In the wake of last year’s events, Libya is working its way towards elections, a new constitution and a new government. Libyans have earned their freedom and are now working out the steps to democracy – or something like it.
But the excitement is over for the rest of the world. Libya does not feature so much in people’s thoughts now that the drama is past. Most of us don’t really think about what life is like in post-Gaddafi Libya. We don’t stop to consider how things have changed and what the issues are. There are, no doubt, many.
Since returning to Libya, some workers there have shared their thoughts as they see the changes that have taken place, good and bad. Here are a few things we’ve picked up from their communications…
Safety at night: It is not safe to go out at night and there are more incidents of car theft. In this sense freedom has decreased.
Freedom of speech: People recognise that they now have freedom to give their opinion on something or someone. Under Gaddafi, doing this could land you in trouble.
Discipline in school: Many students are skipping class regularly and graffiti is appearing everywhere. When asked why, they respond that they are expressing their new-found freedom.
Artistic expression: Graffiti is everywhere, including different manifestations of the new flag and slogans such as ‘God made Libyans free’. Much of it is very well done, we are told, a statement of freedom rather than simple vandalism.
Open gratitude: Many Libyans call out in the streets to thank Westerners for the involvement of NATO. They are even saying that they like Americans – quite a turnaround considering America’s past relationship with the country.
Wanting to help: Locals are taking the initiative in filling gaps where needed and setting up new things. For example, one family is opening a centre for women.
Followers of Christ: Many people are thought to have come to Christ last year. They need boldness to come together and meet for fellowship and encouragement.
Though we don’t know what the year holds for Libya, it does seem that this is an opportune time for the gospel to be proclaimed. Libyans are more receptive now and perhaps more willing to choose Christ.
Please pray for Pioneers workers in Libya, that they may make the most of this time and have fruitful conversations with friends and work colleagues.
Please also pray for us at Arab World Media, a ministry of Pioneers. During the first quarter of 2012, our online ministry team is seeking to draw more people in from Libya (and Saudi Arabia) through advertising and focussed content. We hope to see a big increase in the number of Libyan spiritual enquirers in 2012.
You can also sign up to receive monthly prayer requests for the ten countries we’re focussing on this year.