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The Transformation of the Sacred Gate

After 42 years of repressive rule, Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi was removed from power in 2011 and Libyans were finally free of his oppressive regime. Although two years have already passed, remnants of Qaddafi’s reign will live on for many more. The city of Tripoli is in the process of taking a big step towards removing his presence from the city by converting his former military compound into a public park. This change is symbolic of the country’s struggle for rebirth as a democratic nation, and while problems with militias continue to bring this North African nation turmoil, Libya has made steps forward in the way of a successful General National Congress election in 2012.

There will be a number of difficulties in converting Bab al-Azizya, or “Sacred Gate”, into a large public park. The complex was originally built by King Idris, but was heavily fortified by Qaddafi and expanded to include tunnels under much of central Tripoli. Firstly, as it was used as the main base for Muammar Qaddafi’s military campaigns, the Splendid Gate compound was also a weapons cache. Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan has said that in the area military specialists had “found some buried rockets and found some radioactive material that needed treatment“. Therefore the government has to first remove all potentially radioactive materials and stored weapons before even attempting to build a park.

In addition to radioactive material problems, the government also has to deal with the issue of local residents whose homes had been destroyed during the civil war and are currently squatting in the buildings of Bab al-Azizya. These residents claim they have rights that need to be recognized by the government – including cleaning up the compound. The government has taken measures to help their situation, allocating part of the budget to housing allowances or construction for these citizens.

As a symbol of Qaddafi’s power stretching throughout central Tripoli, the Splendid Gate’s takeover by rebels on August 23rd, 2011 was a pivotal moment in the Libyan civil war. It showed the world that this popular rebellion was driving the estranged dictator out of power and out of their country, as images of rebels kicking around a statue of Qaddafi’s head and posing atop the infamous fist clutching the US fighter jet flooded the press. The takeover of the compound was reported as the end of “the idea of Qaddafi as the Libyan ruler” and the beginning of the National Transition Council being recognized as the legitimate representatives of the Libyan people.

Libya’s tourism minister Ikram Bash Imam has said that most of the area around the complex in the capital’s southern suburbs was parkland before Qaddafi expanded his fortress. Thus the current government seeks to return the area to its previous state by removing the rest of the compound – which was partially destroyed by NATO airstrikes – and converting the area into a wooded park to be enjoyed by “the people of Tripoli and guests”.

While the struggle towards stability has been and will continue to be a slow and difficult path, there is no denying the strides Libya has made with the removal of Qaddafi from power and begins of democracy. Bab al-Azizya’s turning into a park is an example of Tripoli’s gradual transformation in the post-Qaddafi era, and a nice metaphor of trading the arrow for the olive branch.

-Michael Swistara

photo credit: AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by FreedomHouseDC

About Michael Swistara

Michael graduated from McGill University in 2015 with a double major in political science and economics, and currently attends Columbia University where he is pursuing a master's degree. As former Editor-in-Chief of the Political Bouillon, Michael continues to occasionally contribute articles on his favorite topics, including American politics, economic policy, and foreign affairs.

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One comment

  1. Jagatheesan Chandrasekharan

    Драги пријатели,

    Ве молиме присуствуваат на државно ниво Студентите конференција на
    слобода PARK Бангалор на ” RESEVATION во приватниот сектор ” ЗА OBC / SC
    / STS на 16-02-2014 на 10:00 .

    52 ) Dīgha Nikāya – Poṭṭhapāda Sutta во класична македонска

    БЈП RSS е, Конгресот, ААП се обидуваат од себе да се види БСП не се
    здобијат со моќ , кој ќе ви помогне sarva Samaj за нивната благосостојба
    среќа и мир со спроведување на уставните одредби кои го избегнале сите
    овие години

    Sutta Pitaka

    – Коша на дискурси –

    [ Sutta : дискурс ]

    Digha Nikaaya

    DN 9 –

    Potthapaada Sutta

    { извадок }

    – Прашањата на Potthapaada –

    – Коша на дискурси –

    [ Sutta : дискурс ]

    На Sutta Pitaka содржи суштината на
    настава на Буда во врска со Dhamma . Таа содржи повеќе од десет
    илјади suttas . Тоа е поделено во пет збирки наречен Nikaayas .


    Сега, Господару , не перцепција се појават на прво место, и знаење по , или не
    знаење појават на прво место, и перцепцијата по , или направи перцепција и
    знаење јавуваат истовремено?

    Potthapada , перцепцијата произлегува прво, и знаење после. и
    кои произлегуваат од знаење доаѓа од настанувањето на перцепција. Еден discerns ,
    “Тоа е во зависност од тоа што се случи моето знаење. ” Преку овој
    линија на резонирање може да се сфати колку перцепцијата произлегува прво, и
    знаење по него, и како што произлегуваат од знаење доаѓа од кои произлегуваат
    на перцепција….

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