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Building a revolution from scratch

Building a revolution from scratch

Angus MacSwan looks at how Libya builds its rebel structure, involving both the youth and professionals across the sector, with exiles returning to help the cause.


March 24, 2011 5:00 by

He was speaking in the rebel headquarters, whose peeling walls are festooned with cartoons and posters with anti-Gaddafi slogans. Many animated conversations take place in the corridors although communications are difficult, with mobile phones often out of action.

Armed fighters guard the doors and crowds of young men mill around outside.

Gheriani, 54, lives most of the time in Fenton, Michigan, with his American wife and family. He left Libya aged 18 to study and graduated from the University of West Michigan with a degree in engineerirng.

He runs a construction company and spends his time between Libya and the United States.

Once the Gaddafi authorities had surrendered in Benghazi, people came forward to organise the running of the city. Appointments were made on the spot, he said.

“We told a bank manager … you are in charge of the banking system now. Make sure there’s enough money. We need to make sure the flour got to the bakeries, that the mosques had supplies for those people without.”

Most of the organisers came from an older generation who grew up before Gaddafi seized power in 1969 and had a good education. Many of the youths spearheading the uprising have little education or organisational skills due to Gaddafi’s policies, he said.

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