Rebels reach central Tripoli

When I started writing this post in the early evening Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi had vowed to stay in Tripoli “until the end”.

He then called on his supporters around the country to help liberate the capital from a rebel offensive.

In an audio message played by state television he said he was “afraid that Tripoli will burn”.

By 2200 BST, I was absolutely gripped by Sky’s Alex Crawford unflinching reports from Libya.

Her description of the advancement was punctuated by gun fire lighting up the sky like fireworks and jubilant rebels, along with civilians who had surrounded her, chanting: “Allahu akbar!” (“God is great!”)

Meanwhile, Gaddafi’s spokesman, Mussa Ibrahim, claimed in a broadcast a few minutes later that 1,300 people had been killed in the last 11 and a half hours and laid the blame for the deaths at NATO’s door.

He went on to call for a cease-fire.

Sky News then reported that the rebels had revealed Saif Al-Islam, Col Gaddafi’s son, had been captured.

An ex-colleague of mine posted a comment on Facebook questioning whether the rebels have a plan to govern the oil-producing country.

The National Transitional Council (NTC) is now recognised as Libya’s legitimate authority by many countries including the British government which unfroze £91m in UK assets belonging to the Arabian Gulf Oil Company, a Libyan oil firm under the NTC’s control.

The head of the NTC’s political committee, Fatih Baja, told Reuters: “We’ve been preparing for this since the first month of the revolution.”

However, the rebels comprise different factions and ethnic and tribal divisions.

Only time will tell…

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Parents in the dock after England riots

Ironically, it was International Youth Day on Friday. The annual event is supposed to serve as a global reminder of how precious new generations are.

Babatunde Osotimehin, director of the United Nations Population Fund – an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity – suggests dialogue with young people is the way forward .

In a message on the UNPFA’s website, Dr Osotimehin said:

Today on International Youth Day, and every day, youth should be able to participate in decision-making in their families, communities, and nations.

The voices of youth should be heard in meetings within governments and within the United Nations.

Yes, youth participation is a matter of human rights and it is also a matter of being effective at addressing the challenges that we face as humanity.

In our world today there are 1.8 billion young people aged 10 to 24.

When societies embrace youth as partners, we improve our chances of finding solutions to our most pressing problems.

Today too many young people are deprived of opportunities, peace and stability.

As never before, youth are bombarded with sexually explicit images. There is a growing need for sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services that meet the needs of young people.”

The UNPFA’s goal is to reduce extreme poverty by 2015, by focusing on three core areas of work “reproductive health, gender equality and population and development strategies” which, it says, are “inextricably related”.

In the aftermath of the England Riots the spotlight has turned to familial responsibility.

The blame is being laid at the door of so-called “dysfunctional families”.

And, judging from all the scathing comments, statements and finger-wagging this includes single parents, unemployed parents, young mothers and errant fathers.

The family should be the foundation from which each child springs from into the world.

But to surmise this whole shameful episode is a result of bad or non-existent parenting is at best too simplistic and at worse disingenuous.

Below are several definitions for the word: society.

a. The totality of social relationships among humans.

b. A group of humans broadly distinguished from other groups by mutual interests, participation in characteristic relationships, shared institutions, and a common culture.

c. The institutions and culture of a distinct self-perpetuating group.

2. An organisation or association of persons engaged in a common profession, activity, or interest:

3.a. The rich, privileged, and fashionable social class.

b. The socially dominant members of a community.

4. Companionship; company:

5. Biology A colony or community of organisms, usually of the same species

The clean-up campaigns taking place across England and the selfless words from bereaved father Tariq Jahan, whose son, Haroon, was killed in a hit-and-run incident during the riots in Winson Green, Birmingham on Wednesday, serve as reminders of what is great about England.

So-called educated people representing different schools of thought taking to denigrating other races and cultures as well as each other on television is both unhelpful and irresponsible.

Resorting to labelling or pigeonholing certain sections of society is regressive and tired. In fact, I can feel ennui setting in. 

Let us dispense with the name calling and get on with the business of rebuilding a society we can all take pride in.