Libya burning

August 06, 2014 - 2:20:10 am

The chaos in Libya is too much to be taken care of by a parliament already divided by factionalism.

The Libyan Parliament yesterday elected a jurist as its Speaker in a move signalling a semblance of stability over the chaos that has been prevailing in the country for months now. However, the irony is that the newly elected members in the North African nation were sworn in not in the capital Tripoli, but hundreds of kilometres away in Tabruk. Tripoli has become so violent that even lawmakers are not safe and the fledgling government thought it wise to move the formal ceremony to the town that is 1,500 kilometres away. 

Another significant event related to the war-torn country took place yesterday. Forty-four Indian nurses caught in the fighting in Libya were finally sent home and reached the south Indian state of Kerala. They are already traumatised by the experience of spending weeks in Libya without access to basic amenities. Some of them have been deprived of salaries. The batch of nurses was evacuated from Tripoli and taken to Tunisia in a bus, the journey itself proving to be shocking to them. Through their journey, they were witness to bombs exploding and bullets being fired on the road. One of them also spoke of seeing people being killed. 

Libya has plunged into a seemingly incorrigible and bloody chaos. Lives are being lost everyday by the dozen. Clashes between rival militia groups have rendered the situation so fragile that a large number of countries are evacuating diplomatic staff and citizens. Some embassies have suspended operations. 

Filipinos, who form a chunk of the expatriate population in the country, are being evacuated in hundreds. Yesterday, the east Asian nation declared it was sending a ship to bring back at least 700 of its citizens from the country. They were to be picked up from Misrata, Benghazi and Sirte. The cities have been the hotbeds of violence in post-Gaddafi Libya.

The political situation in Libya has been fragile from the day its authoritarian leader Muammar Gaddafi was lynched in the streets. In a horrifying sight, an extreme example of vigilante justice, the Libyan strongman, who once personified power and authority, was pulled out from a large drain pipe and beaten black and blue before being shot dead. Gaddafi had ruled the impoverished country for years without bringing about any changes in the condition of its people and economy. 

The rub-off of the Arab Spring was quick and severe on the country. Anti-Gaddafi militia overran the country. The same militias have today become power-hungry and are fighting among one another to get an upper hand. Even the parliament, which was to become a symbol of stability, has been hit by factionalism between nationalists and Islamists. 

The situation has turned for the worse in the country at a juncture when world powers are busy with Syria, Iraq and Palestine. Libyans have to manage the crisis lest the situation should take the country to a point of no return•