Sunday February 17th 2013 marked the second anniversary of the uprising in Libya that led to the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Celebrations in Benghazi began on Friday and continued through the weekend. Over 2,000 Libyans waving flags and singing national songs gathered at the courthouse where people gave patriotic celebratory speeches.
“You cannot imagine how I feel today, the joy is immense,” Arbiya, a 24-year old engineering student said while in Martyrs Square, tears in her eyes as she carried a picture of her brother who died fighting Gaddafi forces in the 2011 conflict.
Despite the thousands of people happily celebrating, there were others voicing their discontent and disappointment with the current situation in Libya. “I am not celebrating, I am not carrying a flag,” said Ahmed al-Mijbari as fireworks exploded over his head. “I am here stranding for my right, for the east and to put a stop to centralization.” In the east citizens are pushing for a federal political structure and all around the country many are unhappy that the government has yet to disarm the militia and write a new constitution.
National Congress leader Mohammed Magarief addressed the crowd in Benghazi saying “We admit that we have not fulfilled our duties completely. Maybe the excuse is a lack of experience, but we have started from scratch and we will learn from the lessons we learned in the past months”.