Cultural festival of peace held in Sibrata, Libya

North Africa

In the city of Sibrata in Libya, locals held a peace-festival to present their city's folk traditions. Poem recitals and horse-riding were among the several activities to take place at the festival.

In the city of Sibrata, 70 km from the Libyan capital, Tripoli, locals have organised a two-day Festival of Peace, celebrating their overcoming of past experiences. The festival included many folkloric activities such as poetry, dance, and a horse show which celebrates the city’s tribal heritage.

“This festival is wonderful, and the most important shows are the popular equestrian and poetry ones”, said a resident who attended the festival. “A group of popular poets have brought joy and pleasure to our people who have participated.”

Furthermore, the festival also saw the arrival of horsemen from local tribes, who came together with the city people to present a show of unity amongst the residents of Sibrata.

“Horsemen [from local tribes] have participated along with the people and tribes of Sibrata,” said another local

According to the locals, at the root of this festival is a celebration of the security forces of Libya, who helped in the liberation of the city in October 2017.

“The slogans of the festival are ‘Together for the homeland’ and ‘Yes to the army and yes to the police,’” said the resident.

Following the conflicts that have affected Libya, the city of Sibrata became notorious for migrant smuggling to Europe. During this period, various militias and armed groups controlled the city, destroying much of the city’s cultural and archaeological heritage.

However, since its recapture by the Government of National Accord (GNA), the UN-backed government based in the capital city of Tripoli, residents and officials are trying to restore their city’s culture and heritage. Despite the GNA’s control of the city, the city still faces threats from armed groups led by the Anas al Dabashi Brigade (also known as Amo or Amou), who periodically attack the city, only to be repelled by the controlling forces.

Historically, the city of Sibrata is amongst three ancient Greco-Roman sites, which make up the Roman Tripolis region included in UNESCO’s list of Heritage Sites.

These celebrations of the city’s cultural heritage and unity show that despite all the problems that Sibrata faces, the residents remain steadfast and hopeful for a brighter future.