Grogmiron, 12 Jan. 2016 It achieves so much without even trying to…. A remarkable book.
The first 3/4s is a book in its own right, flicking between interviewees harrowing accounts of living in a country(ies) at war and the authors own, at times amusing, and others, delicately subtle recollections. It humanises people, that our media at best treats as numbers and at worst actively demonises. With his own observations, he brings clear the hypocrisy of the west’s talk of “military” targets and our method of bringing peace through dropping bombs more clearly than books that have the expressed aim of doing so. When at one point I thought to myself, I wish he would address more throughly the Ghaddafi regime, I found it on the next page, when reading the chapter Leptis Magma, I found myself thinking it was, not poor, by any standards, but a little saccharine maybe for the pages that proceeded it, to finish on. Only to find one more chapter, the one that inspired the title of the book, a short chapter that left me as jaw dropped just as much as I’m sure it did when Rory was hearing it first hand, a chapter that finished it perfectly.
It achieves so much without even trying to do so, it is, in short, a remarkable book.
The final quarter changes tone, it’s certainly a readable but also in depth look at the “current” situation and what happens after western powers focus moves elsewhere, but for obvious reasons it lacks the human touch of the first and perhaps a little purpose too, but it certainly doesn’t distract from the triumph of the first, it only adds to your understanding of what it actually means to live in a country that went through a revolution for all the right reasons, aided without major complaint by our own government for reasons we (as a populace) never really demanded, and now struggling for all the wrong reasons, allowed to do so, in a small way, because of the short memory of ourselves.
My final comment is this, the book made me care for Libya, it’s people and it’s future… I too hope for its future. Which, ultimately, I believe was Rory’s aim in writing it and therefore he should be proud of his work.