Years After Overthrowing Him, Libyans Regret Removing Gaddafi

Libyans are severely suffering since the removal of the former leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi by an allied force led by Britain under David Cameron, and the United States of America under Barack Obama.

Five years after the invasion that dethroned him, life in Libya has become that of pain, anguish, and regrets. The majority of the populace says that life is better under the late leader. Currently, the people are living under anarchy and ISIS threat with normalcy far from being restored.

Today, the once-prosperous African county is crippled by power black-out, inflation and lack of payment of Salary by west backed Government.

Many people who took up arms against the Former leader after the propaganda war waged against the dictator. Most of them are now wishing that the clock can be unwound back. The current state of Libya makes it impossible for citizens to come out at night because of insecurity which is caused by many arms groups created by power vacuum left after the removal and execution of Muammar Gaddafi. 

One of those who fought against him confessed and said,“I joined the revolution in the first days and fought against Gaddafi,” former revolutionary fighter Mohammed, 31, said from the southern city of Murzuq.

Libyans today confirmed to the politicians’ as UK House of Common condemned former UK Prime Minister David Cameron and his Labour party. They accused him of an obsession for regime change in Libya. Today Libyans are battling to survive as findings show.”

Ordinary people now face daily electricity cuts of up to nine hours, a serious cash crisis, which prevents them from accessing their salaries, sky-high prices for essential goods and shortages of medical supplies. Unlike what is obtainable during the Gaddafi era.Currently, there is widespread corruption prompted the black-market rate for foreign corruption which has triple against the increasingly worthless Libyan dinar.

Another Libyan businessman named Nuri, 34, who hails from Tripoli added, “It’s not so much about being pro-Gaddafi because he was a crazy leader who was actually quite embarrassing internationally.

“It’s just that people’s lives are so difficult now compared to under Gaddafi. It has become so bad that some Libyans, who were among the richest in the Arab World are considering fleeing to Europe on migrant boats with the aim of starting a new life in Europe”.

Another young Libyan, a Medical student Salem who is 26, from Tripoli, said, “We thought things would be better after the revolution, but they just keep getting worse and worse.

“Far more people have been killed since 2011 than during the revolution or under 42 years of Gaddafi’s rule combined. We never had these problems under Gaddafi.

“There was always money and electricity and, although people did not have large salaries, everything was cheap, so life was simple.

“Some of my friends have even taken the boat to Europe with the migrants because they feel there is no future for them here. “I would like to escape this mess and study abroad but I have been waiting a year for a new passport and, even when I do get one, it will be hard to get a visa because all the embassies left in 2014.

“So now I feel like a prisoner in my own country. And I have started to hate my own country,” he concluded.

According to an ex-pat British housewife, who moved to Libya with her Libyan husband 20 years ago, says it is no longer safe to go out at night.

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Another, Sara, 50, a mother-of-one said, “I used to walk home alone at midnight with no fear.“But now I don’t like to go outside alone after dark. I don’t feel safe.”

As well as a lack of security, the very fabric of Libyan society has broken down with provinces, towns, and tribes retreating into themselves.

Tebu Mohammed said, “Libya died with Gaddafi. We are not a nation anymore. We have become just warring groups of tribes, towns and cities.

“Before there was just one Gaddafi but now we have six million little Gaddafis.”

Successive post-revolutionary governments, parliaments, and leaders have all failed to provide ordinary Libyans with basic security, let alone address their daily struggles.

“We have had seven governments since 2011 and what have they achieved?” asked Mahmoud.

“The only thing we can see is new dustbins because one of the early governments installed these new large bins across Tripoli. We still point to them and laugh, saying it’s the only achievement of the revolution.”

With two rival governments, a democratically-elected one now operating beyond its mandate in eastern Libya, and the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, some say Libya is already on the verge of partition.

“The country is already divided. We have two governments, two parliaments, two Central banks, and two National Oil Companies,” said former Libyan diplomat Abdusalem, 48.

“The so-called revolution was lies, all lies. We Libyans did not even know what the word revolution meant. We had been sheltered under Gaddafi for 42 years.

“It was not Libya’s revolution, it was NATO’s revolution because they wanted to get rid of Gaddafi.

Riots have broken out at banks as people are forced to queue for hours in the stifling heat at banks to withdraw a restricted amount of money. Bank security guards shot and killed three people in a bank queue in May this year.

