On day of historic vote, Libyan activist returns to scene of violent crackdown

Screen grab of Samar Serguiwa's video from the first days of Libya's popular uprising.
 
During the first days of the popular uprising against former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Samar Serguiwa filmed as pro-Gaddafi forces cracked down on protests in the country’s eastern city of Benghazi and posted the images online. As the country headed out to the polls on Saturday to vote in the first elections since Gaddafi’s ousting, Serguiwa returned to the exact spot where she recorded the video to pay homage to the victims of the uprising.
Contributors

“As if to turn the page on Libya’s past, Serguiwa leaned on the very balcony where she filmed and took a photo of herself holding up an ink-stained finger”

Enas Saddoh is a blogger in Tripoli. She is also taking part in the FRANCE 24 Observers and RFI Media Workshop’s special election project, which deploys teams of citizen journalists to the capital to cover the vote.
 
Serguiwa filmed what were among the first images to emerge of the regime’s crackdown on anti-government protests in Benghazi, also known as the cradle of the Libyan revolution. In it, Serguiwa’s voice can be heard screaming the now famous words, ‘They want to burn us!’
 
Video of unrest in Benghazi filmed by our Observer, Samar Sarqiwa, on February 18, 2011.
 
 
On the day of the country’s historic parliamentary elections [Saturday, July 7], Serguiwa returned to the very spot where she stood and filmed the scenes of violence nearly 17 months ago. She also published an open letter entitled “Letter to Libya” on her Facebook page. Below is an excerpt from the text:
 
‘Hello Dear Libya,
 
After a long wait, a very anxious wait marked by sacrifice, at last your day has come my beloved Libya. We are going to pay homage to our martyrs and the victims of our battle for freedom by going out to vote and dipping our fingers in the ink of progress […] It is the moment for every Libyan who loves their country, for every Libyan who cares about our general wellbeing to head out to the polls so that we might carry our country toward a more peaceful future. Thank you, my country that has suffered so, for this gift’.
 
 
 
 
As if to turn the page on Libya’s past, Serguiwa leaned on the very balcony where she filmed the video more than one year ago, and photographed herself holding up an ink-stained finger.
 
 

Comments

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Louis, I am a friend of your motehr, Marie Christine. Thank you for your efforts to provide objective information on the revolutionary struggle in Libya and Egypt. Marie Christine and I were in Eygpt together three years ago with Mary Jean Eisenhower for the presentation of the Eisenhower Medal to an organization which aids families from Israel and Palestine who have lost loved ones in the violence but have chosen peace as a means of the greiving process. I worked in Sudan and Egypt during 1969-1974 when international technology transfer programs were funded in hopes of modernizing the Third World.Be safe.Regards,Rose Lee

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