On Libyan-Tunisian border, it’s back to the future with refugees
June 3-4, 2011 — DJERBA, TUNISIA
During the last air sanctions against Libya, imposed by the United Nations in 1992 over alleged Libyan involvement in the bombings of PanAm 103 and UTA 772, many Libyans traveling to and from Tripoli were forced to fly through Tunisia, traveling overland to and from the Tunisian border to their homes in Libya. With European Union sanctions now imposed on Libya, the old travel regime is back in force.
However, there is a new dimension to the air embargo on Libya. Attracted to the Libyan-Tunisian border by refugees, most African guest workers from sub-Sahara and pan-Sahel African nations, fleeing the fighting in their country, scores of international aid workers now occupy the tourist hotels of Djerba, the once popular Tunisian resort that has fallen on hard times after tour operators canceled excursions following the Tunisian revolution earlier this year.
Today, prior to crossing into Libya, this reporter is witnessing representatives of the “misery industry,” young international aid workers with groups like the International Committee of the Red Cross, EU, and International Organization for Migration, lounging around the tourist hotels mingling with German and French pensioners eager to take advantage of the special travel packages being offered by a depressed Tunisian tourist industry.
Not only is war good for the weapons industry but refugee crises brought about by Western-implemented wars, fatten the wallets of NGOs anxious to cash in on the human misery created by Pentagon and NATO overt and covert military operations. Meanwhile, here in Djerba, near the Libyan frontier, it’s pool side and cold Heinekens for the NGO community here to “save” the Libyan refugees.