Benghazi Is A War Zone


february 12, 2015


It’s almost 8:00 pm, sitting home with no power, no gas in my car, and no cooking gas to eat heated food. The only things keep my body warm are the four layers of clothes I wear right now. I had exactly 40% of battery in my laptop, which motivated me to write this post and to make me busy and thinking free of the sound of clashes and explosions outside.

It all started in mid October, when Gen Khalifa Hifter decided to move forward Benghazi to freed it from some terrorist organizations who have taken over the city the last months. I am not going to write detailed information, most of people who watch the news know what exactly happened. Despite the debate and political arguments everyday, there are ordinary people living everyday different life in a war zone.

Mostly in the morning, I have to walk to the adjacent bakery to get some fresh bread. Before, getting fresh breads in the morning was as easy as getting a cup of coffee from the nearest coffee shop. But now, I have to stand in lines for 30 to 45 minutes to get some breads. Why is that happening? According to some Government spokesman, there is a shortage in flours. The reasons of this shortage are the financial situation in Libya that prevent the government to import flours quickly, and most of flour stock located in the war zone within Benghazi, which makes it harder. Eighty percent of Libyan food depends almost on bread. It’s like Mexican people depend on tortilla, or Asian people depend on rice. In other wards, I have to get bread in the morning to eat something during the day.

When it comes to the bread, it’s something extra for several people. I am talking here about sick people who have to go to hospitals in order to get some medical service. This became nightmares for many people. Kidney department, which is a place for many people to get dialysis at least three times a week, was closed due to clashes close to the hospital. Lots
hospitals are closed because their locations in the war zone. The other working hospitals suffer from medical supplies shortage. The reasons are the same with the bread problems, which are finical issues lead to delay importing the medical supplies. It’s not the only issues, working hospital suffer also from the number of medical staff as well. As we know, most of medical staff in Benghazi’s hospitals are foreigners. Most of them fled the country because of the unrest. In addition, many of Libyan medical staff had to leave Benghazi and to be refugee somewhere else as their homes located in a war zone. It is also difficult for sick people to drive as there is gas shortage.

A lot of Gas stations are shut down, as there is no gas coming. If one gas station opens, I would wait in lines no less than 5 hours to fill my car. I see people making BBQ while they are waiting in the line. I’m bringing my books to read. Shortage issue started with closing the main commercial port in Benghazi due to clashes inside the port. Therefore, ships loaded with gas now have to port in Tobruk. Then, they empty the gas in tank trucks and ship it to Benghazi. The main problem is that Tobruk port cannot handle this amount of operation as the port designed to deal with particular number of ships.

Cooking gas became luxury in the previous four months. It is impossible to get a cooking gas cylinder. Again, the similar reason with gas, ships loaded with raw cooking gas have to port in Tobruk’s port, with less ability to operate enormous numbers that serve a city as Benghazi. How people of benghazi get over it? by not using gas stoves. Instead, they use stoves work with electricity. People start to buy small stoves with one or two heads to use it everyday. But that does not keep us away from problems as we have constantly power cut.

In these four months, which is the coldest months in the year, we suffer a lot of power cuts. Power cuts at least 2 hours a day. We had many times when we got Black Out on the whole city. Sometimes the black out lasts for more than 48 hours. I couldn’t figure out reasons cause this power cut problem. The only reason is the war zone.

Prices of goods soar up as the port is closed. All goods now have to be shipped from other ports in Libya, resulting extra cost. Therefore, prices of goods went up. In addition, prices of Dollar to Libyan Dinar also went up. This expensive goods make people spend a lot of money, so they must get the money form the banks into their pockets.

Many banks within the city are closed due to the security issues. Only a few are open outside Benghazi. You can imaging when people go to get their money. Yes, again you have to stand in lines no less than two hours.

Schools are closed, and learning for kids has stopped. Children should get some education as they are fast growing brains. There are some schools are open, only because some refugees families stay there. These families suffer from all pervious things (bread, gas, cooking gas, education, and power) in addition to leaving their homes.

I became well-known with sound of clashes, gunfights, shilling and loudly explosions. This became typical in my life as the war continues. The only anxiety is to be hit by random gunshots or falling mortars while I move around. That day, I was home playing with my little baby girls, only five months and four of them with this crisis, when noisy explosions erupted. Fragmented pieces of metal and shrapnel hit my home making intense damage. A mortars has fallen in front of my home, no one injured. This is the only fear of everyday when you live in a war zone.

Several people ask me to leave, to find another life away from this chaos. The truth is that I never stope thinking of leaving. But something inside me keeps telling me that all this going to end soon. Telling me the future will be much better. This war will end soon, and we will live normal life. Optimistic! Oh yes! I have no doubt, no worry, it’s only dark could and will go away, and the sun will rise and shine again. This is what I can see in people’s eyes here in Benghazi. When I talk with them, they feel optimistic about the future. It turned out the same sound inside them keeps telling them it is going to be all right. We all trust in Allha.