Thursday, October 20, 2011

And the day finally came.

I am writing this and still in disbelief. Gadafi is finally dead. We all witnessed the video footage of his death. I wish I could also witness his meeting with the Angels of Death and God. The best of us are watching that unfold - the shuhada who lost their lives are on the other side waiting for him. The 35-50,000 victims of this revolutionary war, the almost 1300 victims of Abo Sleem, the 9000 victims of the Chad War, the victims of the 1983/1986 hangings, the 270 victims of the Lockerbie bombings, and countless others he ordered murdered in cold blood - today they got their justice. Gidafi exchanged 42 years of power for an eternity of punishment.

Words can't capture the joy I am seeing on the faces of Libyans. Everyone is congratulating each other - strangers on the street are smiling and saying Allahu Akbar to each other. The guys are still hollering at girls but this time they're saying things like "Allahu Akbar! Ithablee".

I started praying before I left Toronto that Gadaffi would be captured while I was in Libya. They say the prayers of a traveler are answered. I never thought I would ever witness this moment in Libya!! Alhamdulilah for being granted such an amazing opportunity to share this moment with my fellow Libyans.

My mother and I were at home alone when we heard the news. My father went to a small village called Dawun today to visit his uncle, and my brother was out minding his business. There was a lot of celebratory gunfire and my mother and I weren't sure whether we should brave the madness and go out to celebrate. Neither my brother or dad would be home in time to take us.

We eventually decided to head out on our own - and I'm glad we did. I am also glad we got an apartment that's downtown and within a short walking distance to the Maydan al Shuhada. Within a few minutes of going outside we found ourselves walking with a group of 10 other women on our way to Maydan al Shuhada. The whole way there, people were congratulating each other. People stopped so I could take pictures of them (my connection is really slow so I'll have to wait until I come back or have a REALLY boring day to upload everything). The sidewalks were littered with bullets, so we tried as much as possible to walk under buildings. I saw all kinds of crazy things on our way there - one guy was dressed in a Farashia (a traditional Libyan dress for women) imitating one of Gidafi's lectures. He was zooming around on a motorcycle - it was pretty funny. I saw cars with people sitting on top, on the side, behind (one guy was rolling behind a car on roller blades), and everywhere. Some idiots had their kids sitting on the roof (with nothing to hold onto!). They got yelled at by a few people but they just ignored them (there's still a lot of takhalif in this sha3b).

We stopped by a few booths to buy some revolutionary paraphernalia. The guy was going to give us 2 dinars in change but my mom told him she didn't want them back because they have Bu Shafshoofa's picture on it - so he gave us some stickers and a wristband. So much better.

As we neared the Maydan, the thuwar set up blockades to prevent cars from going in. There was also heavy surveillance of anyone partaking in celebratory gunfire. For the most part, the Maydan was free of celebratory gunfire - for once, I felt somewhat secure. The women even had their own section which was tightly guarded by revolutionary fighters. The women cheered and chanted. I caught a lot of it on tape - some of their chants were pretty funny. They started to chant "Ma3lishi Shafshoofa" and then my mom turned around to them and said "Shafshoofa is gone!! say Ma3lishi Safia (Gidafi's wife)". The girls laughed and started chanting "ma3lishi Safia". They also started chanting "Zeed it7ada, Safia 7*ashit lil 3idda".  Some guys brought a fake coffin of Gidafi and everyone started hitting it with sticks. There were speeches from the stage by men and women.

Very few people had video cameras and were taping the going-ons. In fact, I was stopped and asked how much I bought my camera for and whether I was actually from Libya. It goes to show how poor the average Libyan is - something as ordinary as a camcorder can set you apart from everyone else. 

There was drumming. There was dancing. There were fireworks. There was music. There was takbeer. I saw the media - including Al Jazeera. It was funny because I was watching the same reporter on TV before I went to the Maydan and saw him there live. There were lots of people holding pictures of their loved ones who lost their lives in this war. There were revolutionary fighters parading on top of cars while the crowds cheered and thanked them.

It is truly a remarkable day here in Libya. I am back home now and as I type this, all you can hear in the background is honking, music, fireworks, gunfire, takbeer, and people cheering. It's Thursday night here so everyone has the day off tomorrow. The partying will probably go late into the night - I'm glad I slept in today.

To all my Libyan friends- it's been a long eight months, but ALHAMDULILAH, Shafshoofa is dead and this 42 year nightmare is finally OVER.

3ugbal Bashar!!!!

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