News / Africa

Libyans Wary of Violence in Tunisia

Militia fighters are seen shooting at a building in center of Bani Walid, Libya, October 24, 2012.
Militia fighters are seen shooting at a building in center of Bani Walid, Libya, October 24, 2012.
— Libya’s leaders are watching nervously the turmoil in neighboring Tunisia, fearing it may foreshadow trouble for them too.

Facing similar Arab Spring challenges since they ousted their dictators, Libya and Tunisia have been establishing closer ties, trying to learn from each other.  But the Libyan government is worried that nationwide demonstrations planned for later this week might turn unruly. The protests have been timed to coincide with the second anniversary of the uprising that toppled Moammar Gadhafi and ended his 42-year-long dictatorship.

Mother-of-three Holima Elhaj said Libyans are not in a celebratory mood in the run-up to February 17 -- the anniversary of the revolution.

“Because this revolution has turned out to be, has turned into something they didn’t expect," she said. "The passion they felt about changing their lives, about changing their living situation they don’t see a difference. Some people say things are worse. When you need to get something done, you need to bribe more people now it seems," Elhaj said. "Nothing seems to be better. There is nothing you can feel that’s different. A lot of people say it is just faces that have changed.”

Patience thin

Exasperation has been building at the slow pace of change, from reforming a corrupt Gadhafi-era bureaucracy to repairing crumbling schools, hospitals and a dilapidated infrastructure

“The main point here is that Libyans, they have been patient not for two years," said Hussam Zagaar, a marketing director in Tripoli and a former government adviser. "Libyans have been patient for 44 years now. Gadhafi came up with that system where every five to ten years he came up with new promises and none of that happened. We keep on going through this empty circle, as we say here in Libya.”

The country hasn’t experienced any targeted political murders like Tunisia, which witnessed the killing of an opposition leader last week.

But there have been assassinations recently in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, mainly of security personnel. And the government has made little progress on forming a national army to replace the disorderly revolutionary militias it has to rely on for security.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has been urging Libyans to understand it is going to take time to fix the mess left by Gadhafi's reign.

Patience, though, is wearing thin -- especially in Benghazi, where last September an assault by radical Islamists on the U.S. consulate led to the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

“Benghazi is the land of revolution," Zagaar said. "Well, God Bless them. They are in a worse situation than Tripoli.”

The biggest fear this week is that radical Islamists or disgruntled revolutionary militiamen may hijack Libya's anniversary protests.  

Following threats from radical Islamists against westerners, most international airlines have suspended flights this week.

The U.S. Embassy is warning it won’t be able to offer much assistance in an emergency. And European governments have urged their citizens not to travel to Libya.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid