My young neighbors –Areej, Lana, and Mariam– asked me to accompany them on their way to their very first election. They were really happy, as well as all the other people we have seen coming or going out from the voting stations.
The security folks were very friendly, and the atmosphere was like during Eid. Everybody was excited, and happy. People asked me to take a photo of their blue fingers. They were so, soooo proud!
I second Khadeejah’s report stating that Libyans are lovely people. I could not go inside [the polling station], and while waiting for the girls to come out, I was looking for a place to sit. There was a small concrete block, so I took a sheet of paper from my bag to sit on it. All of a sudden one of the security guards stood up, and gave me his chair. This is a small thing, but for me always very big appreciation.
After the voting, we went to the next shop and I bought cold juice and some sweets for the security guards. Lana was interviewed by TV Libya Hurra.
Later we joined the coloumn of all the cars heading towards the Court House. It took us hours to reach it, but it was very interesting. Loud music could be heard from each car, and people were singing.
They used to congratulate each other, showing their colored fingers. One young man asked me: “Are you a federalist?”. I told him that I am by no means a federalist, I am a foreigner. In Arabic that sounds like “Ana mish federaliya, ana ajnabiya”.
There were a lot of people at Benghazi’s Court House. Shuruq –a young girl, very well known in Benghazi since the revolution– was on the stage again. She gave a great speech, and it was so cute when she asked: “What is wrong with you, federalists?”.
People changed the famous chant and shouted: “Raise up your finger, you are a free Libyan”. They chanted to Tripoli, again: “Tripoli is the capital, Benghazi … never mind”. It is not that easy to translate, they expressed that they want Tripoli to stay the capital, and Benghazi just not to be neglected again.
Really, citizens of Benghazi are special. I mean, yes, Tripoli is the capital, but the very heart of Libya is Benghazi. All of Libya was waiting to see what will happen in Benghazi on the election day.
Dr. Agila told my husband, Abdelaziz, that in his area came the federalists, a gang of armed young boys, and took away the ballot boxes. Within not even an hour the young people from that area wanted to go to bring the boxes back, because they knew who took them. But the elders stopped them, fearing of bloodshed. New boxes were brought, and voting has started smoothly. More than 1,000 people stayed all the day in the place to secure the polling station. Most of them even have stayed over the whole night at the polling station in order to secure uninterupted elections.
Personally, I’m quite happy that a majority voted for M. Jibril’s coalition. Libyans used to tell me that they are moderate Muslims, and that they do not approve Salafists nor radical islamists. With this election they proved it. To Benghazi, to Libya, to the overly skeptical world.