Libya’s dictatorship lingersby Martin Fletcher / June 20, 2012 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2012 issue of Prospect Magazine
Bab al-Azizia was Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s huge, fortified compound in southern Tripoli. Ten months after his fall, it has been reduced to rubble by fleets of bulldozers. When I ventured in to take photographs, half-a-dozen armed militiamen accused me of spying, forced me into a car, and drove me away for interrogation. How many times had I visited Libya, I was asked? Where had I gone? Who had I met? Had I supported Gaddafi?
I replied that I had been detained twice by Gaddafi’s thugs during last year’s revolution, and was somewhat surprised to be detained again by those that toppled him. I was finally released, but I had glimpsed the dark side of the new Libya—a country that has deposed its dictator but has yet to shed the culture of fear and repression that he fostered for 42 years.