Friday 23 June 2017

Hating Gaddafi and Co came easy to Libyans

Patrick Cockburn in Tripoli

THE new rulers of Libya, the Transitional National Council (TNC), have arrived in town. I know this because they just kicked me out of my painfully acquired hotel room when they took over the whole of the eighth floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel where I am staying.

My eviction did not elicit much sympathy from other journalists, many packed two or three to a room, when I explain I have been given another room and have it all to myself. The previous occupant, who had not done much clearing up before he departed, left behind an Omani military yearbook and some torn-up notebooks. He may have been one of the elusive group of Arab military officers who gave technical advice to the rebels, assuring their victory.

Even so, I wish the unknown officer had not taken the room's only towel which I am unlikely to get replaced. The Radisson may once have been a luxury hotel in Tripoli with its 350 rooms and 40 or so suites, which were once looked after by 400 staff, but this number is now down to about 20 harassed young men and two or three women. They heroically try to cope with the hordes of journalists pleading for a room that have descended on Tripoli since the city fell last week and they now have to deal with more peremptory instructions from the TNC as well.

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