In this second oil-rich country queues of cars now wait for petrol. Other queues also form, with people carrying containers for water.
At one time the multibillion-dollar development of Libya’s vast underground aquifers was dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world.”
Shops are without food. And with electricity largely off, those seeking knowledge as to whether friends and relatives are alive, injured, fled or dead find the internet and phones cut off.
The terribly injured overwhelm hospitals, many of which have been bombed, damaged or left without power and pharmaceuticals.
No power means no incubators, life-support machines or surgery.
So here is another country with a modern, developed infrastructure reduced to a pre-industrial age. And the rebuilding contracts are reportedly already being divvied out in the West.
Nato members, however, eat as their bombs destroy humanity and vital necessities for living.
Over a “working lunch” on April 14 they “deplored violence” and underlined the need “to restore water, gas, electricity and other services.”
Still depriving others of the means to cook or of any semblance of normality, at another “working lunch” on June 8, they further discussed their “clear mandate to protect civilians (and) populated areas … taking the utmost care to avoid civilian casualties.”
This as “Tripoli experienced what were perhaps the heaviest daylight bombardments by Nato since the air strikes began in March.” So wrote the Guardian on the very same day.
As they masticated and munched, they vowed to bring “a speedy resolution … to put an end to the violence” under “Operation Unified Protector.”
There’s the delusional and there’s the arguably psychotic.
A number of lunches later, on August 23 spokeswoman Oana Lungesco reaffirmed Nato’s “mandate to protect civilians.”
How this squares with hitting “over 5,000 legitimate targets [in a] 24/7 operation [with] over 20,000 sorties” is confusing.
Equally so is how destruction of services essential to essential to maintaining life, state institutions, schools, hospitals, archeological sites and treasures, attacking of all which is illegal under swathes of international law, are included in this “legitimacy.”
By September 1, Nato operations from March 31 had reached “a total of 21,090, including 7,920 strike sorties.”
This “shock and awe” brigandage is being rained down by a 28-country alliance on a country of just under 6.5 million people – less than the population of London.
Tripoli’s population is just over a million. Or at least it was until unknown numbers of souls were liberated from their lives in a bombardment which started with the unleashing of 110 cruise missiles on March 20 – eight years to the day of the start of the Iraq invasion.
Coincidentally, the Western-backed and funded “uprising” in Benghazi which preceded the bombing began on February 15 – the eighth anniversary of the largest global peace rally in history when millions from Manchester to Melbourne and Hong Kong to Honolulu rallied against an attack on Iraq.
The invaders though, have “learned from past mistakes.” The “new Libya” will not be like the “new Iraq.”
But it is surely beginning to look chillingly like it.
Gadaffi, much like Saddam, has a million-dollar bounty on his head and is “wanted dead or alive.”
Further, if the US and Britain were blindly ignorant of Iraq’s social and tribal complexities, those of Libya are more so in orders of magnitude.
Just prior to the Iraq invasion, Colin Powell was quoted as telling George W Bush that after the onslaught: “You will own 27 million people, Mr President.”
At the so-called Friends of Libya gathering in Paris on September 1, hosted by Prime Minister Cameron and President Nicolas Sarkozy, a gloating, unnamed British official is quoted in the Economist as saying: “Nato’s involvement in the Libyan uprising means that now we own it.”
For the omen-prone, watching Western threats to an ever-rising number of countries – Syria and Iran currently topping the list – September 1 was the 62nd anniversary of the German invasion of Poland and the second world war.
Sarkozy, who according to Gadaffi’s son Saif al-Islam received funding from his family for his 2007 French presidential election campaign, is widely reported to have been promised one third of Libya’s oil by the insurgents, the National Transitional Council prior to Nato involvement.
With “friends” like these, Libya certainly needs no enemies.
“The international community will be watching and supporting” Libya, said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, adding requirements to the new Libyan constitution.
There is a “clear road map to democracy.” Afghan and Iraqi puppets are now being joined by Libyan ones.
When it comes to the rebuilding of Libya, “investors can’t call the tune” was one theme. It must be “Libyan-led.”
British Foreign Secretary William Hague blew that lie. Britain, he said, “would not be left behind.”
Much Western focus has been on rebuilding the oil industry. Heaven forbid that too follows the Iraq model, with the bereaved, dispossessed and invaded blowing up the pipelines – and contractors.
It also transpires that Britain’s – surely mistitled – International Development Minister, former oil trader Alan Duncan, allegedly had a hand in and connections to Swiss-based energy giant Vitol, which established links with the NTC rebels while starving Gadaffi’s troops of transport fuels.
Vitol president Ian Taylor has allegedly donated very large sums to Cameron’s Tory Party.
Opposition MPs are citing a possible covert “Libyan oil cell,” a deal allegedly worth billions of dollars, and have questioned whether Duncan’s fingerprints are on it.
As to the “Friends of Libya” conference, there was one dissenting voice.
International relations expert Bertrand Badie told Xinhua: “I think this conference is a very bad sign because starting a process of state-building by an international conference dominated by Western powers … will probably be even more difficult to establish a consensual plan and make it accepted by the population.”
But even he did not mention the mind-bending illegalities.
The half-day carve-up – sorry, “meeting” – regarding assets of another sovereign land was followed by “a dinner,” according to a US State Department spokeswoman.
Activist Sandra Barr has compiled just a small snapshot of a vast tragedy. A few incidents among uncounted others, “collateral” humanity, to add to a pitiless 20-year rampage through mortality, legality, basic values and all the normal hold precious.
“May 13 2011: The murder of 11 Muslim imams in Brega
April 30 2011: The bombing of the Down’s syndrome school in Tripoli
April 30 2011: The bombing of a Gadaffi residence, murdering Saif Gadaffi, his friend and three Gadaffi children
June 12 2011: The bombing of the University of Tripoli. Death toll not yet established.
July 22 2011: The bombing of the great man-made waterway irrigation system, which supplies most Libyans with their drinking water
July 23 2011: The bombing of the factory which makes the pipes for the water system and the murder of six of its employees
August 8 2011: The bombing of the Hospital at Zliten, resulting in the murder of a minimum of 50 human beings, many of them children. The bombing of hospitals is against all international laws and a most grievous crime
August 9 2011: The bombing of the village of Majer, resulting in the murder of 85 civilians – 33 children, 32 women and 20 men
The persistent ongoing bombing of the civilian population in Zliten and Tripoli, death toll not yet established
David Cameron has admitted that UK special services have assisted the terrorists on the ground, in defiance of the UN mandate.”
Cameron has now gone further, admitting that British forces played a “key role.”
Barr demands the International Criminal Court take a stance. Sadly, it would amaze if it did.