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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More