Tripoli’s souks come back to life

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A stroll through the lively and colorful souks of Tripoli confirms the statement inscribed on one of the city's electrical boxes: "Tripoli is a city of hope, joy, and life; it is not a city of misery, defeat and chaos." As a testament to that sentiment, merchants and residents alike are eager to speak about their fondness for their city and to express their desire to see it not just survive the latest round of clashes, but thrive economically. Standing behind his stand offering a plateful of warm beets, Abu Zaki recalls the days when Tripoli rivaled Beirut and was called home by an array of citizens from all over the country. "It is the corrupt officials who ruined our city," he remarked softly but defiantly. Traces of the last battle that took place in the city are visible, but its residents have been working hard to slowly erase them with hopes of regaining a sense of normalcy. A business owner overseeing workers replacing his damaged storefront bitterly commented, "We fix our own stores, we can't wait for anyone else to do it for us." As Tripolitans fight to regain their livelihoods, most wonder how long the state will continue to neglect their needs and watch idly the growth of an environment they deem destructive of their children's future.

Photographs by Marwan Tahtah, text by Lara Bitar

Comments

Beautiful city, prayers to a prosperous future!

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