Life Goes on for Libyans in Tripoli despite Clashes

Wednesday, 24 April, 2019 - 05:00
Tripoli - Asharq Al-Awsat

Despite the war on Tripoli's doorstep, residents are filling the salons and cafes in some quarters of the Libyan capital as they carry on as best they can.

"Life has to go on. It will end when it ends," said Samira, who runs a hair and beauty salon in Tripoli's central Ben Achour neighborhood.

Originally from neighboring Tunisia, Samira has been living in Libya for years and her salon is always packed with clients.

"At least three or four brides come in each week to have their hair done and get ready for their big day," she said, as she prepared a palette of eyeshadows and brushes to start making up a young bride.

"That's as well as dozens of women who come for a haircut, to get a makeover, or skincare before a big event," she added.

Tension has been high in Tripoli since Libyan National Army (LNA) chief Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive on April 4, aimed at seizing the capital from the UN-backed unity government based there.

Tripoli residents fear that the battle could escalate into a wider conflict that would devastate the North African country, already rocked by years of instability and economic hardship since Moamer Gaddafi was ousted in 2011.

But for now, the honking of car horns on the seafront is louder than the distant boom of rockets and gunfire.

Schools and businesses in Tripoli remain open when they can, while residents of the Mediterranean city try to indulge in their favorite leisure activities.

"Libya is not just about television footage showing tanks and militiamen brandishing their guns or destroyed buildings," said schoolteacher Mariam Abdallah.

"We are still having weddings, parties, school activities and sports events."

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