Our miserable life in Libya


Our miserable life in Libya

Mustafa Fetouri |  Friday 21 July 2017

In Tripoli people queue at Bank for money [Photo: Social Media]

To say the lives of Libyans since their so called revolution in 2011 has been all but an uphill struggle against, sometimes, the impossible is an understatement! Life in Libya has been tremendously reduced to daily suffering despite the wealth of the country and when you recall how easy it was before 2011 you really miss the country you used to live in and of course miss the guy who used to keep it going so easy for the majority of people. Today’s Libya is a little bit of Somalia, Iraq, and Yemen combined together however differently.

This is a recent look at life in the capital Tripoli where it should much easier than in interior of the country where things are much worse.

Just imagine spending between 7 and 9 hours on average everyday without electricity while the average temperature is 40 degrees Celsius and humidity standing at around 60% or higher in the summer! On top of that you go to the bank maybe twice a week to get some money and after waiting for hours in the scorching Tripoli sun you are told there is none! It’s your money but still, you can not have it because banks are short of liquidity as they have been for the last year or so. Whatever cash they get they struggle to distribute to as many people as possible so no one gets enough which means you never get the exact amount you need; sometimes so desperately!

Assume that something goes wrong with your kitchen sink so you contact the plumber to come and fix it. He demands cash payment – most likely he is an illegal worker with no bank account. You let the sink dribbles on as you think of saving whatever cash you have for something more important in a country where cash dominates the economy so every payment is made in cash!

Lately some shops started accepting payment cards and checks but only at 30% higher than the cash price and sometimes even higher hike in prices. You demand an explanation from the grocery or any other shopkeeper and his answer is usually this: unfortunately, this is what we have and if you do not like it we can not do anything about it! Unless of course he knows you and trusts you enough to accept checks. But how many people will he know and trust?

If you are having a bad day and end up seeking medical help your problems will only multiply. You go a public hospital seeking treatment but you only find a doctor who sees you after waiting for at least two hours. You are lucky if you only walk away with simple prescription however it will cost you a great deal of cash! remember the cash is a red line for you not for medicine though! And Remember that before the 2011 revolution you as a Libyan used to get a medical checkup and the medicine at half price or completely free at any public hospital.

If you really have a bad luck your condition will require serious medical intervention. Because all public hospitals which used to treat people for free are almost desert and lacking the basic things such as simple injection, simple pain killers and of course electricity in most of them.

If the doctor decides that you have to have an operation then be ready for a long list of shopping! Yes medical shopping if you like. The respected doctor will give you a list of the things he needs for your operation and you have to go to the medical supplies shop (all private) and buy everything the doctor needs! This will bring you back to the issue of cash again! You could have gone to a private clinic (most of them illegally operating) but the cost is prohibitive! At least in the public hospital, the doctor will operate on you free of charge however at his own convenience!

In case things get worse and you are advised to seek medical treatment abroad then you are going through hell itself.

First, you have very little choices as where to go since all European countries require visas and to get one you have to spend a huge sum in cash again to get the visa, travel to Tunisia at least once since there are no EU embassies in Libya. You need much more cash to actually travel for your medical treatment. So Europe is out of the question and you are left only with three choices Egypt, Jordan or Tunisia; the only three countries where visas are not prerequisite as you can get them on arrival except for Tunisia where no visa is required.

Then you have to think about the financial side of things. To go abroad for medical treatment means you would need at least five thousand USD. To get such a figure nowadays in Libya you would need to buy it at the black market at the prevailing rate. For the last nine months or so the Libyan dinar has devalued against all other currencies. You are lucky if you can get the five thousand figure for, say, 42 thousand Libyan dinars! Recall here again the chronical cash problem and of course that the average income in Libya is about 500 LYD or about 60 USD. Before the “revolution” it income averaged around USD 300 while the exchange rate was around 1.3 LYD to the dollar. At the same time, you used to buy almost everything at subsidized prices supported by the government including hard currency for serious matters like medical treatment abroad.

