‘In this book, the people tell their own stories, in their own words. What they left in their homelands, the perilous journey to Libya and beyond, the Arab Spring, the Libyan Civil War, the causes of each, and what they led to. In short, where we are, and how we got here.’
Ghaddafi’s Libya was a singular state: run by a repressive dictator, it was nevertheless a haven for refugees fleeing war and terror in regimes across Africa and the Middle East.
Four years after the Arab Spring and the Libyan Civil War it began, Ghaddafi is gone, but in his place are two powerless, illegitimate governments, forced to watch from the sidelines as four illegal militias battle one another on Libya’s streets, and refugees drown attempting dangerous sea crossings to Europe.
International journalist Rory O’Keeffe met members of the African and Middle East diaspora in October and November 2011, at Choucha Refugee Camp, Tunisia, which housed thousands of people who became refugees for a second time during Libya’s Civil War.
He then moved to Libya, interviewing residents of the Libyan cities of Sirte, Tripoli and Benghazi, those who fled, those who stayed and those who fought, as they were facing up to the need to rebuild their lives in the new ‘Libya Hora’.
In their own words, those people describe their experiences, their past, their present, and their hopes for the future. What they have left, their perilous journey to Libya and beyond, the Arab Spring, the Libyan Civil War, the causes of each, and what they led to. In short, where we are, and how we got here.
Touching on almost every conflict in modern African and Middle Eastern history, The Toss of a Coin is an examination of a modern crisis, where it has left Libya, and of two continents, united and divided by history, religion, race and ordinary human aspiration.
It is also a chance to meet the individuals caught in history’s impersonal march, and read the remarkable stories of how they escaped its jaws, and stayed alive.