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May 2012, Almost freedom, Tripoli


On 7 July 2012, Libya held its first democratic election since 1964, when Muammar Qaddafi took power. Local armed groups have played the central role, whereas national armed groups do not have significant capacity or legitimacy. In Libya rebels have turned vigilante, exploiting the lack of government organisation and absent social security. Even inside the capital city of Tripoli where I was based for two weeks in may 2012, fears of gun crime remain high. A concern exacerbated by speculative knowledge of the number of weapons currently in circulation. The most part of young men had guns and had fought in the revolution, though the sentiment was quite apprehensive of the sense of change the war had brought. People were tired of fighting, they wanted to see things go back to normal. It seemed thought that the worst of the revolution was over, business had resumed, entrepreneurs were taking opportunities, and people participated in leisure activities. As this goes on though, government’s ministers repeatedly reassure the Libyan community that they are in a process of change. In may 2012 they seem they were almost freedom.

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