Libya: “The only thing we want is our freedom” (Audio)

This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.

Sunday, February 27 brought another day of bloodshed in Libya, as an uprising against Colonel Muammar Al Gaddafi's 40-year rule continued into the 11th day.

International media reports say Gaddafi's grip on power in Libya is weakening by the hour, but the dictator still controls a massive amount of weaponry and an untold number of soldiers and foreign mercenaries. Gaddafi's son, Seif al-Islam, paints a different picture. He says the revolution is minor, and that troops loyal to the regime are regaining control of the country. The Gaddafi's insist they plan to live-and-die in Libya.

While the future is still unclear, below are testimonies from Libyans, who continue their lives in the face of police and military violence that has already claimed the lives of hundreds.

Voices from the ground

Feb17Voices is an online initiative to record phone calls from Libyans and transcribe, translate, and share them on the web. The people behind the project are also responsible for Jan25Voices, a similar project at the height of Egypt's recent protests. One caller explains that most stores are closed in Tripoli, Libya's capital.

The situation in Tripoli is very, very tumultuous. Out of 100 stores, maybe four are opened. Even the stores open are not at ease. If there are 10 entrances, maybe one is open.

Here is a video from Tripoli uploaded by Ali Tweel, that shows people waiting for bread in Tripoli's Jraba Street.


Al Jazeera reported that many Libyans have been going missing, often kidnapped in front of their houses. A female caller from Tripoli speaks about trying to protect her family. Here is part of the transcript provided by Alive In Libya:

We are afraid, we are afraid because you know we are women, I have daughters here. Every house is armed only by knives. We have nothing else, but we have God. We believe in God, God’s here with us. We are not afraid of death.


This woman in Tripoli speaks about the thoughts and motivations of the protesters: “OK, kill us. We do or we'll be free. The only thing we want is our freedom.”


From the Libyan Youth Movement's page on Facebook, here are some notes regarding a phone call between a Libyan living in the UK and his brother who remains in Libya.

The confirmed minimum death toll in Benghazi is 800+ alone and national is 2,000 + considering those figures there are many unaccounted for missing, and the solders who refused to fight were cremated and many are also unaccounted for, so the death toll could easily be double. there has been massacres in Zawiya and other cities in the west. One of our neighbours have been missing for 3 days then found in a fridge of the hospital who was unaccounted for.

Also on Alive in Libya is a translated conversation with a radio reporter from Benghazi, who disagrees with the government's official line that all is well in Libya.

Another point I would like to make on Sayf al Islam’s comment when he said that there is no revolution in Libya and everything is fine except a few cities in the hand of terrorists. These are not terrorists Mr Ghaddafi, these are honourable and free people, and they have stood up to the collaborators you sent because you yourself are a collaborator. If you were an honourable man you would not have done what you have.

In Zawiya, a town 30 miles west of Tripoli (Gaddafi's main stronghold) international media reported the opposition have taken control. On Twitter, here are a few of the messages that appeared on Sunday.

@jrug: Zawiya locals say anti aircraft guns used against people & shooting from minaret. Rebel flag flying over main Sq, Gaddafi picture gone

@jrug: With a tank which has defected. Large crowd shouting down down with the regime – Zawiya

@EnoughGaddafi: Red crescent says cleared to get all the way to Zawiya but that security situation has changed, it is unsafe 2 travl towards #tripoli #feb17

This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.

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