This depreciation of the Libyan Dinar has led to a multitude of other problems. Prices of daily consumer goods have increased by some 200% and in some cases by 500% in less than five months in 2017 while some goods are no longer available because their prices have become so high that shop keepers do not sell them anymore. For example, it is very difficult to find certain shaving creams or plates just as it is so difficult to find after shave or good sun classes, reasonable perfume or shampoo. A one-liter bottle of olive oil costs around 15 LYD while a good suite would cost you around 1500 LYD and nice shoes should be available for 400 LYD so people learned to go without such things. One baguette now costs 5 times what it used to be six years ago while one kilo of fresh meat costs three times what it used to be then. Bread is the staple of the day for every family.

As a Libyan you are likely to remember as a distant memory the time, just before six years, when USD=1.3 LYD and in the case of medical needs you are likely to get it cheaper from the central bank in case your condition does not meet the criteria for free medical treatment abroad! Bread used to cost less than 10 LYD cents.

So no wonder that many people who had to go abroad for medical emergencies had to sell their cars and sometimes their homes to have enough cash for their treat. No wonder very few Libyans travel for medical treatment let alone for leisure!

The other day a friend commented to me by saying “if you get sick pray to God that it is a simple matter or if not then pray that you die quickly as the longer you are sick the more ruins you will bring to yourself and your family!”

No one seems to have any answer to why our lives have become so difficult.

Yet we still have three governments, two parliaments, one State Council, two prime ministers, so many ministers, and even more political parties.

One of our prime ministers just called for a new election for next March while the other said no! I have yet to find a single Libya who really cares about elections anymore as everyone is busy solving at least two problems every day and none of them is easily solved!

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Saif Al-Islam accuses Abubakr Buera of defamation; case to be heard in Tobruk


Saif Al-Islam accuses Abubakr Buera of defamation; case to be heard in Tobruk

 

By Ajnadin Mustafa.

Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper has claimed that Saif Qaddafi will be tried in Libya next month, free from any ICC involvement.

Saif Al-Islam (file photo)

Cairo, 10 September 2017:

Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi has filed a lawsuit against prominent House of Representatives (HoR) member Abubakr Buera accusing him of defamation in relation to postgraduate degree from the London School of Economics. Tobruk district court has accepted the case put forward by Saif’s lawyer Khalid Al-Zaidi, and has set a date of 16 October for a hearing.

The claim that Buera defamed Saif was presented by Zaidi after the Benghazi HoR representative challenged the legitimacy of Saif’s PhD, which he in 2008.

Buera released a statement in March 2011 to the London newspaper The Independent accusing Saif of recruiting Libyan academics to write his dissertation. He reportedly alleged that Saif had gathered an assortment of PhD graduates from what was then Benghazi’s Garyounis University (now the University of Benghazi) to help him write his doctoral thesis. Buera was a professor at Garyounis at the time and specifically named an economics professor, Ahmed Menesi, as one of Saif’s collaborators. Menesi went on to become governor of the Central Bank of Libya then Libyan ambassador to Austria.

In the article Buera called on LSE to investigate Saif’s PhD. The LSE did so, but said there was no evidence to back up the allegation.

It is not thought that Saif will turn up for the case.  His current whereabouts remain something of a mystery. Since being released from house arrest and leaving Zintan, he was reported as having gone to the south of the country.

Benghazi protestors condemn ICC over Warfali


Benghazi protestors condemn ICC over Warfali

By Gabriel Harrison.

sad

Pro-Warfali demonstrators in Benghazi (Photo: LANA)

 

Supporters of  Libya National Army (LNA) officer Mahmoud Al-Warfali took to the streets of Benghazi yesterday to protest the ICC’s arrest warrant for him. In a statement issued by the organisers rejecting the arrest warrant, they accused the ICC of a range of wrongdoings from bureaucratic incompetence, to imperialism and support for terrorism.

“We, the sons and tribes of Benghazi, direct this message to the so-called International Criminal Court for being a colonial political institution that serves the interests of world imperialism and the Zionist movement and not an international human rights organisation,” the protestors’ statement read.

