Despite being geographically close to Libya, few of us know its everyday reality. Even though we hear about the events on international and local news, seldom do we hear the story from those who lived in the revolution, determined to get a wider picture I met with Yazeed Sasi.
Libyan Yazeed Sasi is an Electrical engineer who also holds Maltese citizenship, despite living in Malta he often returns to Libya and wanted to share his plea of a ‘re- revolution’.
In Malta Gaddafi used to be thought of as the one doling out money, as a person who made much of the Maltese working in Libya rich however Sasi explains that for the forty two years of his “invasion” he invested in every country except his own. “We didn’t see anything” he admits,” his idea of ruling was to leave people poor and ignorant because the educated could easily rebel against his system of power”, Sasi says.
The intervention in Libya only came to be when countries understood Gaddafi’s power had reached its end, Sasi says, every country thought about conveniently setting up good relations with the ones who would gain power.
In that situation Malta had stepped up its humanitarian aid and became an evacuation and humanitarian hub for those living in Libya. During the revolution numerous victims were brought for treatment in Malta these included Shwejga Mullah, the Ethiopian nanny to the children of Hannibal Gaddafi (son of Col. Gaddafi).
The idea which prevailed in Malta was that this medical intervention came out of generosity, however Sasi explains the New Libyan Government paid some $1.5 billion for medical care to Libyan evacuees. He added that maybe the first few patients where free as it was an emergency. The Maltese Foreign Affairs Ministry dismissed this information without giving any further explanations.
In February 2011 the health ministers from Malta and Libya signed a memorandum, Minister Joe Cassar and Dr Fatima Hamroush explained the memorandum was of generic nature and listed provisions regarding the Maltese and Libyan health department assistance to each other. It also involved provisions on procurement, intervention, human resources, education and specialisation. Sasi explains this is very curious since the Libyan health sector is in a very bad state in fact health facilities in Libya are only used for primary care, in order to get specialised care one has to go to Tunis. “My brother’s son is in Tunis for care” he says in fact his family tried to bring the boy for hospital care in Malta however it was hard for them to get a visa, “the embassy told us to wait two or three weeks for an interview,” he admits.
The Ministry refrained to comment on specific cases however said that in a similar case the applicant was refused a Visa, exclusive to Malta, and failed to understand that a Schengel zone Visa requires a longer period of time to be issued. Furthermore they specified he had no supporting evidence to any medical appointments. In Sasi’s family case the patient wanted to arrive in Malta and pursue care once he’s in the country, it is quite hard in that situation to obtain any prior agreement with the Maltese hospital and present evidence to the Libyan embassy.
The Maltese intervention went a step further when in 2011 two Libyan Air Force fighter pilots defected to Malta the Libyan government had formerly asked for the fighters to be returned to Libya, however the Maltese government refused, Sasi said had it been otherwise Libya would have been shattered.
With an election on its way many news agencies including Reuters and the Libyan Herald reported that the National Transition Council have introduced tight new registration guidelines on political organisations to stop the rise of a blizzard of religious and separatist parties. As far as Sasi knew it is only extremist who aren’t allowed to participate in the election, however he admits, elections are “not democratic” he said what happened from Gaddafi to the National Transition Council was merely a transfer of power.
Yazeed Sasi has recently come from Libya and he declares that even thought there is a transition government it looks like the country has no government. “The whole power is in the revolutionaries and the government is weak because of them.” He adds “it’s like a civil war,” no one feels safe; he explains how one can buy a Kalashnikov for some $800 without a license.
Asked if Libya is better than the Gaddafi era he bluntly answers no “I hope it will be better but it’s not.” He clarified that Gaddafi had to step down however at least back then they felt safe, “we need another revolution.” He repeats over and over again.
- Muammar Gaddafi confirmed killed
by MaltaMedia News -20 October 2011
- Libyans attracted by wages and freedom in Malta
by MaltaMedia News -29 March 2009
- Libyan Minister flees to Malta
by MaltaMedia News -7 April 2011
- 23 Maltese want to stay in Libya, Malta implements UN sanctions
by MaltaMedia News -27 February 2011
- More Libyans to arrive in Malta for treatment
by MaltaMedia News -20 September 2011