Cutting Through Libya’s Post-Gaddafi Fog: An Interview With Libyans (Part 2)

Libyan revolutionaries
Libyan freedom fighters. Photo from: cubanexilequarter.blogspot.com

Following our original interview with Libyans and Libyan expats, which took place after dictator Muammar Gaddafi lost his life, but before his son Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi was taken prisoner by revolutionary forces, here is part two of the interview series. In this article we get to interview a French Libyan expat on a variety of actual Libyan topics.

What are your ties to Libya?

My parents are Libyan. They were both born in Libya and they grew up in Libya. My whole family lives in Libya.

Do you currently live in Libya?

No.

How did you react to the start of the popular revolutionary movement in Libya earlier this year?

I first laughed and said: “They are crazy.” Revolting against Gaddafi is suicide! I thought, like usual, that Gaddafi would have killed them all and so no one will follow them because Libyans were afraid and know what will happen when you try to protest under Gaddafi rule.. But I was wrong !

They have been very brave and didn’t stop protesting PEACEFULLY, yeah it was peacefully. My uncle was with those who protested in front the Katiba [prison in Benghazi]. “We were crawling because we were under heavy gunfire.. Bullets were falling like rain,” he said, and they were not armed. Since I saw that Libyans were not ready to give up, I started following the revolution minute by minute!

What in your view were the main reasons for the popular uprising? Was the Arab Spring one of the catalysts for people speaking out their voice?

People wanted to get rid of 42 years of an horrible dictatorship. In Libya, it was first the families of the 1200 killed in AbuSaleem massacre. They went out protesting peacefully asking for explanations, they went out with their attorney, and they were welcomed by gunfire…

So I think at this moment, the Arab Spring gave them the courage to to continue revolting. But, if I may say, the Arab spring “helped” Libyans not as a catalyst, but more thanks to the media who were following this movement. Trust me that Libyans had lived 42 horrible years so a catalyst was not needed, they already had thousands of catalysts to uprise.

Libyan Fighting
Libyan fighting. Photo from: The Blaze

So why do you think Qaddafi’s regime fell so quickly?

You are the first one who’s saying that it fell quickly. And I do agree. A 42 years old dictatorship fell in only 8 months.

Well, Gaddafi’s main principle was “Divide and Conquer,” but in this revolution Libyans stayed united ! Gaddafi during 42 years created division between East and West. But in this revolution Libyans have been more united than they have ever been. And that’s thanks to the Jabal Nafousa region, Zintan, Zawiya, etc, that were the first Western regions to uprise.

Then in my opinion the key point of this revolution was Misrata. If Gaddafi took Misrata, He would have won and would have divided Libya too. Hence his non stop shelling of Misrata for months ! But Misrata didn’t fall and resisted. That was the strong point of the revolution, which permitted for the Libyans to stay united. Then, we can not ignore NATO’s help and the NTC. NATO destroyed many of Gaddafi’s bunkers and military points, and that helped the freedom fighters a lot.

Also, contrary to what people thinks, NATO has saved many lives and when I asked family and friends in Libya they all told me “The nights NATO bombed we could sleep appeased, but the nights NATO didn’t intervene, we couldn’t sleep.”

Have you personally supported the Libyan revolution? If so, how?

As you know, the first weeks there was no [foreign] media in Libya, so as I had family in Libya and many other sources, I started to tweet everything I can get directly from Libya or from other Tweeps or from Mo Nabbous’ streaming (RIP). The Libyan Tweeps have been following the revolution and the Freedom fighters’ advances kilometer by kilometer.

I also tried to translate the news into other languages. Then in July I went to Benghazi. Visited injured Freedom Fighters. Got in touch with the youngsters who decided to clean and take care of their the city. And of course I didn’t stop tweeting the news as I had more sources now that I was in Libya.

What do you think is happening in Libya right now?

Now, Libya is in a transitional state. Life is back to normal in almost all of the cities. Sirte still needs a lot of help though. People are coming from all over Libya to help Sirte. Of course there is some bad idiot guys like everywhere else in the world, but it has been months that many cities have been liberated and everything went well during more than 5 months in those cities. For example all the Eastern cities, Misrata, Zintan, Zawiya, etc…

Now NTC has to draw a constitution ASAP so they could put to trial anyone who is not respecting the future law.

Pre-war Tripoli, Libya
Pre-war Tripoli, Libya. Photo from: libya-watanona.com

When have you heard about Muammar Qaddafi’s recently announced death and what was your reaction to it?

Well, as I told previously, I have been following the revolution minute by minute. So I’ve learned about it even when it wasn’t confirmed yet. Besides that it was only a few hours after Sirte has been fully liberated, so I guess all the Libyans were in front of their TV or wherever they were they stopped their activities and tried to follow.

First, I didn’t believe it. We went through so many rumors during this revolution. So I waited till Al Jazeera reporter confirmed that he saw many videos by his one eyes and that he can confirm that he was dead. And at this moment … I have no words to describe how I felt ! Speechless .. To sum it up, it was at this moment that I understood the real meaning of “A dream came true.”

What do you think Qaddafi’s death and overthrow of his regime means to Libya and Libyan people?

If Gaddafi was still alive, Libya, Libyans and the World (!!!!) would have never been relieved. Now there is no more fear. And even if some from the former regime are still alive, Libyans know that they have won and soon those people will be tried !!

What do you think this new dawn of Libyan democracy entails for Libya, Africa and the entire world?

I think Libya will be a model for the whole world. Libya’s situation is unique. Even NATO intervention in Libya was not like we were used to. Now the whole world’s eyes are on Libya.

There are still [some] people making conspiracy theories, but since the beginning we showed them they were wrong and God willing we will continue…

Post Postscriptum
Part 3 and part 4 of the interview series are now available.

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Categories: Arab Spring, Politics

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  1. Cutting Through Libya’s Post-Gaddafi Fog: An Interview With Libyans (Part 3) | The Artichoke - November 25, 2011

    […] our original interviews with Libyans and Libyan expats (part 1, part 2), which took place after dictator Muammar Gaddafi lost his life, but before his son Saif Al-Islam […]

  2. Cutting Through Libya’s Post-Qaddafi Fog: An Interview With Libyans (Part 1) | The Artichoke - November 25, 2011

    […] Postscriptum Part 2 and part 3 of the interview series are now available! Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe […]

  3. Gaddafi’s Death and African Union: An Interview With Libyans (Part 4) | The Artichoke - November 25, 2011

    […] the fourth and final chapter of our interview series with Libyans (see: part 1, part 2, part 3), we will be touching some of the hot button topics, and more specifically the […]

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