BENGHAZI, Libya – From Tunisia to Egypt, Bahrain to Libya, the mantra of revolution has been written on the walls.
The once-silent masses have found their voice in this so-called Arab Spring and their message is ringing from podiums, newly-founded radio stations, and carved into the foundations of Tunis, Cairo, Manama, Benghazi: "Enough."
Benghazi, the provisional capital of the interim Libyan government and heart of the revolution, has been transformed from a muted, seaside city into a sounding board for the frustrations that have long simmered here. Rebuilt with the country's newly found oil wealth after being destroyed in World War II, Benghazi was designed to be a gleaming showpiece of modern Libya. But these days, the whitewashed buildings are covered in graffiti.
On the side of a building “we don’t want Ghadafi” is written over a Star of David (rumors have spread across eastern Libya and the Arab media that Gaddafi is secretly a Jew). On the ubiquitous green doors of the city’s shops is the scrawled message “we need freedom.” And then the ever pervasive use of “dictator,” “murderer,” and “devil."
After almost 42 years of life under a dictator who most in this part of Libya believe is insane, the people are eager to express their anger, which has been surpressed for decades. Many have picked up a gun and left for the front lines. Some sit in the Benghazi courthouse struggling the build a government from the ground up. Others have picked up a pen, a paintbrush, or a spray can, filling the city with pro-revolution graffiti and even putting up a makeshift art exhibition along the waterfront.
The work ranges from funny to sad, scrawled messages to detailed, subtle works. But it all shares this: the subject is Gaddafi, and none of it is flattering.