Libya turned out to be one of the most difficult countries to visit in my journey to every country in the world. I visited it as my fourth last country, and it was quite an experience. I contacted a lot of Libyan embassies including the Libyan Embassy in Copenhagen. The result was the same. Libya is dangerous, and nobody wanted to help me with a visa. The Danish Embassy in Cairo refused to issue a letter to help me apply for a visa at the Libyan embassy in Cairo. I applied there anyway but didn’t get the visa. Then I got the idea to contact people that had been there. Danish journalist, Rasmus Tantholdt, had recently been to Libya, and as he had helped me with Syria in the past, I decided to send him a message.
Rasmus gave me his contact. Jamal, the responsible for foreign press in Libya. I added his number on What’s App and then magical things happened. Within one hour he had not only guaranteed me a visa with the arrival next week, but he had also contacted one of the directors at the airline (Afriqiyah Airways) and organised a free round-trip ticket to Tripoli for me. Fantastic.
Arrival in Tripoli
Jamal and his team took very well care of me during my three-day visit to Libya. He sent one of his people to the airport to meet me upon arrival, and I got the visa easily. As we were leaving the airport, we were stopped, and the passport was taken from me. After around one hour, I am asked to step into a small office where Jamal’s staff did his best to explain I am just a tourist in Libya. It was hard for the security personnel to understand because who would go to Libya at this time? Although frustrated at the office, I did my best to be as kind as possible, and they eventually allowed me to leave the airport. I was finally in Libya and happy. During the three days, Jamal showed me the city, took me to a local restaurant, and I even went to a local house for dinner. The highlight of the trip was, however, a press conference with Khalifa Al-Ghawi, one of Libya’s two Prime Ministers.
Meeting the Prime Minister
Jamal liked my story and wanted me meet the Prime Minister of the government based in Tripoli. He took me to the press conference where Al-Ghawi told the press about 12 police officers that ISIS had beheaded on the day before. After the press conference, I am asked to get on the stage to meet the Prime Minister. We have a conversation followed by Jamal saying “now you shake the Prime Minister’s hand” and the press took some photos. An interesting experience to end a great trip to Libya. Below are some of the pictures I managed to take during my visit.
|Jamal and me. The iPhone 6 Plus is bad in low-light, and I changed to a Samsung Galaxy s7 Edge after this trip.|