Incredulous Twitter reacts as 16 die in Libya following dispute over monkey
Monkeys: not as cute as they seem (Wikimedia Commons)
Twitter users have expressed disbelief and disgust after the actions of a pet monkey caused four days of violent tribal clashes in Libya.
16 people were killed, and 50 injured, in fighting between rival groups in the city of Sabha, in the southwest of the country, which started on Thursday. The culprit? A monkey, who removed a schoolgirl’s hijab.
It appears that the animal belonged to a member of the Gaddadfa tribe, whose rivals, the Awlad Suleiman then sought revenge. The brutal fighting reportedly escalated to “tanks, mortars and other heavy weapons”, an anonymous source told Reuters.
Many expressed shock and anger at the news, suggesting it showed the backwardness of Libyan society:
Oh please, we have become a spectacle! #WarOfTheMonkey!!! Monkey ignites a war in the city of Sabha, southern Libya, kills about 16 people.
الجهل والتخلف في ليبيا وصل لدرجة ناس تموت ع خاطر قرد !!— Herr Esharif (@HerrEsharif) November 19, 2016
المؤلم انك مغصوب تعيش معاهم في بلد واحد وتتحمل جنونهم وانت لا حول لك ولا قوة.
Ignorance and backwardness in Libya has reached the point where people die because of a monkey!! The painful thing is living with them in the same country and bearing their madness, without power to change it.
Others compared it to stories about pre-Islamic Arabia, known as the time of ignorance, when apparently fighting broke out because of a she-camel:
خبر في العربية عن معركة في ليبيا بسبب قرد، قضى فيها 21 شخصا نحبهم!
اقتتل العرب في الجاهلية بسبب ناقة، وفي عصرنا بسبب قرد!
يا جهل ما أطولك!— خليفة الهنائي (@khalifa_alhinai) November 20, 2016
News in Arabic about a battle in Libya because of a Monkey, in which 21 people perished!
Pre-Islamic Arabs fought because of a camel, in our time they fight because of a monkey! Oh ignorance how long you remain!
In the pre-Islamic days each killed because of a #camel.In Libya, some were killed because of a #Monkey #There is no difference
Some were angry, however, that Libya only receives media attention when a story is quirky:
@FezzanLibyaG i know it seems a distraction, but reality is they probably wldn't cover it if it wasn't a monkey, use it & change the story.— Huda (@hudduh) November 21, 2016
In fact, Libya, which is still in a state of chaos following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, is covered sparingly in Western media. Battling tribal factions, such as those in Sabha, and Islamist groups, plague the divided nation, which currently has two rival and ineffective parliaments. It is also facing a financial crisis, with government wages not paid for months, and Libyans unable to withdraw money.
Perhaps it would do western media good to look beyond the novelty story and cover deeper issues facing the unstable country.