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Sci Tech

Thanks to Ultimate Sacrifices, Pop Culture-Media Scene Springs to Life in Libya

By Tawfik Mansurey  Posted by Mac McKinney (about the submitter)     Permalink
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By a stroke of luck, I found a student of mine -- my job prior to the revolution was also acting as the director of International House Benghazi, an English language school. As I stood and chatted with my student in front of the burned out building of Gadhafi's internal security, he informed me of the establishment of the 17th of February Media Centre upstairs.

I was taken upstairs. Although all the walls in the room were black and charred, the centre was buzzing with life and activity. Many of the people were familiar faces and I let out a sigh of relief that there was some sort of organization to all this chaos and madness.

The second floor of the internal security building had about 10 rooms. As I walked up the stairs, to my left was a square shaped corridor which lead to a room where people were writing anti-Gadhafi slogans on placards, while others were drawing mainly caricature pictures of Gadhafi and his sons.

Further to the left of the square-shaped corridor was a room covered by a makeshift curtain. Inside was a rectangular table full of young men working tirelessly into the night on computers, whose main job was to take videos from the people and put them online so that the world could see the sheer brutality and excessive use of force used by the regime to quell and silence the peaceful protestors. Further inside were three other rooms which had been turned into studios where young rappers and rock bands were busy singing their new tunes.

On the right of the stairs, there was a long corridor with many offices that were also full of people working through the late hours of the night, from journalists and radio announcers to administrative staff who ran the whole operation.

What an irony that the burned out building of Gadhafi's internal security - which previously was the Supreme Court building -- was to be the podium where the truth of Gadhafi's crimes against humanity would be transmitted for all the world to see.

The Media Centre soon became a hub for foreign correspondents -- as it had internet access, journalists could also find out the latest news, receive previously prepared CD's documenting the atrocities committed, even hook up with translators and drivers to arrange any trips to the front lines.

It didn't take my friends long to take advantage of my English skills and soon I found a new job writing humorous placards with anti-Gadhafi slogans and political statements to be used by protestors.

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Each passing day something new would come up. My job evolved and soon I was testing would-be translators and then arranging for them to work with the many national correspondents from all the major media sources from Aljazeera, BBC, CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times and many more. At the same time, we were all following the news concerning the revolution in Libya.

One correspondent from the BBC clearly described it as a roller-coaster ride of events. That was exactly the way people felt during those difficult times. One minute your spirits were up and the next you were paralysed with fear and horror over what would happen if Gadhafi's reign of terror were to return.

We all grew up together in those first critical weeks of the revolution. We also developed a bond of brotherhood in the shadows of that burned out building and accomplished the impossible by focusing the world's attention on the plight of the Libyan people.

The 17th of February Media Centre has now been moved to the building just behind the main courthouse, but that spirit of giving that it began with is still present there today. Through the voluntary work of the men and women of Libya it continues to be a beacon of light in the valley of darkness.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those men and women who have participated in the success of the 17th of February Media Centre in presenting the true picture of the Libyan people to the world.

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We pray for the souls of our dear friends and colleagues Mohamed Nabbous, Kais al-Hilali, and Rami al-Kaleh who, through their selfless efforts and sacrifice, lead their people to the road of freedom and dignity -- Rest in Peace.

Libya Post Ed 6

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