‘There Was No ‘Revolution”: Libyans Reflect on Decade of Chaos That Followed Gaddafi’s Ouster

Monday marks the tenth anniversary of the beginning of large-scale violent protests against long-time Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. In March of 2011, NATO-led forces launched an aerial operation in support of rebel forces, allowing them to achieve victory and, shortly after, plunging the country into the status of a failed state.

Before the Arab Spring, Libya was the most prosperous country in Africa, enjoying the strongest Human Development Index (HDI) figures, the lowest infant mortality, and the highest life expectancy on the continent.

Today, Libya is divided among multiple warring factions, has areas with open air slave markets, and serves as a hotspot for immigrants and refugees willing to risk life and limb to make their way to Europe. Despite its wealth in energy resources, wide swathes of the country remain cut off from gas, electricity, and water.

Ten years since the February 2011 Benghazi protests that would eventually lead to the collapse of the Gaddafi government, dubbed the Libyan “Revolution” by Western media, many Libyans are cynical about the fruits of the chaos and unrest that the ‘revolution’ has brought with it.

“Branches of the Muslim Brotherhood control part of Libya’s territory. Naturally, they could not even have dreamed about this before. Now they are supported by Turkey, which sends them money or weapons. They also cooperate with other extremists movements of political Islam in North Africa, and are enjoying a real flourishing,”…

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