DAY ONE: On Libyan–Tunisian border, it’s back to the future with refugees
3–4 June 2011 – Djerba, Tunisia
During the last air sanctions against Libya, imposed by the United Nations in 1992 over alleged Libyan involvement in the bombings of PanAm 103 and UTA 772, many Libyans travelling to and from Tripoli were forced to fly through Tunisia, travelling overland to and from the Tunisian border to their homes in Libya. With European Union sanctions now imposed on Libya, the old travel regime is back in force.
However, there is a new dimension to the air embargo on Libya. Attracted to the Libyan–Tunisian border by refugees, most African guest workers from sub-Sahara and pan-Sahel African nations, fleeing the fighting in their country, find that scores of international aid workers now occupy the tourist hotels of Djerba, the once popular Tunisian resort that has fallen on hard times after tour operators cancelled excursions following the Tunisian revolution earlier this year.
Today, prior to crossing into Libya, this reporter is witnessing representatives of the ‘misery industry’, young international aid workers with groups like the International Committee of the Red Cross, EU and International Organisation for Migration, lounging around the tourist hotels mingling with German and French pensioners eager to take advantage of the special travel packages being offered by a depressed Tunisian tourist industry.
Not only is war good for the weapons industry but refugee crises brought about by Western-implemented wars, fattening the wallets of NGOs anxious to cash in on the human misery created by Pentagon and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) overt and covert military operations. Meanwhile, here in Djerba, near the Libyan frontier, it’s pool-side and cold Heinekens for the NGO community here to ‘save’ the Libyan refugees.
DAY TWO: Western Libya portrait is not what is being painted by the Western media
4–5 June 2011 – Tripoli, Libya
Western media reports continue to indicate that Libyan rebels trying to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from power, backed by daily NATO airstrikes, are gaining ground in western Libya. During a six-hour drive from the Tunisian border to Tripoli, the Libyan capital, this reporter saw no signs of Libyan rebel successes in western Libya. In fact, I witnessed a spontaneous pro-Gaddafi demonstration on the main Tunisia–Tripoli highway in a town about one and a half hours west of Tripoli.
The green flag of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya not only adorn flag poles in towns from Tripoli to the Tunisian border, but a number of private residences are flying the green flag from their rooftops, on flag poles and even from outside of top-floor windows in medium-size and small towns alike along the main highway.
There are some telltale signs of previous fighting in the western part of the country – bullet holes in the walls of some buildings and even some more extensive structural damage – but there are no signs that the rebels, backed by the United States, NATO and the European Union, have any substantial support in western Libya. …..
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