ENInews–In Tripoli, fireworks were ignited, guns fired in the air and chants sounded on 17 February in celebrations marking the first anniversary of the Libyan uprising that ended Colonel Moammar Gadhafi’s 42-year rule.
But amid the fanfare, Christian leaders emphasized the need for comprehensive reconciliation and sustained peace efforts to end instability in the North African country.
“The people seem much happier as from last October (when Gadhafi was captured). They are more spontaneous, happy and relieved. They are joyful, not withstanding the security situations they are facing, but we still have to keep praying and stressing peace and reconciliation,” the Rev. Daniel Farrugia, the vicar general of the Vicariate of Tripoli, told ENInews in a telephone interview.
The first major uprising against Gadhafi’s rule started in the town of Benghazi in February last year. The revolt later spread to other parts of the country with the NATO Alliance joining to back rebel fighters grouped under the National Transitional Council.
The alliance conducted airstrikes to implement a U.N.-sanctioned no-fly zone and protect civilians. The action was approved by the U.N. Security Council after Gadhafi’s forces attacked civilians protesting his brutal rule.
With the death of the leader on 20 October, global Christian leaders had raised concerns that an Islamist takeover would badly affect Christianity as it had been witnessed in other North African countries and the Middle East.
But Farrugia explained that the Church had survived the war and continues with its work and mission. “It was not very much affected and its members are now returning, especially the Filipinos and African. But the families are yet to return,” he said.