I’m in South Africa following the news on Libya. The remainder of my expat colleagues were evacuated two days ago to Malta and from there they are all making their way home. I’m feeling a lot more relaxed now that they are out but now my heart and thoughts lay with my Libyan friends which I have been unable to contact since leaving.
I many ways I was extremely fortunate. Fortunate that I left Libya on the “Day of Rage” which was the start of the protests in Tripoli (small initially); Fortunate that I was still in the position to communicate with my family and friends abroad and tell them everything was ok.
I remember thinking the day before I left, after seeing BBC reports of protests in Benghazi, that things wouldn’t escalate and that the protests would surely not spread to Tripoli. I was so convinced I left most of my things in Tripoli. My other laptop, all my other clothes, my books etc. Not that these things are that important, but I really never thought that the proverbial shit would hit the fan.
It was only while in London that I started getting messages from friends who didn’t know that I’d left, asking me if I was ok and safe. Then I started seeing that my colleagues in Libya were saying that FB was being blocked and they’d lost internet access at work. I started to worry.
Then I got the dreaded phone call from a colleague telling me not to return to Tripoli unless specifically told to do so and that our colleagues were being evacuated.
I was lucky to get out before everything really started. If it had been a few days later, I would have been practically been uncontactable which would have left friends and family worrying about me.
I am now wondering what will happen with Libya. The country was not easy to adapt to, but I did fall in love with it. This post explains why. So it is quite difficult to see the country in this turmoil and being unable to contact my friends there makes it even harder.
If I’m unable to return to Libya any time soon, I want put out here that a part of me will miss my friends there and hope to see them soon…