Photo of an unidentified rebel taken in Tripoli right after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime.
One of the bloggers who writes for Libya Blog, a joint project between FRANCE 24 and RFI, has crafted a humorous little guide to becoming a Libyan “revolutionary” – intended for those who missed out on the actual revolution.
Ask any civilian in Tripoli today whether the militiamen who patrol the streets were all rebels during the revolution, and you’ll likely get a laugh in response. They’ll tell you that many of these men were not rebels at all, and only jumped on the bandwagon once all the fighting was over.
So if you, too, want to join in on the fun, read Karim Nabata’s handy guide…

"Just follow these six simple steps and you, too, can become a successful turncoat"

Dear impostor,
Were you pro-Gaddafi to the very end? Did you dabble in corruption? Fail to predict Gaddafi’s fall? Did you just not participate in the revolution (or maybe you even opposed it), but still want to surf on the rising revolutionary tide?
Don’t worry! It’s never too late. Just follow these six simple steps and you, too, can become a successful turncoat...
First, make sure you get with the revolutionary program and become part of a militia — preferably one that is far from your neighborhood, where people already know you. To help you in this process, here is a list of militias made especially for people like you:

• EL KAAKAA: Based in western Tripoli, this militia is made up of escaped prisoners and men accused of war crimes. El Kaakaa recruits born-again virgins — so to speak — so long as they are unflinchingly loyal to the Melegta family, who are themselves reviled in their city (Az Zintan) due to their anti-revolutionary stance at the beginning of the Libyan uprising.
AL SOUAYHLI: Also based in Tripoli with a leader from Misrata [another city in northern Libya], this militia is composed of former volunteers in the pro-Gaddafi militias who take advantage of the hot Misrata label — the revolutionary city par excellence — to loot and wreak havoc in Tripoli.
Second, start showing up everywhere in military-style uniform. Whatever you do, don’t forget to wear shirts sporting the independence flag. For added effect, you might also consider decking out your car’s windshield with a picture of any deceased distant relatives with a catchy revolutionary caption (like “The blood of martyrs was not spilled in vain!”) — no matter that they died, say, in an accident or of old age. No one’s going to ask.
Next, try to participate in the siege of a city that pro-Gaddafi militias still control. Naturally, actual combat is not recommended for people with weak spines like you (and, well, if you are killed in combat, this manual won’t really be that useful to you anymore). So if you can, try to work in logistics or some equally cushy gig. Once you get home from this fun little vacation, you should systematically harass your neighbors by calling them “azlam” (those who remain loyal to the former regime) and “tahaleb” (literally means “algae,” referencing the green flag of the former regime) even if it’s totally untrue — it’ll conveniently deflect any suspicions about your past.
This probably goes without saying, but you should also update your Facebook profile picture with the independence flag. And make sure to tag yourself and all your friends in pictures from the frontlines and to “like” absolutely everyone’s causes (you can never really be sure who’ll come out on top in the end, so better to be safe than sorry).
Then, intersperse your everyday conversations with the following terms to denote your fallen brother Gaddafi:
MAKBOUR: “the buried one”
TAGHYA: “the tyran”
BOUCHAFCHOUFA: “the hairy one”
This will make your feigned hatred of the former regime a little more convincing.
One final tip, and then you’re good to go: every occasion you get, wax lyrical about your heroic efforts to spring revolutionaries out of prison during the uprising by acting as a double agent for the revolution (this would be impossible to verify due to the high volume of prisoners). You played the role of a Gaddafi supporter so well that even your closest family members were fooled!
If you follow my six easy steps to passing as a revolutionary, you, too, can profit from this new regime!
See you at the next revolution!