Gaddafi's dream in ruins

2011-10-13 12:59

Sirte – Muammar Gaddafi’s hometown Sirte, the city he once dreamed would be the capital of the United States of Africa, lay in ruins on Thursday, blitzed and largely overrun by the fighters the Libyan dictator called "dogs".

Burnt-out hulks of cars lined the streets where every building bore the rocket and bullet marks of the month-long siege National Transitional Council forces waged against pro-Gaddafi diehards before fighting their way in block by block.

NTC fighter Lutfy Al-Amin, from the city of Misrata, said he had visited Sirte many times before but barely recognised the once-wealthy city now.

"Everything is destroyed," he said on Wednesday as he and his comrades fought one of the last pockets of Gaddafi supporters still holding out in the city that before the siege was home to around 100 000 people.

"But it was their mistake. If they'd surrendered we wouldn't have done this," said the 37-year-old postal worker.

Al-Amin's own city was devastated by a months-long siege by Gaddafi forces after the uprising against the now fugitive strongman began in February.

But Misrata held out - despite the deaths of around 1 400 of its people - and its battle-hardened fighters later helped take the capital Tripoli before they headed to Sirte to continue their war there.

On Thursday they and fighters from the eastern city of Benghazi - where the uprising kicked off on February 17 - were streaming through most of Sirte firing their guns in the air in celebration.

Confiscated vehicles

They rode the city's streets in their black-painted pick-up trucks with machine-guns or anti-aircraft guns mounted on the back, fiercely proud of the victory that had left dozens of their companions dead and hundreds wounded.

Some green flags of the Gaddafi regime still flutter on rooftops but they were quickly being replaced with the red, black and green banners of the revolution.

Fighters moved from house to house, hunting for weapons or suspected Gaddafi fighters and sometimes making off with bags full of looted possessions and leaving trashed homes in their wake.

Some Sirte residents had remained throughout the siege. The new regime fighters suspected many of the men folk of being Gaddafi fighters and hauled them off to prison.

A procession of confiscated vehicles were driven or towed out of the town that Gaddafi transformed into a showcase of his self-proclaimed revolution.

After he seized power in 1969, he turned a sleepy Mediterranean seaside village into a small city with a massive programme of public work.

It was in Sirte that Gaddafi held a meeting of African leaders that established the African Union, which the dictator followed up with a proposal to create a United States of Africa with his hometown as the capital.

Ouagadougou conference centre

The centrepiece of Gaddafi’s grandiose project in Sirte was the Ouagadougou conference centre, a giant marble-lined hall where he hosted summits of foreign heads of state.

The centre was the target of heavy shelling by NTC fighters who later moved in and spread throughout the sprawling complex, tearing down portraits of the fugitive Gaddafi and the green flags of his fallen 42-year regime.

The centre's huge windows were all blasted and its metal roof had caved in under the artillery barrage.

The devastation was general across Sirte, from Gaddafi’s palatial compound - battered by Nato bombs - in the southwest to the four-lane beachfront highway, strewn with debris and lined with apartment buildings with gaping holes from artillery fire.

"We didn't do this for revenge. We just wanted to stop them and be free," said postal worker Al-Amin.

  • Currie_Mafia - 2011-10-13 13:13


  • Sisie - 2011-10-13 13:20

    And where is Gadaffi? He left along time ago - probably not even in Libya anymore.

  • Set - 2011-10-13 13:22

    It would have been United States of African Dictators!(USAD)

  • Atholl - 2011-10-13 13:33

    The President in the capital of the United States of Africa. This was the Mbeki / Gaddafi Masterplan that they fought bitterly over the right to be the Pres of the {U S A} ... funny how unexpected events stumble Masterplans. But ... Maybe ... Who Knows ? Maybe the Masterplan can now be revived & resuscitated .... the United States of Africa ? with Master Pres Mbeki ? ... the master ? Sieg Thabo - Sieg Heil - Heil Thabo!

      phumlanim - 2011-10-13 14:38

      Give former president Mbeki a break, he resigned peacefully when requested to do so by the ANC or were you suprised that he didnt refuse, shame on you. Former president Mbeki is an African icon

  • Martin du Plessis - 2011-10-13 13:36

    It wouldn't have been destroyed if you'd given up instead of fighting a futile fight against the people of Libya.

  • Grynch - 2011-10-13 13:39

    Mugabe is and Malema wants to be a dictator. Let them take note.

