Yesterday marked the end of an era, the end of Kadafy. I was sitting at my desk getting some things ready for work when I heard guns going off in my neighbourhood, and the sound of a young boy shouting in the distance. 'Allah Akbar! God is great! Kadafy is dead! Kadafy is dead!' At first I just sat and listenened, not sure if what I was hearing was real. Then I called out to my daughters to switch the TV on to the news. Sure enough, they were reporting that there were unconfirmed reports that Kadafy was dead.
Pictures! Videos! Show us some proof!
Soon enough a still shot was presented on Aljazeera English and it was soon followed by mobile phone video footage of Kadafy's blood spattered body. By then the entire country had erupted into crazed euphoria. Guns were blasting away, horns were blaring, people could be heard shouting out 'Allah Akbar!' Someone went to our neighbourhood mosque and was shouting over the microphones, but he was soon replaced by a recording of the takbir played on a constant loop.
I tried to call my husband but the phone service was so clogged by users calling all at once that it shut down temporarily. He finally managed to get through to me and told me not to leave the house as the celebratory gunfire was dangerous, and traffic in and around the city was so jammed it was hard to move around the city anyway.
I got a text message from OTE that said 'Ding dong the witch is dead!' a phrase taken from a song from the movie 'The Wizard of Oz'. Within a few seconds the same message was sent again, and again, and again, every few minutes. AlMadar's sms service was going berzerk but it was so funny that it was this same message that kept being sent to me. It was as if AlMadar was sending me a singing telegram.....
'Ding dong the witch is dead, Ding dong the witch is dead, Ding dong the witch is dead, Ding dong the witch is dead'
I started laughing and singing the song out loud. And I wasn't alone - Everyone in my house was either laughing, singing, shouting 'Allah Akbar' or dancing. Some of us doing all of them at once! It was as if we'd all gone crazy. This must be the hallucinatory drugs Kadafy had talked about! His death was like a drug - a happy, euphoric drug! And we were all high on it.
After a while the noise in my neighbourhood died down, most likely because everyone had gone inside to watch the news on TV. The internet turned to a crawl as everyone with internet access attempted to download the emerging news footage and videos that were hitting the web faster than the television news services could televise them.
When my husband came home I suggested we have a celebratory meal of bourdeam (meat smoked in an underground pit) with rice and salad. The meat had been marinating and was ready. So that got us away from the television for a while. But when our meal was ready we ate in front of the TV - glued to the news, watching images and video of Kadafy and his son Motesem and listening to everyone speculate as they reported the news. All the while the whole town continued to honk their car horns and shoot off guns. Soon there were even fireworks showering the sky with beautiful colour and light shows.
We all felt so happy to see the end of Kadafy. It's hard to explain the way we felt. Like walking on cloud nine, like walking on air, like having a huge weight removed from our hearts. Euphoria is a good word but how to describe it because you won't know euphoria until you're struck by it.
We stayed up until late watching TV and checking the news on the internet. Finally we decided to go to bed.
In the morning we packed up our breakfast picnic and headed out the door for our Friday drive. In some areas the streets were coated with a layer of bullet casings from last night's celebrations. We headed toward Bab Al Azizia. In the past week the walls surrounding Kadafy's old compound had been bulldozed. But there were still many people arriving to have a look at what remained.
|The bulldozed wall surrounding Bab Al Azizia
A flea market had been set up in front of Kadafy's bombed out house and people were buying and selling their wares under the hot morning sun. One section had been turned into a pet market and people were gathering around to look at the dogs on display.
|The Friday morning flea market in front of Kadafy's bombed out house.
Kadafy is gone. Some people think it's a shame that he's not alive to face justice. But I think Libya's wasted enough time on him - forty-two years is long enough. It's time to look toward the future. Libyans have a long road ahead of them. I am so proud that I was here to witness this day in history.
|The view of downtown Tripoli from the broken walls of Bab Al Azizia.