The price of basic goods, including imports, have gone through the roof as shipping company insurers have classified Libya as a war zone.And food subsidies have been cut.

Fadiel, from Ras Lanuf, said, “(Under the Gaddafi regime) You could buy 20 loaves with one dinar but now you can only buy five, and they are smaller. Cooking oil was subsidised under Gaddafi and cost 1,75 dinar per 1 liter but because of shortages, some businessmen buy it from warehouses and resell it for 5 Libyan dinar. Bread and oil are the most basic commodities.”

“Hospitals are running out of basic medicines, for epilepsy and diabetes, and people are now buying them from private pharmacies at double their previous prices. And we are struggling to get our children vaccinated because of shortages, particularly in rural areas”, he added.

As their dreams of a prosperous post-Gaddafi Libya lay in the dust, most people say now they only want peace.

One said, “I cannot see how there will be peace in this country for another 10 years, but peace and stability is all that ordinary Libyans want.”

Years on from Britain’s ‘ill-conceived’ military intervention to dispose of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, ordinary people in Libya say life was better under the European labeled despot than the anarchy and threat of ISIS in the country today. Crippled by power black-outs, a five-fold increase in the cost of food, salaries unpaid for months and the threat of terror, citizens who took up arms against Gaddafi now say their quality of life was better under the feared dictator.

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Many who fought against Gaddafi are today regretting.

“I joined the revolution when it started and fought against Gaddafi,” former revolutionary fighter Mohammed, 31, said from the southern city of Murzuq.

Another Libyan said “Before 2011, I hated Gaddafi more than anyone. But now, life is much, much harder, and I have become his biggest fan.”

Taxi driver Mahmoud added, “Before Libya was much better.”

41 years old Oil worker Haroun, said, “Getting rid of Gaddafi was clearly a mistake because we weren’t ready for democracy and we needed support from the international community, which just wasn’t there.”

A Libyan activist Fadiel added, “It should be better than Gaddafi’s time now but, because of the chaos and everyone fighting each other, it’s just a mess.” 

They claim his execution has led to a power vacuum that has created ‘six million little Gaddafis’ and they no longer feel safe to leave their homes after dark.

Amidst the chaos and lack of security, 8000 African migrants a day cross the border into Libya and live along its coastline waiting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

Their comments echo the findings of influential British politicians who have condemned former Prime Minister David Cameron’s ‘chaotic’ 2011 intervention in Libya.

In a devastating verdict, the House of Commons foreign affairs committee this week savaged former prime minister David Cameron’s judgment in rushing to war – and said the intervention was based on ‘erroneous assumptions’.

An international coalition led by Britain and France launched strikes against Gaddafi’s forces in March 2011 after the regime threatened to attack the rebel-held city of Benghazi.

Cameron claimed the intervention was necessary to prevent a massacre of civilians, but the new report says that, despite appalling human rights abuses over 40 years, Gaddafi had no record of large-scale attacks on Libyan civilians.

However, the cross-party committee accused the Conservative of ignoring military chiefs and a lack of reliable intelligence to pursue an ‘opportunistic policy of regime change’ in Libya.

It says Cameron gave little thought to how Libya would fare following the removal of Gaddafi, setting the scene for the country’s descent into chaos.

Libyans today confirmed to the politicians’ findings as they have described their daily battles to survive. Ordinary people now face daily electricity cuts of up to nine hours, a serious cash crisis, which prevents them from accessing their salaries, sky-high prices for essential goods and shortages of medical supplies.

Widespread corruption has also prompted the black-market rate for foreign currency to triple against the increasingly worthless Libyan dinar. 

As the dreams of Libyans for a prosperous post-Gaddafi Libya become an illusion, most people say now they only want peace. To ordinary Libyan peace is their most desired commodity at this point. As one of them confessed, “I cannot see how there will be peace in this country for another 10 years, but peace and stability is all that ordinary Libyans want.” 

In an interview with Italy’s La Stampa newspaper, Martin Kobler, the UN special envoy to Libya called for greater international intervention to restore security in Libya.

The United Nations special envoy to Libya warned that there are some 235,000 migrants on the country’s shore’s preparing to make the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing to Italy. “We have on our lists 235,000 migrants who are just waiting for a good opportunity to depart for Italy, and they will do it.”

Tags : GaddafiHuman rightPeace

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