A few days ago reader 'mb' sent me this Economist article about Libya. Basically it talks about changes since 2003.
There are some points which I believe are slightly innaccurate having lived there myself.
"From 2003 until his removal this week, a respected American-trained
economist, Shukri Ghanem strove, as prime minister, to shift policy towards free
trade, privatisation and greater openness. As a result of all this, shoppers in
Tripoli, the capital, no longer queue for rations in state-owned stores, but
choose what they like from well-stocked private markets."
Rations ? state owned stores? Yes we did have what we call 'jamiaa' or cooperatives were you buy state subsidized essential food items which are : oil, tomato paste, pasta, rice , semolina and sugar but in large quantities ...like a 30 kg bag of sugar or a box of olive oil . These are so cheap compared to one can of olive oil in the supemarket. We still have those by the way along with the supermarkets or private shops. The private shops have been back along with the supermarkets since the 90s at that time they contained mostly Egyptian and Tunisian imported stuff with the larger supermarkets having everything under the moon for the right prices. So yes maybe not everyone could afford it but we had/have a choice. However, yes lately more markets have mushroomed at every corner and their prices are getting competitive too.
"Since the end of UN sanctions, imposed in 1992 over the Lockerbie affair,
they can fly abroad on holiday. They can even visit the United States, now that
diplomatic ties have been partially restored after a 23-year break."
Ok wait a second, sanctions or not sanctions the Libyans went abroad for holidays, by car to Tunis and Egypt then flew to other destinations or by boat to Malta then flew to other destinations. And even during the sanctions they were able to visit the US if they wished and went through the tiresome process of travelling to another country to get their visas. Well Libyans still need to get their visa via Malta or Tunis anyway.
“'I met a guy who spent 15 years abroad, and he said he recognised the same
potholes as when he left,' chuckles a Tripoli taxi driver".
Come on every Libyan knows that as soon as you learn to avoid a pothole after hitting your car countless time, the next time you will find it not there and there will be an unexpected one a few metres farther ;).