Gaddafi’s home town Sirte blasted into the Dark Ages



Across Libya in recent days, people have been partying, crowds gathering in public places and everyone has been looking forward to building a new country after more than 40 years of stifling, dictatorial rule.

Everywhere, it seems, except for Sirte.

I spent much of the last month here in Sirte, Col Muammar Gaddafi’s home town – a place he had built up from a position of almost insignificant obscurity to become one of the most modern and well-appointed towns in the country.

For the last two weeks, forces from the new transitional government had bombed and blasted Sirte back into the Dark Ages, as pro-Gaddafi fighters inside the city refused to surrender.

Return to rubble

It was to this devastation that the Hassan family returned to over the weekend.

Hoping that they would be able to move into their modest apartment near the beachfront, those hopes were dashed as soon as they saw what was left.

Every single building here bore significant bomb, rocket and bullet damage.

The family home, if you could any longer call it that, had a huge hole in the wall where the living room used to be. There was barely a single item worth salvaging from the rubble.

People returning to Sirte have been searching for loved ones
A very angry and clearly upset Dr Ahmed Hassan spoke to me briefly before returning with his family to the tent they now sharewith other families from Sirte in the desert, a short drive to the east of the town.

“I am a lecturer at the university here… What did I do to deserve this?” protested the father of five.

He did not admit whether or not he’d been a Gaddafi supporter.

He shrugged his shoulders when I asked him about the scenes of celebration in Benghazi, Tripoli and Misrata.

“I don’t really care. We’ll see what happens,” he said – clearly unconvinced by the path being taken in the “new” Libya.

What to do with Sirte and the hundreds of thousands of people who supported Gaddafi for so long is one of the most important issues for the transitional authorities here.

At the huge rally in Benghazi to mark the end of Libya’s civil conflict, speaker after speaker stressed the importance of national reconciliation, and of not allowing the country to fragment along tribal and geographical lines.

Back in Sirte after the battle, the guns may have fallen silent but there is much animosity in the air.

This does not yet feel like a place ready to discuss reconciliation.

Gaddafi’s final days

One reason why the fighting in Sirte went on for so long and was so fierce is now abundantly clear.

After fleeing Tripoli, for the first few weeks at least, Col Gaddafi lived in relative comfort.
Gaddafi had been hiding out here ever since the fall of Tripoli two months ago.

It appears, that in the first few weeks at least, he lived in relative comfort in a large villa in the middle of Sirte.

When I went there, it was well-appointed for a long-term guest: plenty of food still in the cupboards and even an exercise bicycle in the living room.

But even here, the fighting became too intense.

I was then shown a succession of small flats and even cellars where the former leader spent his final days – scurrying between hideouts in Sirte, ultimately unable to escape the ferocity and intensity of the incoming fire.

The town has been blasted to smithereens.

The main road running through the area which saw the worst of the fighting is called Dubai Street. I have rarely seen such a picture of destruction.

Terrible retribution

Some people have more than possessions to pick over and recover.

At one location on the western edge of the city, not far from where Gaddafi’s “escape” convoy was halted, I counted 61 bodies laid out in white bags on the dusty desert floor.

A picture of destruction – Dubai Street where some of the heaviest fighting took place.
These were Gaddafi’s bodyguards and fighters, but they were still husbands and brothers and sons.

A small succession of returning residents carefully zipped open each bag – holding their noses against the overwhelming stench – to see if they could recognise and claim the body of a loved one.

On the other side of the town, days later, at least 50 bodies were found scattered on a patch of grass.

It is thought they were also pro-Gaddafi men – shot dead with their hands tied behind their backs.

Muammar Gaddafi was an undoubted tyrant, whose regime killed and tortured thousands of opponents.

But there is disturbing evidence that, in the bitter final days of this conflict, terrible retribution was taken against many of his supporters, particularly here in Sirte.

A military commander in Sirte, from the National Transitional Council (NTC), told me that the priority here is to stabilise the city from a security perspective, to make sure that all Gaddafi’s troops have been captured.

Only then, he added, would they talk about how to rebuild the town but where to start?