  • BUGATTI - 2011-10-13 13:41

    I have got a neighbour that looks just like him. He moved in about a month ago and stays between the Congolese and Nigerian just above the Zimbabwean when the bloke from Malawi moved out. I wonder ???

  • Janbantjies - 2011-10-13 13:43

    His dreams will come true, all Africa`s capitals will be like that one day not to mentions the the "United states of Africa Capital." wherever that may end up being.

  • Benzo - 2011-10-13 13:55

    Another so-called dictator gone, another country partly ruined. Hurah, hurah. The suppressed masses now running through the streets, robbing, stealing and ruining whatever is left after their oil greedy supporters fired their 1,4 million dollar a piece rockets on their cities in the campaign to "make the world a safer place". People used to be more clever. Julius Ceasar was killed with a few knifes, kings and queens used to be decapitated, even Verwoerd was killed without blowing up the Union Buildings. Now mr Romney in the US is running for president under the message that God has been given the US the task to protect the world. The frightening thing is that many Americans might even belief this. Up to another oil rich country or nuclear threat. Next one: Iran!!!! Protests in SA......destruction first, hunger later. Fun was had by all!!

      Wes - 2011-10-13 14:26

      Your tin-foil hat seems ajar

  • 2WhiteStars - 2011-10-13 14:02

    A one-horse town like Sirte - the capital of a united Africa?! What a laugh. And where is that vain, craggy-faced prune hiding I wonder? To think he was having plastic surgery in Tripoli as the rebels were advancing west! He wanted to look fresher and younger for the anniversary of his coup d'etat. What a clown. If they catch him, maybe they can shoot him...out of a cannon. PS: next time you watch the news, take note of the jet black beards and moustaches of these Arab rulers. Even though some of them are well into their 60s or 70s, you won't see a single grey hair. They dye it. I wonder if they sell Just For Men wherever Gadaffi is hiding out?

  • Afrika - 2011-10-13 14:09

    Fools they are indeed! Destroying their own country with Europeans assistance. And other Europeans in this page are celebrating the victory!

      Wes - 2011-10-13 14:29

      This is what happens when you don't have democracy. With democracy you have a peaceful transfer of power. In a dictatorship power only transfers after a civil war. Had NATO not bombed this idiot, the war would have lasted 10 years. Is it too much for you not to be clueless.

      Joseph - 2011-10-14 01:47

      true they are just fools who think that they are clever.

  • Cullen - 2011-10-13 14:19

    the city he once dreamed would be the capital of the United States of Africa, this oke is smoking super strong

  • Libertador - 2011-10-13 14:19

    The battle for African self-determination did not start in Libya or with Qaddafi – it is a very long battle stretching back to the earliest incursions into Africa. And it is not the first time that Africans have faced such a sophisticated and deadly European attack – we can look way back at the battle of Isandlwana in 1879, where the arrogant British army, one of the most technologically advanced in the world at that time, was humbled by the Zulu fighters under the leadership of the great African king, Cetshwayo. In the words of the Afrocentric intellectual warrior, Dr Molefi Kete Asante: “The work of the Brother Leader, as he is sometimes called, has been to raise African consciousness to the point that some of the nations on the continent of Africa begin to reject the loyalty they hold for their colonial masters…Qaddafi has proposed that Africa do away with travel restrictions, create a common currency and ease trade tariffs and barriers. This African solidarity is not only a threat to the West – some who identify as Arabs have a difficult time accepting the Africanity promoted by Qaddafi.”

  • PRKER - 2011-10-13 14:44

    ...... and the currency of the US/Africa would have eventually been the Afro. Worth zilch but looking good.

      Libertador - 2011-10-13 15:19

      Are you really that stupid. If Africans adopted a single currency and demanded that their resources be traded in that currency, how would that result in their currency being worthless. The dollar has a value today because the oil producing Arabs have been co-opted into accepting ONLY dollars for their oil which by the way is a worthless piece of paper in economic terms as it is not backed by anything. It's called fiat money, you stupid caucasian, damn this country is full of them.

  • kwakadima - 2011-10-14 02:15

    Libyan people have to solve them self their problems, Because they are concerned. Leave them doing it in peace and calm, do not give them too much pressure.

  • thembelani.ndlovu86 - 2011-10-14 20:52

    foolish libyans - they will be stuck in a civil war forever whilst the NATO countries sell them arms and loot the oil.

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