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Dr. Franklin Lamb, Contributing Writer
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On 8/17/11 things abruptly changed and no one knows for sure in which direction daily life is now headed. Starting just before noon, much, if not most of Tripoli was without power. At my hotel, one of only two in Tripoli with even sporadic Internet these days (even though parts of Tripoli regularly experiences South Beirut Lebanon type sudden cuts that can last for hours or days) the services abruptly stopped for all staff and guests. Initially some guests were stuck in the elevator and a few appeared to panic. Our hotel rooms, which for security reasons have windows which don’t open began to heat up fast, laptop batteries quickly died, the weak Internet vanished, and this observer, like others, was faced with the prospect of walking down and up eighteen floors to keep appointments in the street level reception area. Two of my Libyan friends, who work in one of the hotel restaurants called my room to ask me if I wanted them to walk up some lunch. Profoundly touched by their thoughtfulness, which seems typical of Libyans, I reminded them that I was fasting for Ramadan and in any case would not think of accepting their kind offer. Not long after, the hotel emergency generator kicked in and the elevator began working, but no power anywhere else inside the hotel.
Some people are leaving Tripoli but it’s hard to estimate how many. Most people I have asked say they will stay, and they do not think “NATO rebels” can enter this well-armed and apparently well-organized city of still around 1.5 million people.
Libyan students at Tripoli’s Al Fatah University and even some government officials have told this observer that they have vowed to dig in and wage a “Stalingrad Defense” of Tripoli against the advancing “NATO rebels.” Certainly the neighborhoods are very heavily armed.
Franklin, you asked me how we will defend our capitol Tripoli if NATO bombs a path so rebel forces can arrive here and try to enter our neighborhoods. We discuss this often among ourselves during the night. This is what we have to say to answer your question.
It is not private information that our defense will be from every buildings on every main street, square or roundabout. We can and will keep for as long as possible every meter that NATO forces try to take. Every apartment building, factory, warehouse, street corner, intersection, home or office building is waiting and supplied with guns of different types, RPGs and mortars. Snipers and specially trained small 5-6 man units are ready. Our defense will be a house to house battle. From every floor and from hole in the floor we will fight NATO rebels. Also from the sewers we will fight and every basement. If NATO enters a front door we will fight them for every room in the house and from the piles of debris created from them bombing us.
Dear friend Lamb. Libyans are a good and a proud people. You and I have spoken about Omar Muktar and our defeat of the Italians that cost us more than one-third of our relatives who fell in battle. Do you know my friend that during the Ottoman Empire centuries of colonization which was the only Arab or Muslim country to rebel again them? It was Libya. Only Libya. Led by her tribes. We stood up against the Turks and fought two 20 year wars against them. Do NATO and Obama believe they can defeat us? Your friend, Mohammad.
Franklin P. Lamb, LLM,PhD is the Director of Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Wash.DC-Beirut. Lamb is doing research as a board member for the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign-Lebanon in Libya. Please check their website for UPDATES and sign their petition HERE. He is reachable co [email protected] or [email protected].