Libya for the Optimists, Libya for the Realists

In the aftermath of the revolution in Libya, large quantities of Unexploded Ordnance and stockpiles of munitions were exposed. UNMAS and its partners have collected and destroyed thousands of these remnants. UNMAS has also overseen the construction of a large-scale Ammunition Storage Area in Misrata, and work has begun on a second one in Zintan. One quarter of the UNMAS staff in Libya are female. UN Photo/Iason Foounten


Whether you’re optimistic about a place like Libya or not, it’s important that we make something clear: things are bad in Libya, and they don’t seem likely to get better anytime soon. 

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The removal of Colonel Gaddafi left a massive power vacuum, and the nation practically collapsed in on itself as a result, with different factions vying for the top spot. The country still hasn’t recovered, and this civil war is allowing extremist groups like ISIS to gain a foothold. Cities like Sirte and Derna have a known, public ISIS presence, and their influence seems only likely to grow. 

For the realist, that means our work in Libya could be stalled at any moment. In a flash, the cities where we are saving lives and building into peace could be overrun. Local funding or support for the work could dry up or be redirected, the fighting could intensify, and who knows what else could happen. 

The risk is real, but we will love anyway—for as long as we can. We’ll hold children, comfort parents, train doctors, and save lives for as long as we can. 

For the optimists, this is good news! We don’t work in Libya like martyrs, assuming the worst is just around the corner. Good things are in store for this country, and there’s already proof of it: hundreds of Libyan children are in their beds tonight, their hearts now whole. Parents can listen to that soft, steady breathing and know their child’s life was saved by people who love, people who hope! 

Thank you for looking at Libya, a country on fire, and choosing to love anyway. We’re with you, come what may.