Peeters visits Libyan battlefield
No other battlefield saw as much fighting against the Khaddafi troups than the city of Misurata, a three-hour journey from the capital of Tripoli. The economic trade mission to the country under the presidency of Flemish Prime Minister Kris Peeters CD&V could assess the destruction on the spot. A makeshift war museum has meanwhile been erected to record the bloody battle this town was exposed to for months. Outside the building various self-made weapons and beaten-up tanks bear testimony to the rebels’ loot. Looking around one is overwhelmed by the devastated buildings, blackened walls and the impact of bullet and missile shots. “The damage to the city is enormous, with hundreds of dwellings totally uninhabitable,” confirmed the Misurata chief of the military council as he guided the minister-president through the museum filled to the brim with bullet shells and guns. The new rulers of this city shared many stories of the war crimes committed by Khaddafi and his soldiers, “who used the defenceless as human shields, hiding their tanks and weapons in or near our schools and hospitals because they knew NATO aircraft would never bomb these zones”. Inside the museum, photographs pay testimony to the countless victims slain or mutilated during the revolt. Kris Peeters has meanwhile been thanked for Belgium’s military support to the rebels. “We know Belgium supported our revolution with their fighter aircraft and ships,” it was solemnly stated during one of the official meetings. These sentiments were confirmed with a badge of the liberated Libya on Peeters’ lapel and a photo shoot with local authorities against the backdrop of an unfurling Belgian flag. The Misurata town council was happy to welcome Peeters and his delegation, confirming their approval with announcements such as, “Misurata must basically be rebuilt from scratch and for this we need funding”. To this end it is essential that the local economy rises from the ashes without further ado. Libya hopes to see Belgian business re-enter the country to do business with the new government, and to be able to use the port of Misurata again. Unfortunately the delegation was unable to view the promotional video of the harbour, as Khaddafi’s flag still graces all footage.