Libya will mark the second anniversary of Liberation Day on Wednesday (October 23rd) amid a tense atmosphere of unrest and widespread insecurity.
From near-daily bombings and assassinations to the growth of militant extremism and the failure to build a professional army, Libyans are increasingly fearful for the future, just two years after the death of Moamer Kadhafi.
“Libya has become a total chaos by all measures,” said Abdel Wahab Elourfi, an education ministry employee.
Other Libyans interviewed by Magharebia echoed the dim outlook.
“There’s the influence of extremist groups in the country, calls for federalism, and other demands for secession,” said Hosni al-Akouri, a police brigadier. “I think that the country will go in very bad scenarios in the coming days given the details of the current political scene.”
In her turn, Nour al-Hoda Issa, a 17-year-old secondary school student, said she hoped things would improve “because weapons are spread everywhere and there is no stability in the country”.
“Two years after Kadhafi’s death, the situation in Libya became one of murder and death,” said Hanan Khalifa, a dentist at Benghazi Dental Centre. “It’s extremely scary down here, but we have to remain optimistic that the future will be better.”
Othman al-Shahibi, a graduate student in Britain, said that the country has become chaotic, with the state being built slowly. “Security will be gradually restored as time passes, but it will take a while. The constitution will be inevitably drafted,” he added.
“Libya is facing a tough and dangerous situation,” said Mesbah Khalifa, an architect. “However, it will, God willing, be able to produce its own model of civilisation. We must struggle for our country.”
Faraj Ahmed, a painter from Tripoli, said some people might have abused their newfound freedom but he remained optimistic: “Libya is in an intensive care unit, but it will recover with the will and determination of its people and support of the international community.”
“After the liberation of Libya, I tasted freedom when I breathed the air of our dear country,” commented Hesham Mahmoud. “As for now, unfortunately, I have a feeling of fear and doubt about what’s going to happen. I feel extremely depressed.”
Saleh al-Briki, a director, said Libya has become a new Lebanon.
Ahmed Elourfi, a teacher from al-Marj, said that “Kadhafi had confined Libya to his person. After his death, there was no figure possessing the charisma of leadership and patriotism.”
Elourfi said that the situation became worse than in neighbouring Arab Spring countries “due to the absence of state institutions, arms proliferation and theft of Libya’s wealth by the state, represented by ideological parties, [and] armed militias that were made legitimate”.
“This is despite the availability of money and oil in the country. Libya is now headed toward destruction,” he said.
“The political scene in the country has become uncertain following the fall of former regime,” noted Adel al-Talhi, a Tripoli-based journalist.
“Everyone agrees that Libya is facing several challenges, foremost among which is perhaps arms proliferation and lack of institutions to fill the vacuum created by the fall of regime. This is in addition to the spread of illegal armed groups and the appearance of regional speech that is now spreading among media outlets,” he added.
Nasser al-Hawari, 39, an interior ministry employee, said, “Two years after Kadhafi’s death, Libya has changed from an injured country where bloody and lengthy confrontations took place to a state full of chaos under militias’ command. The state has lost its control over the situation.”
“Killings have spread in a scary way, as 100 assassinations, mostly against army and police commanders, took place,” he added. “The armed groups went as far as besieging the government and parliament headquarters, as well as some ministries in their aggression. The militias even kidnapped the prime minister.”
Al-Hawari said that Libya requires “dialogue, reconciliation, national concord, return of displaced people, and release of detainees from prisons”, adding that “Libya needs an army and police, and to put an end to armed militias’ presence in the streets.”
Article by Asmaa Elourfi, Magharebia.
This article was originally published here.