Libya’s revolutionaries have reclaimed the old red, black and green flag with its star and crescent that served the kingdom from independence in 1951 to Muammar Qaddafi’s coup in 1969. They have reclaimed its anthem with its words about sacrifice, liberation and never going back to live in chains — words written in fact to commemorate the fight against the Italians.
Libyans argue Qaddafi robbed them of their identity and history – and that to rebuild their nation they must reconnect with it. Stalls in Benghazi sell revolutionary memorabilia — badges, caps, pens, key rings and other assorted items with the old/new flag. There are photos of Omar Mukhtar, the “Lion of the Dessert,” who fought the Italians. And there are pictures of former King Idris with nephew Crown Prince Hassan.
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