Welcoming Warfali’s willingness to take part in a Libyan military investigation into his actions, they accused the ICC of covertly continuing to support terrorists after they had been defeated on the battlefield by Libyan military forces. They also accused the ICC of hypocrisy for taking action against Warfali but not pursuing militant Islamists who been responsible for killings and other crimes. Where, they asked, had the ICC been for the last six years when judges and others were assassinated or people crucified in Sirte. They also asked where were the ICC charges against  those who killed demonstrators in Benghazi on 8 June 2013 or were responsible for the Gharghour massacre in Tripoli in November the same year or for other killings or acts of wanton destruction such as that of Tripoli International airport.

“This is a first step towards targeting the Libyan military, which has worked to save the country,” they claimed.

The protestors expressed appreciation for those who supported Warfali who has been accused of summary executions of some 33 Islamist militants.

The ICC has attracted considerable criticism over its lack of success in prosecuting war criminals. The court has only convicted three individuals in its 15-year history despite spending more than $2 billion. ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has previously blamed its shortcomings on a lack of resources and continued instability in Libya.

In January, Human Rights Watch (HRW) sharply criticised the ICC for not launching investigations into war crimes in Libya. They argued that militias continued to “flout international law with impunity”, and that both the Libyan criminal system and the ICC were unable to hold criminals accountable.

Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL), which welcomed the ICC arrest warrant for Warfali, has called on the LNA to cooperate with the court and deliver Warfali to The Hague immediately.

While agreeing that justice was best administered “as close to the crime as possible”, it questioned whether any trial in Libya of Warfali would be properly conducted. In any event, under international law, Libya was duty bound to surrender him unless it successfully challenged the order in court, it noted.

EDITORS NOTE: While ICC is condemning Warfalli only on videos which was posted on the Social Media, ICC tends purposely to forget to charge NATO for crimes done to the Libyan population which by the way its fully documented not only through the Social Media but also by the Media outlets. ICC also tends purposely to forget all the massacres, rapes, and torture done to the Libyan people who refused to BETRAY their country by the rebels also well documented, ICC also tends purposely to forget about Derna & Sirt being trapped by ISIS they where tortured, beheaded and raped and women were sold. ICC also tends purposely to forget BanWalid that it was attacked with Sarin gas also well document. I can go on and on for all the crimes the West, rebels, GNC and the UN backed government have done to the Libyan people who are also document. Where is the ICC to charge the ones responsible for the 70 thousand prisoners who are being tortured and raped to death? BUT IT SEEMS THAT ICC ONLY CHARGES HEROES WHO WANT WHAT IS BEST FOR OUR COUNTRY. SHAME ON YOU AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY THAT CONDONES SUCH BEHAVIOUR 

 

Qaddafi al-Dam sends a speech to the Libyan people on the occasion of Eid al-Adha and Al-Fateh


Qaddafi al-Dam sends a speech to the Libyan people on the occasion of Eid al-Adha and Al-Fateh

 

The Egyptian-Libyan relations coordinator, Ahmed Qaddafi al-Dam, congratulated the Libyan people and “all liberals” on the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the revolution and the Eid al-Adha, saying that the two days coincided with seven years of lamentation over the Libyan crisis.

“On this occasion, I call on my family in Libya, who have tasted all of them without exception, in the seven lean years, bitter from the situations we have come to bear in this,” said the leader of the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his personal envoy for decades. Today the white flag on their car and their homes and out into the street. ”

“White banners mean peace and surrender to the homeland, meaning the unity of a new Libya, and the folding of a black page of its history in which we participated without awareness or awareness.”

He called the “blood drop” his family in Libya to apologize from their homeland because it does not deserve all this blood and blood, as he put it.

“The solution in Edina has never been in the corridors of other countries outside the country, the United Nations or the Security Council. Those who contributed to the destruction of our country, plundering our wealth, and who continue to manage the conflict and do not want to end it, want to turn Libya into their landfill and their eyes on its wealth. , And also the resettlement of foreigners, not Arab and Islamic on its territory, and that change the demography and change of religion, and I trust you that you will not allow it.

