Tripoli healing its wounds, uncertainties linger

Updated: 2011-09-28 09:04


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TRIPOLI - The tempo in the Tripoli Medical Center has slowed down to normalcy.

As a major hospital in the Libyan capital with a bed capacity of over 1,500, the Tripoli Medical Center has been one of the city's busiest places in the past seven months, when bloodshed was a common scene across the country.

"On August 21 and 22, the hospital was filled up with patients, mainly wounded by gunshots, and all the departments were treating gunshots day and night," said Ysmael Nebreja, a male Philippine nurse who has just finished a routine check-up for a hospitalized "revolutionary fighter" in the Trauma ICU.

The fighters belonging to the now ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) managed to overrun the city of Tripoli on August 23 after fierce clashes with the loyalist forces of fallen leader Muammar Gaddafi that led to numerous deaths.

Nebreja, working in the center for more than five years, said those nights were like a nightmare. "The emergency room was brimming with screams, and it was already a bless for those who survived," he said, opening the door of the ward of Adiyeh, around 25, whose case record at the bed-end tells that he was injured in Bani Walid, southeast of Tripoli and one of a couple of Gaddafi's remaining strongholds, and was sent to the hospital five days ago.

Under Adiyeh's quilt was his scrawny body with his right leg." I have to give my left leg up because it was severely wounded by fragments of a rocket," said the man in his raucous voice." Otherwise, I will die."

"But I don't worry now, as the Libyans are free. I will have no feeling of being handicapped in a new nation," Adiyeh told Xinhua, his eyes turning to the new tricolor NTC flag that was hung beside his bed, with courageousness that seems inappropriate to his physical build.

Adiyeh said he was eager to tour around the capital the day he fully recovers from the wounds. But the beautiful coastal city also needs time to recollect its charm.

Even before the clashes between the NTC and pro-Gaddafi forces, NATO, who said it was targeting Gaddafi's military facilities in Tripoli, has in fact indiscriminately laid bombshells in civilian communities in parts of the city.

In a neighborhood near the eastern suburb, Hamed's house was in holes.

The 58-year-old history teacher had moved with his wife and children out of Tripoli to his relatives elsewhere, but would return to the neighborhood to see the scars of the house from time to time.

Collecting one piece of used shrapnel near the kitchen, Hamed said they were everywhere in the house after the community was bombed in May. He added that he had intentionally left his front- yard unrepaired, where a 1990s Hyundai Verna had been badly burned and part of the collapsed roof tiles covering the car.

"I want more people to see all these, the war is a crime," Hamed said, before pointing at a smashed house, literally in ashes, on the opposite of the lane. "All the five people in that house were killed by one bombing," Hamed said, "including a kid of five."

But by now, the Libyan people have yet to be promised a reassuring future, as the NTC has repeatedly put off the formation of a functioning interim government -- partly due to the back-and- forth at the only remaining front lines in Bani Walid and Sirte, while partly due to its fledgling in politics and governance.

Just finished fishing with his bare hands near the beach along the Mediterranean, a man who identified himself as Mohamed told Xinhua that he was pleased to be able to fish at a place which was forbidden for local citizens for decades, as this part of the beach used to be privately owned by one of Gaddafi's sons.

The man, who was in his late sixties and had worked in a number of western countries, said changes were made and are being made in the city of Tripoli and the country at large. "But certainly they are far from enough," he said, finger-pointing at the immense beach, where all kinds of waste were scattered.


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