We Will Not Become Like Somalia – Interview with Libya’s Prime Minister

Published on Spiegel Online International, by Klaus Brinkbäumer and Susanne Koelbl, Aug 19, 2016: (Photo Gallery).

Since March, Fayez Sarraj has been the prime minister of Libya, a country torn by civil war. Now he is tasked with surmounting the country’s political divisions and leading the fight against the Islamic State and a network of human-traffickers transporting tens of thousands of migrants to Europe.  

The power goes out in the capital city for as long as 10 hours a day, there is little cash available at the banks, food prices have skyrocketed and every second hospital is closed due to a lack of medication or staff. There’s trash everywhere – on every street and every corner. People crouch as they walk. Shots can be heard – isolated ones – in what has become everyday life in Tripoli, Libya … //

… A Dark World: … //
… The Main Staging Ground on Path To Europe: … //

… SPIEGEL: Mr. Prime Minister, are you really the right man to lead Libya?

  • Sarraj: It would be better if you posed this question to the people of Libya — they are qualified to answer it. The situation here is complicated, and when I was appointed chairman of the Libyan presidency council, I was in any case ready to accept the assignment. We are hoping for support, both locally and internationally.

SPIEGEL: It is said that you are a good listener, that you’re well educated, that you’re not corrupt and, if we may say so, that you’re a pleasant man. Will you be taken seriously in a country as armed and brutal as Libya?

  • Sarraj: The Libyans have experienced a great deal of unrest and difficulties during the past five years, as well as a delicate security situation. They need a bit of peace and reflection.

SPIEGEL: You don’t have any apparatus of power — you don’t even have the power base to govern in Tripoli, not to mention the east. We’re sitting here at a naval base at the port, and you are relying on a militia to provide you with protection. Do you have any connection to your people whatsoever? … //

… SPIEGEL: What kind of Libya would you like to leave behind for your successor?

  • Sarraj: A secure and stable one, a prosperous one in which the people smile once again; our people have suffered very much and have a right to prosperity and security. One with better relationships to its neighbors, one in which the state functions and has the sole right to the use of force. One that is free of the Islamic State and one that has a self-evident place in the international community.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Prime Minister, we thank you for this interview.

(full long interview text, map).


The Limits of Excellence, on JACOBIN, by Clare Coffey, Aug 20, 2016: a feminism based on lionizing hyper-successful women obscures the unjust structures that need to be dismantled;

Private Prisons Are Far From Ended, 62 Percent of Immigrant Detainees Are in Privatized Jails, on truthout, by Victoria Law, Aug 19, 2016;

City of London abandons hope of staying in the single market, on Left Foot Forward, Aug 19, 2016;

Helping Hands on Holiday, How To Avoid the Pitfalls of Voluntourism, on Spiegel Online International, by Dan Archer, Aug 18, 2016: Volunteering in exotic places during vacation is a growing segment of the international travel market. But experts warn that meaning well can sometimes do more harm than good, particularly when children are involved;

The Nansen Passport, a Solution To The Legal Statuses Of Refugees, on Social Europe, by Stefan Wallaschek, Aug 5, 2016;

… and this:

  • Menousis – VANGELIS and IRENE PAPAS (subtítulos español), 6.36 min, uploaded by Charly Gehena, June 10, 2011 … and many more in autoplay.

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