Dienstag, 19. März 2013

Tripoli Witness

I learned of Rana Jawad´s book early last year. I could not find it in Libya nor in Austria, so I ordered it through Amazon. It only took the short period of ten weeks from ordering it to its delivery, maybe they thought that time doesn´t matter in Libya ;-)
The book has two parts: At first a surprsingly long part (making up 3/4 of the book) about how life was in in Gadaffi´s Libya. From private life over how journalists were treated up to official events. I you only happen to come to Libya after the revolution, this is your "Dummy´s guide to Libya". For most of this part I could only nod my head and have sometimes a smile on my lips. Of course it also brought up many old memories about how life was at those times.
However, I must add one thing: Rana described the "Great Man Made River Project" as the "Great Man Made Boring", describing it as the most boring thing she had experienced in Libya.
I strongly believe that the whole project is an incredible piece of engineering work. Unseen anywhere in the world. Pumping desert water over thousands of kilometers, making the desert green, bringing water to the coast. Many experienced in late 2011 what the project meant when the water stopped flowing. At the same time I always felt, that from an economic as well as an environmental point of view, this project was completely crazy. A waste of ressources. An Austrian consultancy, entrusted the judge the whole project in 2010 could not believe what they encountered. Their assessment was that water would last only for another 70 years.
On a different note, I would like to add, Rana, that our neighbours Switzerland are not part of Northern Europe !
The second part, tells about the 6 months of the revolution in Tripoli. Interesting insight, however I would have loved to read more about that times. Especially the time after May 2011 is completely missing. I personally, having been in Tripoli end July 2011, found that this was the most fierce but also interesting time of the revolution. It was the time when Tripoli was half empty and you had a feeling of a belagered city while NATO bombs were falling day and night.
Finally I am missing a bit of "witness reports" of the residents of Tripoli. After reading the book, I feel like in Tripoli there were only revolutionaries and that everybody was waiting for the "zero hour". Hearing some reports from the other side would be equally interesting. But I guess the interviews for those people would have to be done in Tunisia these days.

1 Kommentar:

  1. Interesting review. The other side, as you mention, has slipped "down the memory hole"- as John Pilger put it. I used to wonder what the book would be like. Now I know and I haven't missed anything.
    Someone from the 'third' side of the Libyan war.