Following the Libyan uprising

The Guardian's liveblog of the news coming from Libya is fantastic, in a gripping and sickly horrible way. From the troops and mercenaries massacring demonstrators to the weird, rambling speech of Saif Gadaffi (Muammar's son) blaming drug addicts and foreigners for his people's uprising and threatening to murder the whole country to keep it in his family's hands, it's all there, with frequent updates. The Younger Gadaffi's loose grip on reality can be further explored on his moribund Twitter feed (Google translation to English).

There's also an incredible set of photos of the Libyan uprising on Flickr user Fadhomar's stream.

Renesys has information on the blocks in Libyan Internet coverage: "Two-thirds of Libyan routes came back to life at 6:01 UTC (8:01 local time), and the remainder were restored nine minutes later. At the moment, spot checks of Libyan domains and traceroutes into affected networks indicate that connectivity has been restored, and Libya is back on the Internet." (Thanks, @Re6smith!)

10.28am - Libya: On Audioboo, a group called feb17voices is collecting audio recordings from Libyans reporting on what is happening in their country. Here is a transcript from one from Saturday:

My name is Rahma, I am located in Tripoli right now, I am heading out to Fashloom area, they have heard that Fashloom is beginning to protest that ... and other suburbs are sort of rioting and protesting anti-government, and because of these riots the cops as we speak are shooting live ammunition and grenades at them. I don't know ... Beaten hard right now but Fashloom, Gergaresh and Zawiya street. These are streets, locations, suburbs, areas in Tripoli.

This is one from Tripoli that was uploaded three hours ago, about protests in Green Square, in the Libyan capital:

The supporters who took over the square, there were like maybe three or four thousand people. The people who came after that, there were like less numbers.

This Tripoli man says Gaddafi "is challenging the masses, but, OK, I think he is going to lose it in a couple of days".

Libya uprising - live updates (today)

Libya protests - as they happened (Sunday)

(Image: Libya's new flag, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from khalidalbaih's photostream)



  1. What I want to know is: what’s up with Gadaffi’s face. Did some plastic surgery go wrong or something? He always looked kinda weird, but wow.

    Looks like he’s been seeing a taxidermist.

    1. An old insult from middle school comes to mind: “He looks like his face caught fire and someone put out the fire with a fork.”

    2. Gaddafi has had cosmetic surgery. He is widely regarded in diplomatic circles as exceedingly vain. Check out the wikileaks cables related to him for details.

      1. That and his toop is jacked…. Bald is beautiful, Gadaffi! I think you were quite handsome in your youth, g. Wherever you and arrogant seed flee to, lay off the fillers.

        The Great Age of Revolution. The US’s starting in Madison?

  2. I’m ambivalent about all this because I know the US has always hated Gadaffi, not because he was a dictator, they are fine with dictators like Mubarak that bleed their countries dry, torture and murder their people, but because Gadaffi was largely socialist and, until the last decade, kept most western corporations out of Libya. Libya even nationalized 70% of their oil, only leaving foreign oil companies with some interest because Libya needed their expertise. Their inability to exploit Libya is why the global capitalists hated Gadaffi.

    So what the truth is, I don’t know. But the US wasn’t sending people to Libya to be tortured, but they were sending them to Egypt and Syria.

    This…oil revenue, however, made possible a substantial improvement in the lives of virtually all Libyans. During the 1970s, the government succeeded in making major improvements in the general welfare of its citizens. By the 1980s Libyans enjoyed much improved housing and education, comprehensive social welfare services, and general standards of health that were among the highest in Africa.
    The Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

    So what’s true? I don’t kown. But it may be that the violence in Libya has western intelligence agencies behind it. Or it may be it’s people driven, but in this case I don’t necessarily believe western media.

    1. What is the relevance of the U.S. and its position on Libya?

      Many (though not all) Libyans enjoy the material benefits of an oil-rich state that has chosen to invest some of the profits into public infrastructure. As a consequence of this investment, many Libyans are highly educated. At the same time, press freedom and unfettered political participation do not exist in the country.

      The revolution in Tunisia was about economics, but the emerging struggle in Libya is about something else, and not the least the desire to meaningfully participate in the direction of the state.

      1. I agree, David.

        A guilded cage is a cage nonetheless.

        All reports indicate that political freedom did not exist and that political opposition and difference was brutally repressed.

        You either took what was offered or suffered the consequences.

        Furthermore, those who were not in the ‘in’ crowd were always at risk of violence from the corrupt – thus there was no freedom, liberty, peace or equality before the law.

  3. Though I cannot know the nuances of the revolts happening in each of the Arab states, I can’t help but instinctively side with the (more or less) unarmed people against the heavily armed military and dictators.

    I hope that if history takes a turn and Canada ever finds itself in a situation like that (hopefully unlikely), I would have the guts to be in the streets facing down the bullies of autocratic power. And I have enormous respect for those who do.

    I don’t know what will come of all the revolutions. Some of them might end in democracy, some will probably end in a new dictatorship. Some may even be hostile to the US (given the history). Who cares? Surely the US is strong enough to survive the antipathy of the mighty emirate of Bahrain, or Libya?

    Course, the price of gas might go up, but it was going up anyway and this will provide the oil companies with a convenient excuse to point at while they bathe in solid gold tubs and fly gold plated lear jets.

  4. I recommend following @acarvin for an amazing (and somewhat overwhelming) tweet stream of Libya and other revolutions. Public media FTW.

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