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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More