salwa Bugaighis to return to her home in Libya for the occasion, despite the many death threats she’d received and the increasingly chaotic environment intensified by guns, bombs, and discord.
After casting her vote, Salwa posted a picture of herself at the polls on her Facebook page. Her belief in Libya and its future outweighed her sense of fear, and she campaigned ceaselessly throughout the day, as she had nearly all of her life, to advocate for security, peace, democracy, and human rights. Later in the day, she heard gunshots from her home and could see sporadic violence from her window. Despite this, she continued to have hope, encouraging as many as possible to go out and vote: “Please hold on and be patient until eight o’clock,” she wrote. “They will not beat us and they will not thwart Benghazi’s electoral process…Talk to people…call your friends and your family…they must fight peacefully by casting their votes…We are determined to build the Libya we have always dreamed of.”
As evening fell, the risks she had taken in returning to her home proved a reality. A group of five masked and armed men broke into her home and brutally assassinated Salwa. Their goal: silencing her voice and the strength of her message, which was so powerful it had long ago reached men, women and children across Libya, the region, and world.
As the news broke locally and internationally, an outpouring of shock, anger and revulsion at the cowardly and abhorrent act of violence and oppression was coupled with the unbearable grief and heartbreak of the thousands who knew Salwa—whether as a friend, a colleague, a mother, and a wife, or as the symbol of Libya’s brighter future that she’d come to represent, a future Libya characterized by peace, equality, and humanity, where daily life could be lived—by men and women alike—with dignity.
Amidst the grief, it was this legacy that grew stronger and magnetized those who shared the same vision to work even harder to build the Libya that she’d so relentlessly championed. As a lawyer, she campaigned on behalf of political prisoners under the Gaddafi regime. As a member of the National Transitional Council, Salwa led advocacy to lobby for a higher quota for women’s representation in the decision making positions and resigned as a sign of resentment to the exclusion of women. As a cofounder of the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace, she engaged with women and youth leaders in leading civil society initiatives to confront militarization, violent extremism, and terrorism and to ensure an inclusive and just transition to democracy. As the recently appointed deputy head of the National Dialogue Preparatory Council, she pushed for open dialogue, peaceful resolution, and sustained hope in the face of ongoing obstacles. She believed in the right to live without fear and injustice, and fought for this right daily. Salwa refused to give up, and to her last breath, she continued to campaign to ensure that the values of the revolution were not forgotten, but honored and integrated into the very fabric of Libya: from its government and its laws, to the hearts of its citizens.
Salwa Bugaighis brought hope to thousands with her peaceful and driven battle for a better Libya. She understood and fought to increase understanding that women’s rights are inherently entwined with human rights. Our campaign says that Justice for Salwa is Justice for All. It continues her fight, and that of so many others who have suffered and continue their struggle for a world where women among all others are able to exercise their right to life, and their choices to speak, to act and to lead against a life of oppression and violence. But more than that—the fight for a world where there is peace, freedom, security and justice for all.
Watch the interview with Salwa’s son and brother: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGztcUYmdcg
Messages Of Support- Sharing The Vision of A Peaceful Libya
“ We promise Salwa, we will continue to fight for freedom, justice and dignity,
“Mercy instead of revenge, collaboration instead of competition, inclusion instead of exclusion — these are the ideals that a war-torn Libya needs desperately.” ~ Zahra” Langhi, Co-Founder of the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace
“Salwa was neither carrying a dagger nor a rifle. She was only carrying her gentleness, her calm, her beautiful smile and her courage which made her indifferent to the Islamic currents threats for being an unveiled woman and for being a human rights activist defending human rights, and for being a politician competing with men in a domain that is monopolized by them. Salwa believed that dialogue, peaceful solution and the practice of democracy as a free podium through which parties can communicate was the only way for a free and democratic Libya. With you gone, a vibrant voice faded away.~ Karama Team.
“We shall proceed as you did Salwa on the same course until your dream and ours come true, as well as the dream of the human rights activists and the dream of the Karama Organization.” ~ Ali Al-Dailami, Yemen
“I have known Salwa for a short period of time and I felt that she was very close, because we share the same cause…. the hands of darkness will not silence us, on the contrary they shall make even stronger.” ~ Fatima Zohra Al Chaoui, Morocco
“Salwa truly made a mark on me. In the short period of time I know Salwa, she meant three important things to me: cultivating the intellectual mind, committing to a cause and loving her country Libya with a passion. As we all must move on, we survey the dearest collective project of our generation – the great project of women’s rights and to remake our nation. Salwa believed that exercising one’s right to vote is a step towards democracy.. and so be it.” ~ Indai Sajor , Philippines
“WE ARE ALL SALWA. Women will not be silent.” ~ Maya Morsy, Egypt
“It is with much pain and grief that we have received this sad news. It is a a great loss not only for Libya, but also for the entire Arab world.” ~ Rony Abou Daher, Lebanon