Beaten but not Broken: Finding Hope in the ‘New’ Libya (Part 1)

A new beginning for Libya (c)  Hani Amara/Reuters via AljazeeraA new beginning for Libya (c) Hani Amara/Reuters via Aljazeera

As I write, there is ‘euphoria’ in Libya. Yes ‘euphoria’! Not the type reported after October 20, 2011. This ‘euphoria’ is of a different nature. It incarnates the battered country’s hope for an eventual ousting of the much dreaded Islamic State extremist group, ISIS.

Libyan forces are being applauded for successfully retaking parts of Sirte, late Col. Gadaffi’s hometown, from militants of the deadly extremist group. Sirte has been one of ISIS’ most significant strongholds outside of Syria and Iraq-hence the euphoria.

A General Instability

News from Libya in the last few years has centered around little more than gun battles, power struggles and human right’s abuses. The reason is almost clear. The 2011 fall of the country’s strongman, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, left a power vacuum which is yet to be effectively filled. The excitement that followed the regime’s toppling was soon overtaken by uncertainty. In just five years, Libya has suffered two civil wars and the second is yet to be declared over. Many militia groups still operate in the country making sporadic gunfire, arbitrary arrests, kidnappings and murder common.

Poeple escaping violence in Libya through the Southern Border Crossing (c) SBS News

People escaping violence in Libya through the Southern Border Crossing (c) SBS News

The country which, once, was perceived as the most self-sufficient nation in the whole of Africa now lies in ruins. Libya’s major cities have suffered great destruction.  According to Amnesty International, Libya has 435.000 internally displaced people and up to 100.000 of them reside in makeshift camps, schools and warehouses. Besides, almost 1 million of its citizens have been forced to seek refuge abroad.

A Glaring Social Difference

Libya today is almost only a shadow of its old self. The prosperous nations of yesterday now can barely feed itself. Oil production is down by nearly three quarters and its UN-brokered government faces opposition on several fronts. Prices of goods and services are skyrocketing and there is very little to be used in subsidizing food and other basic necessities.

A man stands at the site of his house destroyed after armed battle in Benghazi (March 19, 2016) Photo credit (c) TRT World/AFP

Education, electricity and healthcare, which used to be free for all Libyan citizens, can now barely be afforded. Basic medical services are almost non-existent, forcing many Libyans to seek treatment in neighbouring Tunisia. Nonetheless, Libya’s 2016 situation shows a considerable improvement from what was between 2011 and 2014. A lot has gotten better and there is hope for a better tomorrow. The dictatorship has fallen and ‘Western style’ democracy is in process.

More Freedom in View

Despite present-day hardships in Libya, the country is gaining in freedom. For the first time in its history, Libya got rated by Freedom House as ‘Partly free’ for two consecutive years, 2013 and 2014 Freedom House Rankings for Libya. However, its freedom index for 2015 dropped to ‘Not and Freedom House has evoked Libya’s second civil war as an influencing factor.

There is no denying that rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly are still, to an extent, restricted but Libyans seem to be experiencing greater freedom than in the yesteryear.

Women celebrating the new found freedom in Libya. Photo credit (c) Mahamad Umayr/Xinhua

Women celebrating  new found freedom in Libya. Photo credit (c) Mahamad Umayr/Xinhua

Libyan women, whose voices were the most silenced, are now being heard louder and clearer.  Their works testify of spirits that have refused to be broken. In this series, I am unveiling the efforts furnished by some young and talented Libyan women who have picked themselves up quicker than the state of Libya itself.

Join me in part two of Beaten but not Broken: Hope in the ‘New’ Libya for an amazing adventure into the lives of some of the women who have found the motivation to move on and are now encouraging other Libyan women to follow suit.

About the Author

Vandoline NKWAIN
Vandoline Nkwain is a journalist and cross-cultural communications professional. Having a strong academic and professional background, she aims at using The Afro-Report to trigger positive change in Africa. Experience tells that stories told by real people empower more than blind mass accounts of events. Therefore, using testimonies as a base, Vandoline recounts real people's struggles and success stories to enable others rise above their confines. She does not only tell the news, but mobilises you to act upon it to make a difference. 'We are the future' is her watchword.

10 Comments on "Beaten but not Broken: Finding Hope in the ‘New’ Libya (Part 1)"

  1. May I hail the Libyan army for a job well done. It’s just a pity that things will hardly ever be the same again in Libya. However, I join and add more voice to veritable pan-africanists to pray for a betterment in that country some day.

  2. DENIS M KIAWI | 2016-06-16 at 7:45 am | Reply

    I only hope the people Libya will stand up for unity in order for their country to move forward. What a mess in a country that has done a lot for what Africa is today.

    • Libya’s situation is incredibly heartbreaking Denis. However, the hope its citizens spread is the lesson we should take home. Thanks for frequently coming around. Your presence here is highly appreciated.

  3. Miranda Nimbom | 2016-06-16 at 10:50 pm | Reply

    What a Pity,Libya brought ruin upon them when they chosed to look blindly on Late Gaddafi’s efforts to make Libya Greatest.Praying 4 peace in Libya

    • Thanks Miranda, it is truly a shame but the good thing is that its citizens have not given up. Many of them are holding on tight and spreading hope the fragile ones, which is what should be done in such situations. Thanks a lot for coming around. Please do subscribe and share our content with your friends.

  4. The road Libya’s reconstruction will be very long. It will take decades for this one time strong nation and one of Africa’s eldorados to be able to find its feet on the ground and to meet the basic needs of its own citizens. The greatest mistake Obama ever made was to support the invasion of Libya which eventually saw the demise of Col. Muammar Gaddafi without a clear road map for the aftermath. Reflecting on his legacy in a Fox News interview aired earlier this year, Obama said his “worst mistake” was “probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya”. Ghaddafi wasn’t a bad man per se. He might have had his own shortcomings but his achievements surpassed them all. Africa will continue to miss this great Pan-Africanist and I believe Libyans will miss him more.

    God bless Pan-Africanism!

    • I am sure Africa hs started missing him, and like you say Libyans are beginning to feel a pinch. Nonetheless, we must move on despite his passing. Long live Pan-Africanism!

  5. Dear Slither, thank you so much for you interest in The Afro-Report. I would simply subscribe for you. I will fill in your email address so that you only have to confirm inbox. Thanks again for coming around and please do feel free, anytime. I truly appreciate!

  6. Dana Maria3 martie 2012Felicitari pentru emisiune domnule Luca, m-ai cucerit cu emisiunea, cu muzica aceasta deosebita. Initial am intrat accidental aici urmarind o postare de pe Facebook, contrariata de numarul mare de mesaje care iti prezentau site-ul, dar nu mi-a parut rau. Felicitari si emisiuni placute.

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