Youssef crossed the Sahara desert with a folded school map of Europe in his pocket. “Could you please point [out] Lampedusa in the map for me? I cannot find it.”
"Can there possibly be anything more satisfying than teaching your own language to your own people?" Abdel Salam Wahali remarked to IPS. He is a teacher of Tebu, an ancient language which is experiencing a boom in post-Gaddafi Libya.
Car accident in Omar Mokhtar Avenue in downtown Tripoli. Nobody was injured but there’s a bumper hanging off the back of a car. In just a few seconds, a group gathers around.
The linchpin of an empire is the link between two elites, one in the imperial centre, the others in the peripheries. Symmetric alliances exist, but not when there is a superpower at the centre.
"Oil tankers won´t get crude from this port until Tripoli finally meets our demands," says Younis, one of the Amazigh rebels today blocking one of Libya´s largest gas and crude oil plants.
“The government doesn’t care about us because we are from the south,” Mohamed Salah Lichekh, head of the Oubari local council in southern Libya, told IPS, expressing the majority sentiment in this part of the country.
The soldiers of former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi had left just a few days before, but a group of about 50 children were already singing in the Amazigh language in the village of Yefren, 110 kilometres south of Tripoli. This month will mark two years since the establishment of the first Amazigh school in Libya.
All eyes have turned to Libya since Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou’s statement claiming that recent attacks in north Niger were perpetrated by Malian terrorists based in south Libya.
Kaltoum Saleh, 18, is elated to graduate from her overcrowded high school in the remote Saharan town of Ubari, near the Algerian border.
Tunisian families have begun to dread knocks on their doors, or late-night phone calls, fearing that the messenger will bear the news that their son has been smuggled out of the country to join the “jihad” in Syria.
While the tenth anniversary last month of Washington’s invasion of Iraq provoked overwhelmingly negative reviews of the adventure except among its most die-hard neo-conservative proponents, a more recent - albeit far less dramatic and costly - intervention has faded almost completely from public notice.
In Libya, a dose of LSD or the painkiller tramadol costs 78 cents, and a joint of cannabis is 7.80 dollars. Here, drugs are affordable to the poor for a simple reason. “Slashing prices is a way to create demand and open up a market,” a Western diplomat tells IPS in Tripoli, the capital.
“We need a solution. The U.N. has created the problem, and they should do their work and fix it,” says Bright, a young Nigerian stuck in the Choucha refugee camp in Tunisia, a few kilometres from the Libyan border.
For Egypt’s commercial marine fishermen, making a living has never been more dangerous. Egyptian crews driven further afield in search of fish have faced pirate attacks, spent months in dingy foreign prisons, and come under fire from coast guard vessels. Dozens of fishermen have been held for ransom, abused by authorities, or shot and killed.
Having survived the announced end of the world on Dec. 21, we can now try to foretell our immediate future, based on geopolitical principles that will help us understand the overall shifts of global powers and assess the major risks and dangers.