GNA’s Culture Authority Nominations for Cultural Attaché Posts Fail Competence Criteria – Al Marsad

Head of the Culture Authority of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Hussein Onis, nominated Naji al-Hajj and Jalal al-Qubei for cultural attachés to Tunisia and Britain, according to a letter he issued on 21 October.

(Libya, 1 December 2020) – The decision referred by Hussein Onis to the GNA’s Foreign Ministry for implementation stipulated the appointment of Naji al-Hajj as a cultural attaché in Tunisia and Jalal al-Qubei in the United Kingdom. 

The position of cultural attaché was a position that used to be filled by prominent cultural and literary figures that had a positive impact in public life. In addition, there have been calls to cancel these external positions with multiple attachés (health, military, cultural, educational, and judicial) and reduce the staff of Libyan missions abroad in general due to the cost and waste of foreign exchange they cause.

In most  countries cultural attachés are selected from among those who possess cultural or literary backgrounds and possess deep familiarity with the cultural and scientific patrimony of their country so that they can be representatives of the best of their nation abroad. It was not meant to be a position for an armed activist whose only achievement to his credit in involvement in supporting, covering, and inciting civil wars and dividing the country.

The appointment of al-Hajj and Jalal al-Qubei sparked a storm of criticism on their lack of qualifications to occupy such positions, especially since al-Qubei, according to those who know him, does not know English for him to be appointed as an attaché in London. He is only an armed blogger, and his only achievement was to cover operations Libya Dawn, Shorouk, al-Bunyan al-Marsous, and Volcano of Anger with his phone camera.

This controversy coincided with another major one what was said to be “lucrative benefits and rewards that Fathi Bashagha paid to several bloggers to support him against his opponents, including against Maitiq, Dbaiba, Sarraj, and the Tripoli Brigades. There was also controversy surrounding the salaries for cultural attachés which are around 10,000 Euros along with a diplomatic passport and bonuses.

Two days’s ago Bashagha held an extensive meeting with several bloggers and armed activists, including Abdul-Malik al-Madani al-Hasnawi, the former spokesman for the Military Information Division  of the Volcano of Anger, who was accused by other pro-Volcano of Anger bloggers of being biased towards Bashagha in exchange rewards.

For his part, Naji al-Hajj defended his candidacy for the position of cultural attaché in Tunisia and that of Jalal al-Qubei in Britain. In a post on his personal Facebook page, he claimed that the Culture Authority renews this position every four years and selects its occupants based on “competence”, and that both him and al-Qubei met the necessary criteria.

The list of potential candidates also includes Omar al-Tira, a well-known traveler who does not show any prejudice, partisanship or political agenda, or loyalty to any foreign country. He has traveled the world in the last 20 years on foot and visited 115 countries in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Naji al-Hajj was quick to brag about being on the same list as list Omar al-Tira, despite the wide difference in achievements between them.

© Al-Marsad English (2020)

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