News / Africa

Libyan Rebels Struggle to Cope With Shortages

A Libyan boy carries water in a wheel barrow in Tripoli. Water has been cut off throughout the city, August 26, 2011
A Libyan boy carries water in a wheel barrow in Tripoli. Water has been cut off throughout the city, August 26, 2011

As residents of the Libyan capital faced another day without running water or electricity, a rebel official vowed to make this "difficult period" as short as possible.  

The Transitional National Council's information minister, Mahmoud Shammam was blunt, telling the people of Tripoli, "Don't expect a miracle."

Shammam says the TNC is working on distributing fuel and water and that a system is in place for supplying hospitals with medicine and other basic needs.  But he says the conditions they are working under are tough.

”We [have had] just a few days of liberation in Tripoli," said Shammam.  "Tripoli was under the tight control of a dictatorship for 42 years.  You understand that we are lacking a lot of institutions.  We are lacking a lot of civil societies.  So we are starting almost from zero point in this situation.”

For residents of the capital, who awoke Saturday to the sounds of roosters and occasional gunfire, the struggle to find the basics of life is proving daunting.

A middle-aged man in the center of Tripoli blamed long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi for the lack of water, accusing his forces of sabotaging pumps. The man explains that some people have wells, and that they're sharing water with others.

Like many in Tripoli, he's willing to put up with the hardships if it means Gadhafi is gone.  

Gone, perhaps, but to where is the question.  Rebel forces continued to advance on the besieged leader's hometown of Sirte. The opposition says it hopes to gain control of the city within days.

In Tripoli, rebels opened to the public Saturday residences used by the self-described “Brother-Leader” and other Gadhafi family members.  Libyans saw that relatives of the man who traveled the world in a tent enjoyed indoor swimming pools and luxurious baths at home.

The sight was a reminder for those sympathetic to the rebel cause what their fight was about - a man completely at odds with his people - even as the TNC has to establish a new civil and administrative order.

But the rapid denouement of six months of conflict have raised questions about the council's ability to unite the nation's various regional, tribal and religious factions.   Tripoli-based political analyst Peter Cole says those fault lines are less important right now than the issue of competence.

”It’s actually going to be about who can get the show up and running," he said. "And if something goes wrong, then you’re going to see factions and divisions and arguments, and then these are going to be retrospectively labeled as such.”   

To be successful, Cole adds, the rebels must keep the sense of unity that brought their revolution this far, and turn it into basic administration skills and a functional bureaucracy.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid