Benghazi: ‘We’re all volunteers now’
News to cheer one’s spirits from the rebel-held part of Libya.
I’m strolling along the blustery seafront in Benghazi.
A middle-aged man rushes up to me. He grins, and then starts to pant heavily.
It takes a few awkward moments before I work out that he is miming - he wants to tell me that Libya was suffocating, but now people here can breathe again.
And how well (relatively) can they breathe again?
“We’re all volunteers now,” says Ms Tarhuni.
“There’s so much energy. We all know the challenges but there’s such a buzz here now.”
Ms Tarhuni is helping out in what passes for the local administration - translating documents, writing letters, trying to help build a brand new state, from scratch.
It is chaos, she admits.
“Some days I think we’ll never get anywhere. But we are making progress. Perhaps it’s naive, delusional, but we believe we can win this war. No-one here is ready to see Libya remain divided.”