‘Libya deserves to recover’: Author highlights country’s plight after Bury book launch

Rory O’Keeffe, who launched his book chronicling the conflict during and after the Libyan Civil War in Manchester last week, has said that he believes the country could ‘never recover’.

Mr O’Keeffe, a former political editor of a daily newspaper, launched his book The Toss of a Coin: Voices From a Modern Crisis at the Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre on Saturday December 12.

The book features first-hand accounts from refugees and others affected by the Libyan conflict and draws on his own experiences from his time living and working in a refugee camp in the war-torn country.

And speaking to MM , Mr O’Keeffe said that the people of Libya ‘deserve better lives’.

“It is about what people had suffered, their lives have been full of disaster and chaos,” he said.

“People don’t deserve to have their lives ruined; most people affected were just living normal lives.

“These people deserve better lives. Libya deserves to recover.

“If things continue as they are it could take decades if not forever for them to recover.

“Libya is an important geographical state for Europe, it is important for Europe that it recovers.”

Mr O’Keeffe described the Bury book launch as ‘a really good opportunity to tell people about the Libyan Civil War’, and will hope that, between the book and his public efforts, awareness will be raised.

The book acts not only as a way to take readers to the heart of the international crisis but to remind them of those who have been affected and how they have overcome the difficulties of war.

“A lot of the time it is easy to get caught up in numbers and statistics,” he said.

“A lot of people had stories and wanted to share them with people. It wasn’t necessary to help people but that is what has come out of it.”

As it becomes increasingly clear that the removal from power of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 has failed to solve problems in the area, focus is beginning to be shone again on its troubles, with Mr O’Keeffe describing talks between the General National Congress and the House of Representatives as ‘a positive thing’.

But the author said that the ‘international community needs to be much more open to ideas’, whilst saying that the imbalance between media coverage of Libya and Syria was disproportionate.

“The Syrian crisis is receiving a lot media focus, North Africa often gets over looked,” he said.

“About 20 percent of those who have crossed the EU are from North Africa.

“I think the airstrikes in Syria are a bad idea, politicians want to wipe out IS Syria.

“The bombing is a mistake. It will fuel ISIS.”

Image courtesy of RugbyGoes, via Flickr, with thanks

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