He said: “I feel this occasion, which linked Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fatih is not a coincidence, but rather a divine message for the Libyan people to put an end to the blood that is being liquidated. Whoever kills a Libyan is in the hand of his brother.” He called them to close ranks and shake hands and raise white flags in Tobruk, And in Tripoli to strengthen the flesh and review the forces that reject this destruction, pointing out that they will be the majority of these banners.

He concluded by saying: “Tomorrow we will all meet to unite our words and end this tragedy. It is enough to ruin and destroy them and to draw them from the revolution of the conqueror that started on this white day, to be a shining light for us the way ahead. The political system will choose the Libyan regime and the world that suits them, Expresses the stark truth … Let us embark on a new stage in which there is no exclusion or marginalization, and all the displaced people return and all the prisoners come out. Let us start a new phase after the amnesty that becomes the umbrella under which we move.

 

وجَّه منسق العلاقات المصرية الليبية سابقًا أحمد قذاف الدم، التهنئة للشعب الليبي و”كافة الأحرار” بمناسبة عيد ثورة الفاتح الـ48، وعيد الأضحى المبارك، معتبرًا أن تزامن العيدين يحمل رسالة آلهية بعد مرور سبع سنوات عجاف على الأزمة الليبية.

وقال القيادي الأبرز في نظام العقيد الراحل معمر القذافي، ومبعوثه الشخصي لعشرات السنوات، عبر صحيفة “الدستور”: “في هذه المناسبة أدعو أهلى في ليبيا الذين ذاقوا جميعهم دون استثناء، في السبع سنوات العجاف، المر من الأوضاع التي وصلنا إليها بأن يحملوا في هذا اليوم الراية البيضاء على سيارتهم ومنازلهم والخروج إلى الشارع”.

وأضاف: “الرايات البيضاء تعني السلام والاسستسلام للوطن وتعني وحدة ليبيا جديدة، وطي صفحة سوداء من تاريخها شاركنا فيها دون وعي أو إدراك”.

ودعا “قذاف الدم” أهله في ليبيا إلى أن يعتذروا من وطنهم لأنها لا تستحق كل هذا الدماء والدماء، حسب تعبيره.

وتابع: “الحل في إيدينا لم يكن أبدًا في أروقة الدول الأخرى خارج الوطن، ولا في الأمم المتحدة ولا في مجلس الأمن، هؤلاء من ساهموا في خراب بلادنا ونهب ثرواتنا، ومازالوا يديرون الصراع ولا يريدون إنهاءه، يريدون تحويل ليبيا إلى مكب نفايتهم وأعينهم على ثرواتها، وأيضًا توطين أجانب ليست عربية ولا إسلامية على أراضيها، وذلك تغيير الديموغرافيا وتغيير الدين، وأنا أثق بكم بأنكم لن تسمحوا بذلك”.

واستطرد: “أحس في هذه المناسبة التي ربطت بين عيد الأضحى وعيد الفاتح ليست صدفة وإنما هي رسالة سماوية ليقف الشعب الليبي وينهي الدماء التي تسييل، فمن يقتل هو ليبي بيد أخيه”، ودعاهم إلى رص الصفوف والتصافح ورفع الرايات البيضاء في طبرق وفي رأس جدير والجنوب وفي طرابلس لتعزيز اللحمة واستعراض القوى التي ترفض هذا الدمار، مشيرًا إلى أنهم سيكونوا الأغلبية بهذه الرايات.

واختتم قائلًا: “غدًا سنجتمع جميعًا لنوحد كلمتنا وإنهاء هذه المأساة، فكفى خرابًا ودمارًا ولنستلهم من ثورة الفاتح التي انطلقت في مثل هذا اليوم بيضاء ناصعة، أن تكون نبراسًا يضيء لنا الطريق أمامنا، أمَّا النظام السياسي فليختار الليبيون النظام والعالم الذي يروق لهم، والنشيد الذي يعبر عن الحقيقة الدامغة.. لننطلق إلى مرحلة جديد لا يوجد فيها إقصاء أو تهميش، ويعود فيها كل المهجرين ويخرج منها جميع السجناء.. لننطلق إلى مرحلة جديدة بعد العفو العام الذي يصبح هو المظلة التي نتحرك تحتها.. حمى الله ليبيا”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A miserable summer in Tripoli


A miserable summer in Tripoli

By Moutaz Ali.