This town, where Gaddafi spent billions, will not enjoy such favour and privilege in the new Libya.

Some say that Sirte should not be rebuilt at all but instead left in its destroyed crumbling state as a memorial to Colonel Gaddafi’s victims.

  1. #1 by 9millionvoices on 10/27/2011 - 9:34

    This is sad – it is enough. Please, please, the blood of the innocent is crying out, the voices of young, old, feeble, sick, tied-up, innocent, weak, women, boys, girls – generations to come will suffer on this path of blood. What happened here? Can you hear the cry of the indiscriminate slaughter of innocents in Libyan? Are they not crying hard enough? The reports of systematic rape, torture, executions, lynchings, beheadings MUST stop. We are appealing to the conscience – oh…Africa what is this????? This is not democracy but blood-crazy!

  2. #2 by massigusoni on 10/27/2011 - 9:34

    F*** BBC

  3. #3 by B.A.Frémaux-Soormally on 10/27/2011 - 9:34

    And Christendom and the West call themselves civilised! Almost the entire world has been complicit in this.


  4. #4 by B.A.Frémaux-Soormally on 10/27/2011 - 9:34

    more than 40 years of stifling, dictatorial rule.


  5. #5 by nooralhaqiqa on 10/27/2011 - 9:34

    “Muammar Gaddafi was an undoubted tyrant, whose regime killed and tortured thousands of opponents.”

    This is why the Greens fought so hard to maintain the regime?

    I am so effing tired of reading about Libya in which EVERY article perpetrates these stories of a man who also did so much good and was a TRUE hero and freedom fighter! A man who improved life in his country so greatly, a country who a year or so ago was commended on its magnificent human rights record!

    And meanwhile, these article rarely mention the perpetrators of this damage and their agenda….

  6. #6 by Ingrid B on 10/27/2011 - 9:34

    @9millionvoices, the sad fact is, that those who did this, have no conscience..

  7. #7 by Ingrid B on 10/27/2011 - 9:34

    I keep remembering a scene from a western film. The baddies, had robbed the goodies, and sat round a campfire, drinking, and counting their spoils, never dreaming that the goodies would circle back, pump the drunken, greedy bstrds full of lead, and take back that which was rightfully theirs..

  8. #8 by ruby22shoes on 10/27/2011 - 9:34

    How ironic that BBC, which cannot suppress their sneering racism towards Gadaffi {undoubted tyrant, etc.} expects anyone to believe a word they print.
    Even if you are wise enough to see through the prejudices & arrogance how much of that superiority propaganda leaks into our own subconsciousness?

  9. #9 by ricardo on 10/27/2011 - 9:34

    this is the world that neocon zionisn wants for all of us to live in {, except them of course] be careful we are all on their list if we dont bend over and take it. they will destroy everything and if we go along with them they will destroy our souls ,viva gaddafi you will be remembered as a front lin e soldier in the war against zionism.

  10. #10 by funky d on 10/28/2011 - 9:34

    I REFUSE TO READ OR SEE ANYTHING POLTICAL ON THE BBC ANYMORE. they had a documentary on the dale farm evictions of travellers (gypsy community) but i thought it would be biased bullsh*t so didn’t bother watching it. everthing on that channel is LIES, LIES AND MORE LIES. not surprising when you consider who runs it, and the mi5 connections of their journalists like john simpson; the same john simpson who claimed that i was the bbc wot liberated iraq after the fall of saddam.

  11. #11 by Ingrid B on 10/28/2011 - 9:34

    @funky d, yes, I remember Simpson, the resistance in Iraq almost shut him up for good at one point..

  12. #12 by Ingrid B on 10/28/2011 - 9:34

    and what about the license fee?? even if you have no truck with the BBC, you have to pay that.. It`s the same system here in Norway..

  13. #13 by abinashi on 10/28/2011 - 9:34

    I’m British, but I am disgusted at the BBC! How would you like a cowardly bunch of Oligarchs to Bomb your land, preventing you from defending yourself against a maniacal paid force of mercenary Taliban who rape and murder your children and wives, and finally sodomize you with a baronet before executing you?
    All the Libyan billions have disappeared, the oil given away to foreign multinationals, the Banksters back to end Libya’s interest free loans, no more expectation of owning a home, and the end of Gadaffi’s attempt to free Africa from colonization: Sounds like they’ll be as ripped off as we all are.
    Now, wives cannot legally own their own homes… Yea, back to the stone age!

  14. #14 by amerikagulag on 10/28/2011 - 9:34

    Now we’ll charge THEM for rebuilding. See? It’s how the zionists get their cream off the top of occupation.

  15. #15 by James on 10/29/2011 - 9:34

    It’s now official – there’s been no actual shortage of Holocaust Survivors :

    Quote from The Holocaust Industry by Norman G. Finkelstein of the City University of New York, published by Verso in the year 2000:
    ‘The Israeli Prime Minister’s office recently put the number of “living Holocaust survivors” at nearly a million.’ (page 83)

    I’ve checked out the six volumes of Churchill’s Second World War and the statement is quite correct – not a single mention of Nazi ‘gas chambers,’ a ‘genocide’ of the Jews, or of ‘six million’ Jewish victims of the war.

    Eisenhower’s Crusade in Europe is a book of 559 pages; Churchill’s Second World War totals 4,448 pages; and De Gaulle’s three-volume Mémoires de guerre is 2,054 pages.

    In this mass of writing, which altogether totals 7,061 pages (not including the introductory parts), published from 1948 to 1959, one will find no mention either of Nazi ‘gas chambers,’ a ‘genocide’ of the Jews, or of ‘six million’ Jewish victims of the war.

  16. #16 by Sheila on 11/01/2011 - 9:34

    In honor of Ghadaffi and Libya, Sirte could be a beautiful paradise again. Fashioned from results of war into peace and good will. With a wailing wall and resting spiritual place for the martyr.

  17. #17 by Sheila on 11/01/2011 - 9:34

    This Is My Will

    By Muammar Gaddafi
    (Black October, 2011)

    This is my will. I, Muammar bin Mohammad bin Abdussalam bi Humayd bin Abu Manyar bin Humayd bin Nayil al Fuhsi Gaddafi, do swear that there is no god but God and that Mohammad is God’s Prophet, peace be upon him. I pledge that I will die as Muslim.

    Should I be killed, I would like to be buried, according to Muslim rituals, in the clothes I was wearing at the time of my death and my body unwashed, in the cemetery of Sirte, next to my family and relatives.

    I would like that my family, especially women and children, be treated well after my death.

    The Libyan people should protect its identity, achievements, history, and the honorable image of its ancestors and heroes. The Libyan people should not relinquish the sacrifices of the free and best people.

    I call on my supporters to continue the resistance, and fight any foreign aggressor against Libya, today, tomorrow, and always.

    Let the free people of the world know that we could have bargained over and sold out our cause in return for a personal secure and stable life. We received many offers to this effect but we chose to be at the vanguard of the confrontation as a badge of duty and honor.

    Even if we do not win immediately, we will give a lesson to future generations that choosing to protect the nation is an honor and selling it out is the greatest betrayal that history will remember forever despite the attempts of the others to tell you otherwise.

  18. #18 by Sheila on 11/01/2011 - 9:34

  19. #19 by Ingrid B on 11/01/2011 - 9:34

    @Sheila: thanks for posting the above..
    there have been suggestions that it was not Gaddafi who fell into the hands of the barbarians from Benghazi, could be he lives, but, in any case, he lives on..

  20. #20 by 9millionvoices on 01/14/2012 - 9:34

    Whatever Gaddafi did, the last end was too painful to see. And to imagine that many contries got involved is also pathetic. Sadly, Gaddafi called our pres; “my son”. I still wonder about those who lost lives, families, houses and all. Reading his will is touching – he was indeed a fighter to the end.I agree with Sheila that he lives on!

  1. Gaddafi’s home town Sirte blasted into the Dark Ages « The Invisible Opportunity: Hidden Truths Revealed

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