When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Debris from combat last month at Tripoli airport
Debris from combat last month at Tripoli airport

-Analysis-

Over the past few days, armed gangs have been setting Libya ablaze. The slogans sound familiar: “May the martyr’s blood not be shed in vain!” Nothing could be less certain.

The country is sinking into chaos, and many Libyans say things are worse than the era of Muammar Gaddafi — the dictator who was overthrown in the 2011 revolution with the blood of another wave of would-be martyrs. And so, we are left to ask: What is all this dying for?

Libya is splintering. The scant political-administrative structures set up after 2011 are collapsing. Economic life is at a standstill. One after the other, the big diplomatic missions are leaving, so is the United Nations and many NGOs. Tripoli, the capital, Benghazi and the other big cities — those sheltering half of the country's 7 million inhabitants — are the stages for battles among rival armed groups.

And over the last couple of weeks, the violence has reached a dangerous new level.

Within the cities, forces attack each other with heavy weaponry, while shootings have rendered both major airports, those of Tripoli and Benghazi, unusable. Partially burned down, a huge gas and fuel storage threatens to explode near the capital. Last Tuesday, jihadists seized the main military base of Benghazi and its massive stock of arms and weapons.

Hard questions

Amid micro-confrontations here and there, the main battle seems to oppose hardliner camps. On one side are the forces of retired General Khalifa Haftar, gathered in the “Operation Dignity” movement, supported by elements of the former regime and militias of the Zintan region from western Libya. On the other side, a faction of Muslim brothers, from Islamist and jihadist groups, rallied together with militias from eastern Libya.

Abductions, assassinations, an explosive mix of organized crime and political settling of scores, all of this interspersed with artillery bombardment: Ordinary Libyans are left to live in deepening insecurity.

The dream of a tolerant Libya has vanished. What followed the savage, tribal and predatory dictatorship of Gaddafi is the reign of militias — predatory and tribal just the same, and completely foreign to the basic idea of a state under the rule of law.

The relevance of the intervention led by the U.S., France and Britain has to be questioned — an intervention that, at the time, was fully supported by Le Monde. Were Washington, Paris and London right to launch this air bombing campaign that allowed the rebels to defeat Gaddafi?

In retrospect, these are easy questions to bring to the table: The political decision of an intervention is sometimes taken in emergency, often for humanitarian reasons. But in view of the chaos spreading across Libya, these are questions that must be asked.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Society

Jehovah's Witnesses Translate The Bible In Indigenous Language — Is This Colonialism?

The Jehovah's Witnesses in Chile have launched a Bible version translated into the native Mapudungun language, evidently indifferent to the concerns of a nation striving to save its identity from the Western cultural juggernaut.

A Mapuche family awaits for Chilean President Gabriel Boric to arrive at the traditional Te Deum in the Cathedral of Santiago, on Chile's Independence Day.

Claudia Andrade

NEUQUÉN — The Bible can now be read in Mapuzugun, the language of the Mapuche, an ancestral nation living across Chile and Argentina. It took the Chilean branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a latter-day Protestant church often associated with door-to-door proselytizing and cold calling, three years to translate it into "21st-century Mapuzugun".

The church's Mapuche members in Chile welcomed the book when it was launched in Santiago last June, but some of their brethren see it rather as a cultural imposition. The Mapuche were historically a fighting nation, and fiercely resisted both the Spanish conquerors and subsequent waves of European settlers. They are still fighting for land rights in Chile.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