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Libya, my failing country

Returning to Libya after three years, the author finds a mostly hopeless population desperate for security and stability.
The charred remains of a vegetable market is seen in the town of Bani Walid on October 31, 2012, one of the final bastions of supporters of late Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.  The town had been besieged and then attackedlast week as authorities sought to arrest those who captured and tortured Omran Shaaban, a 22-year-old former rebel credited with  Kadhafi's capture.  AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD TURKIA        (Photo credit should read MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images)
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After nearly three years of living in Europe I decided to go home for a visit. I spent six weeks between Tripoli, the capital, and Bani Walid, my hometown. The whole experience was like visiting a foreign country and, despite my well-traveled life, my home country seemed like a strange place to me.

The first thing that struck me was how desperate and disappointed Libyans are three years after the NATO-backed rebels toppled the Moammar Gadhafi regime in what is wrongly described as a “revolution” instead of a civil war, as my old schoolmate had described what happened in 2011. When the war ended, Libyans were full of hope and optimism. Today, they are hopeless and pessimistic as never before.

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