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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

One colleague who acted as translator at the first televised news conference quit after his wife, who was in Tripoli, was threatened so Gheriani stepped in.

“My wife said: what are you doing?” he said.

First, a city council was set up to to keep the city functioning.

“We tried to find skilled people and work from there. People were picked for their skills. And they built their own teams. Then the outside world said “who is the political face”

Thus a 31-member National Council was set up to give the movement a political direction. France recognised it and momentum gathered pace as the Libyan diplomats overseas switched sides and exiles returned.

“We thought Tripoli would fall,” Gheriani said.

But now the revolution has stalled. Tripoli has is still Gaddfai’s hands and there is little movement on the eastern front line at Ajdabiyah, 150 km (90 miles) to the south.

The opposition on Wednesday picked Mahmoud Jebril — a disillusioned former senior economics planner for the Gaddafi government — to head an interim government and appoint a shadow cabinet.

They hope it will win international recognition, although officials stress partition of Libya is not their goal.

Educated technocrats and figures with an international profile look likely to form the backbone of the interim government.

Ali Tahrouni, a U.S.-based academic and exile opposition figure, returned to Benghazi days after the protests and is now in charge of finance and economics for the interim government.

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