Today is a Libyan holiday known as fateh. It's the celebration of Mu'ammar Qaddafi's revolution. On Sept. 1, 1969, a 27-year-old Qaddafi led a bloodless coup, overthrowing King Idris. Qaddafi took over as leader and promoted himself to colonel. He named the country the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. "Jamahiriya" is a term the colonel coined to mean the "state of the masses" governed by the populace through local councils. There's been lead up to tonight's sweeping celebration, turning Tripoli into an emerald city - signifying the color of Libya's flag. Many buildings have lights with green hues. White and colored lights dot the streets, music blares on stages and traffic is beyond belief. Tripoli is extra spruced up, and there's a culminating celebration tonight at the Green Square. Last night, as we were driving home, we watched fireworks sparkle in the sky. Qaddafi is the world's longest-serving leader, which is why he spoke at the United Nations last fall. I've noticed that Libyans typically don't refer to Qaddafi as Qaddafi. He is "the leader," "brother leader" or "the colonel." His picture is splashed across billboards throughout the city. Some signs simply say 41, denoting the number of years since his coup. In keeping with his Pan-African them, other billboards depict a united Africa. Here are some pictures: [imagebrowser id=19] [nggallery id=19]
Natalie is traveling to Libya under a fellowship from the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media at Columbia College.