Our world is often defined by winners and losers. Sports,
politics, prize drawings, lottery, competitions, awards ceremonies,
love, and life - all have winners and losers.
Winning or losing is neither right nor wrong. It just is.
Sometimes winning is due to luck; other times it is a function of
skill; talent often plays a role; then there are times when winning
is a combination of these things and much more. Most people prefer
to win because losing can be a painful, humiliating and lonely
We know that losing is hard. When you have invested time and
energy in something, losing feels very personal. When luck seems to
be the biggest factor, losing can feel like having salt rubbed in a
wound. However, being a winner can be just as difficult. You want
to celebrate and believe you and your abilities are the reasons
behind your victory. You want to be happy and for others to
congratulate you. But when the stakes are high and there is much to
lose, winning can feel like a curse.
In a democracy there are winners and losers too. Understanding
what it is to be a winner and a loser is extremely important if the
democracy is to work. If a winner forgets what it is like to be a
loser, then the democracy can suffer.
This weekend I worked at the Attawasul Youth Conference in
Benghazi. For decades, Libya has been a country where the majority
of its citizens were the losers. At the conference I watched as
multiple generations came together to discuss how to ensure they do
not lose again.
These individuals are just a few of the millions of Libyans
talking about a new Libya. This is their time to be winners and I
wonder what kind of winners they will be? Will they be like the
winners that humiliated them? Or will they learn lessons from the
past? Will they create a strong democracy where the losers can
still walk away with their dignity and a chance to run again?
Can the winners in Libya do so gracefully? I think this is one
of the biggest questions for their future - and only time will
Written by Ethan Ohs, Frontrunner Director
Ethan recently spent five days in Libya working at the Attawasul
Youth Conference. Over three days he worked with a group from
across the Arab world to explore leadership, governance and
democracy. Most of his group were from Libya though he also worked
with participants from the UK, US and Yemen.