Women do their bit for Libya revolution

2011-09-13 22:36

Tripoli - Bursting with revolutionary pride and armed with brooms and paintbrushes, every day a group of Libyan women from all walks of life meet at a Tripoli square before fanning out to clean up the capital and paint pro-revolution wall murals.

Dressed in yellow uniforms, around 50 housewives, employees and professionals gather at the Al-Qadisiyah square to ready for daily volunteer missions on behalf of the rebellion that ousted strongman Muammar Gaddafi from more than four decades of rule.

"We started a voluntary campaign on Saturday to clean up our city. We will continue our work for a week," Nema Oreibi, 52, told AFP as she swept the streets near a hotel on Shatt avenue.

"I come here with my family to carry out my duty towards the revolution. I wish I could carry a rifle, but for me the broom serves the same purpose," said the teacher, adjusting her black veil.

Oreibi said women taking part in the campaign "realise the sensitivity of the current phase" in Libya.
Uncollected rubbish piled up in Tripoli after rebels fighting Gaddafi loyalists stormed the city on August 20, and the capital was plunged in chaos.

After Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim feast late last month marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, only some sanitation workers returned to their jobs, leaving rubbish and waste piled up in several parts of the capital.

"All that is happening here now is part of a new beginning. Now we feel that we own our country," said Oreibi.

"We want to show the world that we are civilised," she said, wearing black gloves and pointing to a hotel where a large number of foreign journalists are staying.

Women's freedom and dignity

One of her relatives, Marwa, a 19-year-old engineering student, helps Oreibi, getting compliments and praise from motorists.

"We have to provide something to our country. Before the revolution, we did not have any feelings of nationalism, but now we feel responsible for our country," said Marwa.

"Just like us, journalists should see the beautiful side of Tripoli, where women are not afraid anymore to face problems... they will defend their rights and their country."

A few metres away, another family member, Abdulhamid Oreibi, 55, a Libyan Airlines pilot and the odd-man out in the women's campaign, gave instructions to youngsters on cleaning the streets.

"We started to love each other more now. For these young people, the future of Libya is clear," he said.
The volunteer work by his wife, daughters and female relatives "is a symbol of women's freedom and dignity in their country, which is no longer ruled by one person," he added, referring to Gaddafi.

The fugitive strongman, his most prominent son Seif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi are all wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.

Volunteers in other parts of the capital show their support by painting revolutionary war murals.
"I am drawing the [green-black-red] revolutionary flag piercing Gaddafi's skull," said Rana Tekli, an 18-year-old foreign languages student busy at a wall near Bab al-Aziziya, the former headquarters of the ousted leader.

"We want to show that we killed him psychologically before anything else," said Tekli, sporting dark sunglasses.

Another painting shows a woman dumping Gaddafi in the "trash bin of history," together with his Green Book of political philosophy, rats and a Nazi flag.

"Now we can smell and breathe freedom," said Tekli's 12-year-old sister, Camilla.

  • marco - 2011-09-13 23:15

    Libya:The Settling Of Scores between pro-Gaddafi forces and the Rebels. The crimes of the Gaddafi dictatorship are legion and well documented by Western journalist,the brutality of the anti-Gaddafi forces this year less so,up until now. Amnesty International has published a 107 page report "The Battle For Libya" which accuses both sides of war crimes.The report notes that by far the majority of atrocities were carried out by the Gaddafi side but also catalogues those committed by the Rebels and warns that these are continuing.In June news reports were warning that a degree of "pay back" was inevitable,and Amnesty suggested it was widespread but notes that the National Transitional Council(NTC)has made strenuous verbal efforts to try and curb it. Amnesty International says there has been lynching of Gaddafi soldiers after capture and that dozens of people accused of being part of the regime have been murdered.These crimes happened after the capture of territory in Eastern Libya and are thought to still be occurring now in the West.It is,in the words of the report a "brutal settling of scores" by anti-Gaddafi forces. In Tripoli it is believed that hundreds of people have been taken from their homes or work places.Many have been beaten with sticks and rifles while bound and blindfolded,in some cases,says Amnesty,they were shot. The campaign of violence against black Africans continues.Of the estimated thousands of people rounded up Amnesty estimates up to half

  • marco - 2011-09-13 23:15

    are foreigners and most of those are black Africans. It accuses the NTC of not doing enough to correct false assumptions that the black African workers in Libya are mercenaries.The NTC has consistently sent messages to its forces ordering them to obey and respect international law and refrain from reprisals.The problem though is not only that some atrocities were inevitable,but that the NTC doesn't control the Rebel fighters.For example,prison officials told Amnesty International that they report to the local military councils only and not to the Ministry of Justice.There is clearly no unified command of the rebel forces now is it,the Misrata fighters will only take orders from Misrata,Tripoli fighters from Tripoli etc,etc. Load of bull**** going on there in Libya where the NTC gets recognition in France by NATO and 30 other nations,but gets ****all recognition in their own country Libya.How about that?

      Anton - 2011-09-14 05:40

      Marco, One must not forget that the TNC is not a political party, It is a hastitly formed gathering of all sections of Libyan soceity, with only one objective in common, and that is to get rid of this gaddafi family. Their first task is to form an Interim government and than to hold elections within 8 months. That there are also "no good' Libyans in this opposition, is in no doubt. The NTC will do well, if it now concentrates on law and order, and have perpatrators of crime brought to justice, But don't forget that gaddafi destroyed much of the libyan infrastructure, including haveing a "fair and open" judiciary. And in the meantime there is still fighting going on , in certain parts of the country, and COWARD RAT NUMBER ONE and COWARD RAT NUMBER TWO , are still in hiding or on the run. It is going to be an uphill battle to get Libya to where many dream off, and although it might take years, the Libyan will be rewarded with a so much better life than they had under 42 years of tyranny by the gaddafi family. Instead of critizing them and making unrealistic demands, we should give them all the support they needs and deserve!!!!!

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