Ali, a Misrata freedom fighter hit by a Gaddafi Grad on May 13 (source)
News report after Twitter update after Facebook status, my mind wanders beyond belief. Are my family ok? What about my neighbours? My land, how much of it has he destroyed?
Benghazi is safe. That's good. What about the rest? Misurata, Zintan, Zawiya, Tripoli, the list is endless. If we fail to free them, he will return with vengeance.
The battle on the ground is heart-wrenching. Lives torn to shreds, the buried dug up so that their simple right to rest in peace is taken away. Mothers and children running in fear into the desert, into emptiness, while their husbands and fathers protect their land. Boys as young as eight falling victim to rape, along with their sisters and mothers. Young men, Libya's future, are fighting on the frontline with little or no training. They are fighting for our freedom. Soldiers breaking down doors and pulling the young men and children out of their homes, their crime -- crying out for freedom, for basic human rights. Snipers positioned on the roofs of buildings with orders to kill any male between the ages of thirteen and thirty. Hospitals and mosques destroyed, along with the attempted banning of prayer. The stopping of food, medicine, and water from reaching the cities.
All of this, and we have suffered more at the hands of his rule the past forty two years.
We feel helpless, completely and utterly helpless. Living abroad, with no means of reaching adequately to our people. Charity events are springing up everywhere to raise money and awareness. Protests are being held weekly, if not, bi-weekly worldwide. In the meantime, another form of battle for Libya has surfaced.
The Libyan Virtual Revolution
It began as groups and pages forming on Facebook / Twitter to report confirmed news. People, who have never met supporting one another from across the globe, lending a word of encouragement, sympathy, a simple word that would bring a smile to our faces, if even momentarily. We were a strong 3000 members that were not giving up on our country.
I would log on, at home and in work, looking for news, support and comfort. It became a necessity. A virtual force that kept me strong. Little was I aware at the time that other groups had been forming and increasing in numbers rapidly.
We came across a pro-Gaddafi group that consisted of approximately 300 members. They were posting information against the freedom fighters, NATO, UK, France etc I, along with 6 other members of a group decided to go in and post our beliefs and the true voice of Libya. With every fact, article and video we posted, we were subjected to abuse, threats, insults and later our posts were deleted and we were blocked.
In the meantime, another group surfaced, pro-Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, which consisted of 575 members, and within 2 hours dropped to 543 when we voiced our concerns regarding Libya.
This resulted in the formation of the FLVA (Free Libyan Virtual Army) on Facebook. Created by Libyan people of different backgrounds that had one voice. We are from Ireland, UK, Sweden, Egypt, Canada, USA and many more countries.
It began as a small group, no more than seven. Within 24 hours it grew to 197 and today, five days later, there are 317 dedicated virtual soldiers and we are growing strong.
Our sole goal is to spread the voice of the Libyan people. The real reasons why we are so dedicated to this revolution. The atrocities we have been subjected to over the years and how Gaddafi ruled with an iron fist.
We are dedicated to opening the minds and eyes of the people within these groups. To show them the truth behind the lies, the light that has been overshadowed by him and his regime.
Our first few attempts resulted in us coming across many more of these groups. As a matter of fact, we have uncovered 74 to date. Frighteningly, 80% of them are formed and consist of non-Libyans. With an astonishing number of Serbian and Russian supporters, who are the most abusive of them all.
We also came across Gaddafi's virtual army. The Libyan Green Electronic Army, consisting of 789 members.