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Tripoli .. the poor and the oppressed

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By: Youssef Al-Azzabi*

Libyans know Tripoli. That city has a lot of graces, no matter how

Youssef Al-Azzabi
Youssef Al-Azzabi

big or small they are. The current generation in Libya knows Tripoli, most of them entered the city as a resident, owner, employee, student, tourist or a patient. No Libyan, old or young, rich or poor (except for the distant poor) hadn’t benefited from Tripoli, especially the rich, students, employees, writers, women, and men. Everyone knows Tripoli and might introduce self as one of its residents. Some might not admit it, but every rule has an exception.

The founders of the modern Libyan state made Tripoli the capital, along with Benghazi (it truly deserves it) but Tripoli remains the capital. Colonizers, who invaded the country over the years, either from the west, east or the north, invasion is not completed until Tripoli fall. History refers to Tripoli, only, as the most prominent Libyan city. And here I can only mention a lot of indicators that proof Tripoli graces for Libya and Libyans, in the past, present, but only God knows what might happen in the future and this lousy time.

With the independence, Tripolitans accepted Benghazi as a capital too for the known reasons; its inhabitants didn’t argue or complain about it. It did the same with Al-Baida, and its citizens moved to Benghazi and Al-Baida, singles and married with families, to build the two cities.

September coup reinstated Tripoli as the capital, and the whole eastern region was neglected by the regime, for well-known reasons. But this doesn’t mean Tripoli prevailed or dominated. Negligence included Tripoli as well, and based on the regime’s policy, Libyans were turned into experiment material, different cities were chosen as the capital or something that resembles it, the regime moved the government to Jufra and Sirte, millions of Dinars were wasted for travel and residential expenses. Dozens of experienced employees lost their lives on the roads linking those cities. Tripoli was patient as usual, and such experiments proved a failure, and ministers and administrations returned, either publicly or with shy, to Tripoli.

The previous regimes were gone, replaced by people’s revolution in the east firstly then the west, especially in Tripolitania as a region. Tripoli inhabitants shouted enthusiastic slogans for Benghazi citizens in their unique struggle to ignite the revolution, they demonstrated, shouted slogans and provided support. The revolution won, and the regime was toppled, first from its den in Bab Azezeyia, with the sacrifices made by Tripolitans and other cities sons, then eventually ending in Sirte outskirts. Those months were never being easy for the western region, especially after the East was liberated since the first days and peace and quietness prevailed. But citizens of the region of the west went through hell, hundreds and thousands were killed, their cities were destroyed, but at the end, they recorded their historic victory.

On one side, Benghazi went through its struggle since the first days of assassinations and violence acts, that evolved into all out warfare that ended everything, and turned the city into a ghost city and citizens were displaced.

On the other side, Tripolitans provided all support they can and stood by Benghazi, providing support, encouragement, denunciation and condemnation. Columns were full of sorrows for the fate of the city. Every day we found an article or statement or TV interview speaking about Benghazi. Some writers made the city a daily song as if nothing remains in Libya but Benghazi. There was no regret in praising the city, as I said, it deserves and more. The city anyway still struggles needs backing and support.

My goal after this long introduction is to get to the following result: Tripoli, the city, is suffering for months from all kinds of crises. Militias, the absence of the state, kidnappings, armed theft, lack of security, lack of cash, an endless darkness that doesn’t even exist in Africa poorest countries.

The huge abyss to be healed quickly. And I speak out of my field of expertise. Writing, writers, and articles. All occupied, like me, with Al-Sarraj, Haftar, the Presidential Council, the House of Representatives, oil, and who would manage its revenues. Some Libyans, unfortunately, live by heart out of Libya. Tripoli bore the burden of the former regime failure, bad management, marginalization, underdevelopment, and racism.

Go and search in the archive, maybe I forgot one writer whose voice was leaped to describe what happened in Tripoli like what we did to explain what happened in Benghazi. I wonder what Tripoli did to face such fate and negligence.

It is not its responsibility being the capital, or being the headquarter of most governments, while some didn’t want that, it is not responsible for marginalization suffered by some, or the corruption of others. It is a city like any other city in the world; its misfortune turned it into the capital while some people hated this, so the city is punished with neglect, lack of compassion and later gloating.

I don’t think Tripoli will lose anything with time; suffering would eventually end as others did in the past, and the city will be back on its foot. It faced and fought many crises and will get through the current Tripoli and Libya, very soon, but those who neglect its suffering should be ashamed of themselves. They will come to Tripoli, to its streets, cafes and inhabitants with washed faces and bare hands. Who oppress Tripoli now will regret but when it is too late.

*A Libyan Writer

Translated By LIBYAPROSPECT: Source