Robin Yassin-Kassab, whose pieces on Egypt and Syria have recently appeared in the Guernica Daily, has been receiving information about the situation in Libya from a friend in Tripoli who remains nameless for her own safety. Here is her latest report, which originally appeared at QunFuz.com.
After more than ten days at home, yesterday morning I went out for some grocery shopping, and I noticed a sad and fearful quietness in the faces of the Libyans in the streets because of the inhumane events which are happening. The streets are very quiet and almost empty. People no longer feel safe enough to walk in the streets even in daylight. In fact, the shops near here are all closed; only a few small grocery markets are open so people can buy the basic needs (water, flour, oil).
There is an apparent shortage of all goods in the market, including dairy products, beverages, and vegetables. All the goods are highly expensive. We wanted to buy flour but we couldn’t find any. Also people are buying up whatever is available. Two days ago I saw my neighbors carrying big bags of flour. They told me that some bakeries are running out of bread, and that soon all bakeries and food shops will close. Prices of food have almost doubled (a bag of 20 eggs used to cost between 4.75/5LYD, and now it costs 10 LYD). People are suffering between the need to stock up with adequate quantities of food and water on the one hand and the sudden high prices on the other.
There is only one pharmacy in my area. It opens from 10am till 7pm (it used to be open 24/7). It used to have at least 6 people working in it; now there is only the owner of the pharmacy there. All shops and pharmacies close after the dusk prayer (around 7pm).
I tried to look for anti-Qaddafi graffiti on the walls, but I couldn’t find any. My friend told me that they cleaned some the streets prior the arrival of the press. He told me that he wrote “Enough of Qaddafi’s terror” one night and by the morning it had all disappeared.
These days, whoever thinks about complaining they can just read the news about Libya and they’ll re-think what really constitutes a “bad day”. People in Tripoli want to protest, but they are scared, as Tripoli is staffed with tanks, thousands of mercenaries are hidden in every corner of the city, snipers perch from many buildings in every area. There is a video of a civilian (not for the squeamish) who was shot in daylight by a sniper in Fashloom, which is near my area, and no-one could even tell where the shooting came from.
Apparently Qaddafi wants the situation in Libya to end in the worst possible way. He must be certain that he is pathetic and has no more power and that no matter how much violence he may use, he will be toppled.
The people in Tripoli are trapped; they kill whoever tries to protest before they have the chance to. Yet I heard there will be another big demonstration this coming Friday after prayers, starting from different mosques around all Tripoli, as the mosque is the only place where people can be gathered. I heard that this time the protesters are advised to protest in separate groups, and not to all gather and become trapped in one place (such as Green Square) so that they won’t be massacred by the thugs of Qaddafi and his evil sons.
People from Benghazi and all the east and west (Misurata, Zawiya) are ready to join the Libyans in Tripoli, but they anxiously fear severe aircraft attacks by Qaddafi. That’s why all Libyans around the world are urging the need for no-fly zone in Libya.
Speaking of Benghazi, my friend there told me there are tunnels in Benghazi’s underground prisons from which screams are still being heard, but the prisoners can’t be found! I was also informed that a 60-year-old man (who was armed only with signs and slogans) was shot five times by non-Libyan mercenaries during peaceful demonstrations in Benghazi. Another source told me that the Battalion of Khamis Qaddafi had kidnapped young protestors in the outskirts of Misurata, brutally beat them and forced them to claim that they were merely rebellious terrorists under the influence of drugs. A filthy attempt to contaminate the credibility of the historical Libyan revolution. At the same time, the delusional and paranoid Qaddafi is still turning a blind eye by saying: “All the people love me and will die for me”!
This thing Qaddafi (I refuse to call him a human or an animal as they are God’s creatures and he clearly is not) also told America’s ABC channel that he is surprised the West is abandoning him now that he is fighting Al Qaeda! Qaddafi is fighting al Qaeda? How? By using deadly force against his own people? Or by randomly shooting people coming out of prayers? Or by kidnapping the martyrs he murdered from hospitals for mass burials or to burn them? Or by abducting the injured to finish them or bury them alive? For 42 years this has been his methodology, his bloody line of attack, killing his own people in every city to sow in us fear and inferiority. Yet no matter how many decades he managed to terrorize Libyans, today the grandchildren of Omar Al Mukhtar have woken up and smelled freedom.
Apparently Qaddafi wants the situation in Libya to end in the worst possible way. He must be certain that he is pathetic and has no more power and that no matter how much violence he may use, he will be toppled. The question is: how long before he ends up with a bullet in his head, or hanging from a lamp post?
By God this Qaddafi is so cowardly right now; none is more cowardly than him. He and his gangsters are trembling. He has nothing to do but to expose his very true personal Libyan Mafia to the world. The more cities he loses control over, the more he threatens and the more blood he adds to his hands.
But tomorrow will be the day of freedom and dignity. I am the daughter of Libya and the daughter of a martyr (who was murdered by Qaddafi’s coldblooded regime). I am proud that my father died an honorable death. Tomorrow, by God’s will, I can see the children of Libya living in greatness so I can lift my head up high and say: I am a Libyan, I am a Libyan!
May peace and blessings be upon Libya.
This piece originally appeared at QunFuz.com.