Part of the celebrations at Martyrs Square in Tripoli as the people marked the second anniversary of the February 17 Revolution
By Gada Mahfud
The world, indeed we Libyans, are in awe at the fantastic spontaneous celebrations that have taken place all over Libya marking the second anniversary of the February 17 Revolution. Libyans across the country celebrated in a civil, peaceful and organised manner, the ousting in 2011 of the long-time former dictator Muammar Gaddafi
Families in their hundreds came out to the martyr’s square in the Libyan capital, Tripoli and in the main squares in all the towns and cities, particularly also in the eastrn city of Benghazi, to celebrate this historic occasion.
The crowds started pouring in a steady stream from early morning on Sunday and continued until very late into the night. The jubilation of the crowds was a joy to witness.
People were hard at work in the days leading to the actual celebration sweeping the streets, decorating them with streams of flags and lights, while families in each neighbourhood collected money to buy a camel to be barbecued as a February 17 celebration meal.
On the day commemorating February 17, people woke up to a glorious sunny day; families enjoyed lunch together and then proceeded to the martyr’s square. As one passed through the different neighbourhoods the Libyan army could be seen in all the main crossroads organising traffic.
People waved at them shouting and wishing them happy February 17 anniversary. Soldiers shouted similar greetings in return, while others sprayed people with perfume or orange blossom water. Orange blossom water or perfume spraying is a Libyan ritual reserved only for weddings.
The Libyan revolution was continually put down, by some Arabs as being ruthless and not as organised as our Arab spring neighbours, Tunisia and Egypt. The criticism varied, some saying that the Libyan revolution only survived because Libyan oil was an incentive for the world to back us, NATO to help us.
Well, to that I will say that the brutality of the system was why the Libyan people had to resort to violence to defend themselves.
Though some may think I am bragging, which in all honesty I am, Libya has outdone its excellent neighbours because while people in Libya celebrated their revolutions second anniversary, in Egypt and Tunisia the people did not celebrate. They demonstrated in a messy fashion, many people died and government institutions were stormed by angry mobs.
The weeks before the February 17 anniversary, the Gaddafi agents who had fled the country, and some members of his exiled family, made some empty threats about coming back to avenge themselves of the Libyan people. They imagined that the Libyan people will take their cue from Egypt’s streets and go out in demonstrations; that they could manipulate us into chaos.
In a generous gesture the Libyan people denied them that opportunity. Even though there were many causes to demonstrate against they realised that the danger was too grave and instead opted to put the country’s interests before their own.
The secret of the Libyan success story, that in my opinion never ceases to impress the world, is the people’s ownership of the revolution. A friend described the celebratory scenes we saw in the streets in this way: “it’s as if they were all in a huge wedding where no one was a guest; everyone feels they are a host and wants to serve everyone else.”
I hope that Libyans will continue to inspire the world and may God bless Libya and keep it free and safe forever.
Comment: Well done! I loved your article and I am very proud of my all fellow Libyans. May Allah bless Libya and Libyans...
Date: 20/02/2013 09:27:37
Comment: funtastic,bravo libyan people.
Date: 20/02/2013 10:39:34
Comment: Beautiful. Elequent and From the heart. all I can say is the British Ambassadors photos in Martyr square and tweets prove that the international community which fled Libya during this time.. missed getting to know Libya the Libyan way :)
Date: 20/02/2013 10:55:58
Comment: Yes, Libya has done it again! First you arrest ICC lawyers, then you murder the US ambassador, then you blow up a Christian Church and now you arrest Christians for preaching Christianity. (If there was a law like that in my country against preaching Islam, we would as many Muslims detained in our jails as you have political prisoners in yours. Yes, Libya really has 'done it again!'
Date: 21/02/2013 13:17:19
Comment: What I saw last sunday was just amazing and fantastic. Congratulation to the Libyan people.
Name:Dr.Swami D Francis
Date: 21/02/2013 23:30:41
Comment: Yes indeed, Libya has done it again. The words of Gada Mahfud are passionate words coming from the heart of a Libyan patriot. As an Indian expat working in Libya I’ve read negative reports about the security situation during the run up to the Feb 17 anniversary with anxiety. And I believed that Libya will do it again proving all the news experts wrong. I was here in Libya on 17 February 2012; the day passed into history as a day of joy and celebration. Then came elections in June and pessimists predicted violence and trouble but it became a day of participation for Libyans to demonstrate their democratic credentials. It was wonderfully peaceful and now the second anniversary; Libya burst into a fantastic celebration decking the streets and squares, shops and buildings, cars and human hands with the tri color beatific flag with the crescent and star. And I hope in God Libya will do it again in building democratic institutions such as legislature, executive, judiciary and the fourth pillar a free press, ensuring peace, security and prosperity through the yet to be written constitution.
Date: 24/02/2013 04:04:45
Comment: I would like to invite the girl who wrote the article about lack of education to come stay with us in Bandon, Oregon and we will pay for her education. We can send her an application to the Junior College in Coos Bay, Oregon and money for a ticket to USA Oregon. write to: Allen Kelley; 47295 Highway 101, Bandon, Oregon 97411 USA
Date: 25/02/2013 17:02:41
Comment: God bless you
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