News / Africa

No Gadhafi to Celebrate Anniversary of His Coup

An effigy of Moammar Gadhafi hangs from a scaffold in Tripoli's Martyrs' Square, Libya, August 29, 2011
An effigy of Moammar Gadhafi hangs from a scaffold in Tripoli's Martyrs' Square, Libya, August 29, 2011

Multimedia

Elizabeth Arrott

Thursday marks 42 years since Libya's Moammar Gadhafi seized power in a coup. It's an anniversary that until now was observed with great fanfare. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott attended the lavish 40th anniversary celebrations two years ago and now is back in Tripoli for what would have been Gadhafi's big day.


When Gadhafi marked 40 years, he put his picture everywhere - images of him as a brash young army officer, the self-styled philosopher, the king of all African kings.

Today, those posters are still here, only they are on the street, stepped and stomped on by the people he once led.  

Back in 2009, there were fireworks. Now, tracer bullets light the sky of a Tripoli in blackout.

Overlooking Tripoli's harbor is Martyrs' Square. Back then it was Green Square, and headquarters for Gadhafi's massive party for himself. Now, bullet casings litter the ground, and an effigy of the former leader swings from a scaffold above.

One of the biggest changes is that people like Mohammad Toumi are able to speak out.

The Tripoli resident excused himself for the language he used, but said the past 42 years were "crap."  

The eternal revolutionary, as Gadhafi was known, had become an emperor with no clothes, no match for a new generation seeking change, and a world which, for the most part, wanted to see him gone.

Hints of Gadhafi's growing isolation could be seen back then. He invited just about everyone, but it was mainly other African leaders, including fellow war crimes suspect Omar Bashir of Sudan, who came.  

During the 40th anniversary celebrations, the Libyan leader did little to hide his autocratic demeanor, slapping his protocol minister in public, as well as his translator. He had state journalists proclaim him "the man who impresses me!" - all the while protected by his phalanx of female bodyguards.  

But the power he amassed was not enough to protect him from uprisings sweeping the Arab world.

Some here say the revolution could not have happened without Libya's youth. Salem Nawar, who is in his sixties, believes his generation became accustomed to Gadhafi's oppression.

Grafitti in Martyrs' Square in Tripoli, Libya, August 29, 2011
Grafitti in Martyrs' Square in Tripoli, Libya, August 29, 2011


"These youngsters, they've heard their elders, they've seen their friends being badly treated, and they came out, nobody asked them to come out. Nobody asked them, they are going to pay them or do this, okay, a lot of them, they think it is fun, but they paid dearly."

Nearby, two young men linger at the edge of the square, where two years ago Africa's leaders came to wish Gadhafi well. One wears a T-shirt with a "Wanted" poster for Moammar Gadhafi. His message to the former "Brother-Leader" is blunt.

"I hate you and I think you go to the [hell]fire," he said.

It's a message that two years ago was unimaginable on the streets of Tripoli.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid