It’s been a pretty eventful week for Libya. It seems that periods of stagnant idleness are often followed by bursts of bustling activity. Of course, not everything that happened is good news. In no particular order:
1) Alcohol Poisoning in Tripoli: The making and selling of home-made alcohol is no secret to Libyans, but it’s a taboo subject that no one wants to admit.
However, the issue was unavoidable when hundreds of people were admitted to the hospital suffering from alcohol poisoning. Dozens have died so far, and the Health Ministry is working to contain the issue.
The nation is split on where to put the blame. Some say it’s the fault of those buying the contraband booze and they ‘deserve what they got’. Others blame lax security, while others still say society is to blame for ignoring these issues. The government says they will ‘crack down’ on illegal alcohol.
2) National Budget Announced: The country says a collective, “FINALLY”, as the GNC decide on a 66-billion dinar budget. A long time coming, the budget will hopefully help complete the projects that were stopped during the revolution. Prominent among these are the housing projects that are much needed in the ever-growing cities of Tripoli and Benghazi.
3) Gaddaf-Aldem Arrested: For those of you unfamiliar with Gadhafi’s frizzy-haired cousin, Ahmed Gaddafi-Aldem was responsible for rallying mercenaries for Gadhafi during the revolution, while hiding out in Egypt. Accusations have been aimed at him ever since for trying to stir up trouble in Libya post-revolution. His capture coincides with the celebrations in Benghazi for March 19th.
4) March 19 Celebrations: And finally, this week in Benghazi we celebrated the 2nd anniversary of March 19,2011, the day when Gadhafi forces attempted to enter and destroy Benghazi as a means of putting an end to the revolution. It was also the day when NATO implemented the no-fly zone over Libya. I wrote an article last year detailed the events, including the martyrdom of a few brave pilots, for whom this day is dedicated. You can read the full article here.
The highlight of the day was the unveiling of several new monuments around Benghazi, and a fantastic airshow. We also received a surprise visit from Nicolas Sarkozy.