Maram Allaghi writes on the jarring reality of what life looks like in Libya today as the country fights both a civil war and a global virus.
We’ve seen how leading nations have failed to deal with the recent outbreak of COVID-19. The situation is even more dire for countries such as Libya that are in the midst of a civil war to try to combat the virus.
Battling Coronavirus in an Active War Zone
The jarring reality of what life looks like in Libya today.
No one in the media seems to discuss Libya. In fact, the only time Libya is ever mentioned in conversation is when discussing Obama or addressing the migrant crisis — indirectly making us believe that Libyan issues are only relevant if they affect the West.
The whole world has been trained to turn a blind eye to the suffering of millions of people simply because they have come to the conclusion that Libya is a war-ridden country and that is all it will ever be.
For those who are unaware, Libya is currently going through a civil war where the tyrant warlord known as Khalifa Haftar is leading the LNA (Libyan National Army) in a coup d’etat against the GNA (Government of National Accord). Haftar, backed by the UAE, has taken over the Eastern part of the country but is still battling the GNA for the capital, Tripoli. This deadly war has resulted in the death of thousands of civilians, the displacement of hundreds of thousands, the destruction of cities and is further facilitating the illegal militias with the means to rob Libya of its wealth.
Given the country’s current state, it is no surprise that Libya is unable to control the recent outbreak of COVID-19. The healthcare system in Libya has always been heavily flawed and underfunded but the multiple wars have further deteriorated hospitals and health organizations. Along with the massive shortage in medical equipment, the ongoing chaos has made it practically impossible to perform adequate testing since civilian areas such as the airport and hospitals are being attacked.
People in Tripoli are being mercilessly shelled and forced to leave their homes. Families are sharing stories of having to live in their cars, setting up flimsy trailers or cramming into the homes of relatives. If you are one of the lucky ones that haven’t been forced out of your shelter yet, then most likely your water supply and electricity have been cut off. Haftar and his forces are purposely targeting civilians to add pressure on the GNA to surrender their power. These war crimes are taking place today, in the middle of a pandemic, and are not met with any scrutiny from the international community.
Life in Libya has been a nightmare for several years now but the vulnerability of the public during this pandemic is being accelerated rapidly by the poor living conditions citizens are being subjected to. Libyans are constantly being shown that their lives are not worthy of public outrage
as leaders of the most powerful countries continue funding this massacre without facing any backlash.
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Credit for featured image: ‘Which Death Is Going to Be Worse?’ Coronavirus Invades a Conflict Zone