Corinthia hotel and Old city from harbour

Tripoli, August 2017:

There seems to be no end in sight to the strife residents of Tripoli have experienced since the revolution in 2011, and this summer has proved to be one of the toughest to date.

With temperatures in the upper 30s and sometimes in the mid 40s, the severe shortage of all basic amenities has made life almost impossible. There have been days without water, although thankfully for the moment that is over. The Man Made River (MMR) company started to pump slowly again for homes in central Tripoli after six days of no water.

What is not over are the electricity cuts. Outages have lasted between 14 to 20 hours a day, despite General Electricity of Libya (GECOL) saying they are only between five to ten hours daily. On top of this. there has been a fuel crisis with long queues at petrol stations as a result of panic because of militants in Zawia threatening to cut of fuel supplies to the capital.

In the heat of the day, without electricity to power the air conditioners, or at night to light up homes and shops or watch television, it is one big misery – and that is quite apart from the kidnappings, the crimes, and the dangers of going out at night.

The power and water crises have brought some much life in the city to a standstill. In the usually vibrant coffee shops, without electricity the coffee machines do not work unless there are standby generators. Many shops and homes have them, but far from all, and prices have rocketed – as have all prices – but there is no money in the banks.

The shortages have caused the price of food and water to rise significantly. Bottled water has doubled in price. But with the power cuts, keeping food is now a problem. “The food which we just bought is now rotting in the fridge,” complained Tripoli housewife Souad.

Without the electricity too, mobile phones and the internet are usually not working either because the relay stations have no power. So the other joy of Tripolitans – talking incessantly on the phone – is severely curtainled.

“I stay in bed and sleep all day now,” Reida, a Fashloum resident, told the Libya Herald. “Even if I could get money from the bank, I can’t afford a generator to switch on the airconditioner. There is no work, so what’s the point of getting up?”

Similar despair came from Ahmed, a teacher: “We’re living in the middle of nowhere now. This isn’t a civilised country anymore. And no one cares about us.”

The lack of running water has been a particular nightmare for local residents. Many, particularly women, felt unable to go to work in recent days because of the crisis. “I can’t go to work without having a shower or even putting some water on my body,” a women who is a secretary said

The crisis is worse in the city centre. At least, in the outer suburbs, most homes had their own wells because they were not connected to the MMR water network, and a place for a generator.

The city is caught in a vicious circle. The heat has triggered the crisis: people put on the airconditioners, resulting in a surge in power consumption. It leads to overload and the electricity system collapses. Equipment at the substation in Tarhouna was burnt out this week as a result. It is also reported that the Ruwais power station in the Jebel Nafusa had to stop production because of overload. Faced with the crisis, electricity company GECOL has told people to cut usage so as to keep the system going. But while everyone understands the immediate reason for the power crisis, and many are making efforts, they blame the Presidency Council (PC) for doing nothing about the power needs.

The PC leader Faiez Serraj and the other members knew that there would be a crisis this summer, they point out. There was a power crisis last summer for the same reason as now. There was another in the winter as people switched on the heaters. But, they complain angrily, it is only now that the PC is trying to entice the South Korean construction companies back to finish the Sirte and Tripoli West power station projects.

“These b****rd politicians who ally with militiamen and other vicious officials, are vampires sucking our blood and killing us slowly every day,” one resident told this newspaper.

The situation has become so intolerable that some residents now look back nostalgically to the days under Qaddafi’s rule.

“The revolution was a disaster for us and has brought nothing but destruction. I cry out for it to be like it was under Qaddafi, if only for just one single day”, another resident said.

He is not alone. Such talk is heard increasingly.  In the hot, miserable summer, contempt for the PC is almost universal  in the city while sympathy in the east,  for the former regime is clearly spreading fast.