By Moutaz Ali,
Tripoli, 16 February 2017:
On the sixth anniversary of Libya’s 17 February Revolution, most residents of Tripoli, including those who supported it, are in little mood to celebrate. Instead, they are struck by the constant recurrence of negativity pervading the capital.
This year has seen a stark change in the views of Tripolitans, irrelevant of whether they supported the revolution or not.
“I never loved Qaddafi, but I thought from the start it was just a conspiracy shared by other countries to destroy Libya and take over its resources,” Khalil Gharghum, a resident opposed to the revolution told the Libya Herald.
However, even pro-revolution residents seem to lack the desire to celebrate.
“The revolution is a principle I will never give up. But I will not celebrate due to the awful circumstances we are seeing that include women being raped and the kidnapping of children. All the beautiful things we created have been destoyed in the name of revolution and religion,” said Mohamed Sultan, a freelance journalist from Tripoli.
The split in Tripoli is more obvious this year than before.
Martyr’s Square is under the control of the Presidency Council’s Government of National Accord (GNA) as it prepares for celebrations. It has blocked all streets leading to the square to prevent the entry of vehicles.
Meanwhile, Khalifa Ghwell, the head of the so-called National Salvation Government celebrated the anniversary with his allies by reopening the heavily damaged Tripoli International Airport.
Ghwell accuses the PC of betraying the revolution by being agents to the west. He calls them criminals and outlaws.
“Each of them believes he has the right and the legitimacy of authority. Neither of them seems to have the will to concede,” Adel Ben Suliman told this newspaper at a café in Zawiat Al-Dahmani district, in the heart of Tripoli.
“As you can see, people around here want to celebrate the revolution’s anniversary but they are disappointed by the political divide in Tripoli,” he added. Adel believes the revolution was positive at first, with many Libyans sacrificing their lives for its sake, but unfortunately the greed of others has changed so much.
This paper also spoke with Doukali about Tripoli’s changes over the last six years.
“I was deprived of many things before. Yet, I never feared the hunger and insecurity I feel now.”
The widespread feeling is that there will be little genuine celebrating tomorrow. Instead, there is agrowing fear that the city is on the verge of major battles ahead between the mainly Misratan forces that now support Ghwell and those remaining loyal to Hafter.