The race for Tripoli

It’s beach towels on sunbeds at Ras Jedir, where the world’s media are waiting to see if the Tunisian border with Libya opens up in the same way that Egypt did last week. Once you have your spot, you hold on to it. Once an hour they fill up with TV reporters feeding the beast. And then they empty out again.

And all the while, more than 10,000 people are walking through the crossing every day – mostly young, Egyptian men who made the most of Gaddafi’s policy of welcoming Africans to work in his oil fields and building sites. Now though they are trying to get home. The numbers are immense and must mean the whole of Libya is shutting down. And what about the knock-on effects through Africa, where economies have benefited from remittances sent back by sons, husbands and fathers? Not to mention the countries that have benefited from Gaddafi’s oil money over the years.

Anyway, none of that is on our minds here. This is the starting point of the race for Tripoli. From here it’s about 170km to the Libyan capital. All we need is the border guards to go home…


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