News / Africa

On Tripoli Streets: the Gadhafi Mystique is Broken

Libyan rebels use a carpet with the image of Moammar Gadhafi as a doormat at their camp, set up in a district of Gadhafi sympathizers in the stronghold city of Tarhouna, 100 kilometers southeast of Tripoli, Libya, August 29, 2011
Libyan rebels use a carpet with the image of Moammar Gadhafi as a doormat at their camp, set up in a district of Gadhafi sympathizers in the stronghold city of Tarhouna, 100 kilometers southeast of Tripoli, Libya, August 29, 2011
James Brooke

Where is Moammar Gadhafi? His second wife and two sons surfaced Monday in neighboring Algeria. But people in Libya’s capital say their leader of 42 years is yesterday’s man.

For 42 years, Green Square was the stage set for Moammar Gadhafi’s speeches against enemies all around Libya.

Today, it is called Martyrs’ Square, in honor of fighters who died to break his grip on Libya.

Instead of banners hailing the “King of Kings,” graffiti now reads “Finito,” and “Game Over.”

A big new sign implores rebels to stop celebrating by shooting their guns into the air.

Khalil Salem Melad Almosrat, a 56-year-old pensioner, pauses from cleaning up the litter of bullet casings. An army veteran of Gadhafi’s wars in Chad, he said that after all the warlike speeches, the Libyan leader proved to be a coward.

Almosrat said that Gadhafi told the world “he was a mujahedeen, a Bedouin, that he would fight until the last bullet. When the fight came to him, he just ran away.”

He believes that Gadhafi may have escaped into the Sahara, possibly southern Algeria. On Monday evening, Algeria’s foreign ministry reported that Gadhafi’s second wife and two of his sons had entered Algeria.

Almosrat, the war veteran, is surprised when asked if Gadhafi's family will ever return to rule Libya. In Arabic, he responds: "Impossible, impossible, impossible."

Nearby, Khaled Abid, a 35-year-old government manager, stands in the shade of an arcade facing the sun-baked square.

For him, Gadhafi is yesterday’s man. Asked what are the chances that Gadhafi's clan will return to rule Libya, he replied, “Not even ‘minus one percent.”

Ten steps away, the National Commercial Bank is re-opening for business with a new doormat - the bank’s former lobby portrait of  Gadhafi.

One customer spits on the portrait. Another pauses to ostentatiously wipe his feet on the image of the fallen leader. A third, an elderly man, dances a little jig, then takes off a shoe, then repeatedly hammers Gadhafi in the face with his loafer.

Inside the building, Hussein Kharaka, a bank executive, catches up with colleagues in their first day back at work since revolution turned Tripoli upside down 10 days ago.

He is optimistic about Libya’s future, believing that banks now will be run along international lines, and that Libya will have good relations with Europe and the United States.

Asked about the man who once called himself, “The King of African Kings,” work colleagues listen as Kharaka responds in Arabic, “He is in one of his holes, he is a coward; he can’t even face people.”

On the way back to the hotel, the driver plays a CD with Libya’s new provisional anthem. There are taxis on the streets. Banks are open. Shops are open. Some of the Gadhafis in Algeria. Across Tripoli, it is clear the Gadhafi mystique is broken.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid