Monday, January 23, 2012

Harsh realities make some Libyans evoke the Gaddafi era with fondness

Traffic jams are gigantic nowadays in Tripoli, so what I do to avoid getting stuck in one in the morning is park my car and walk the remaining distance to the office. It really saves time and frustration and of course good exercise :P

Classes usually start between 8.15 and 8.30 am and I can see busy parents rushing by with their children. Today I noticed a large crowd in front of a primary school and the fathers were gesticulating angrily and actively discussing some issue.  It is worth nothing that public schools officially started on January 7 after about one year of disruption caused by the war that gripped the country; but the situation has not been ideal as not all Libyan school children are back to school as planned. There are some displaced in camps with their families in awful situations and others living in the destroyed cities that saw the most fighting after the liberation of Tripoli while others have their schools turned into refugee camps etc..

So I approached to see what was it that caught the  attention of the parents  on the notice board outside the school gate. It was an announcement about reduced school hours due to lack of teachers and school books.

The men were causing quite a commission and I overhead some of them saying "what have we gained from this revolution? the first things that has gone out of the window are safety,  health and education. It was better in Moammar's era at least things were functioning and schools were organised. He  must be laughing at us in his grave and if he could talk would have said I told you so!!!"  The guy was obviously very upset because for 3 weeks now schools have been yo yoing back and forth  and people are worried about the future of their children. The security situation though not at war is very difficult  one with people armed to the teeth and trigger happy. As for health, knowing what health was before you know that now it is a hopeless case so many would sympathise with the sentiments and statements of this individual without necessarily being Gaddaffi fans or  remnants of his regime. This is the feeling expressed by ordinary people on the streets after the euphoria of the revolution has  subsided, the harsh realities of a post-conflict state are hitting home those most vulnerable among us and making them almost miss Gaddafi who now seems like a 'benevolent dictator'.

If interim government and qualified Libyans do not get a grip on things I'm afraid that the goodwill of Libyans will be lost, the martyr's blood would have gone in vain and  we either start a new civil war or will turn into another  Khalifate.

Today's post is pessimistic, hopefully next time there will be a more positive outlook !


paulo said...

Everyone in Libya had huge expectations regarding the future, it's quite normal in a situation like this. Of course most of these expectations will not find echo in the current situation by the simple fact that it will imply structural reforms that will take years to implement.
What needs to done by the government and civil society groups, is a campaign of information so that people understand it clearly. Many things changed with the removal of the previous regime but freedom of speech will not put food on the table, employ the unemployed or give a house to the homeless.
Failure to tackle these issues will create a deluded people and open the door to scavengers, using a populist speech, to steal the result of the revolution to their own benefit, hence restarting the cycle.
All the best for Libya. Stay free and prove that all people deserve freedom.

7mada said...

اشتدي ازمة تنفرجي

Maya M said...

After 1989, we have had the same phenomenon you are describing. It is generally normal, though not a hopeful sign.

Highlander said...

Paulo thank you, people are working hard at raising awareness but the government communication has been to say the least lacking and the scavengers are already on the prowl....

Highlander said...

7mada تسلم انشاء الله نكونوا متفائلين

Highlander said...

Maya yes I agree and I actually understand how they feel. It's very difficult to feel that there is hope especially since it's only be a few months since the conflict has stopped and their are still some strange flare ups here and there where between one and 6 people get killed...feels surreal.