It’s Not Easy Being Green
The Economist reports this week on the current life of Qadhafi loyalists in Muammar Qadhafi’s hometown of Sirte. Qadhafi supporters have taken to expressing their opposition to the new political order by wearing the color green, emblematic of Qadhafi’s rule, as well as displaying other small tokens showing their continued devotion to the dead dictator. Current laws prevent political parties from supporting Qadhafi’s Green Book philosophy, or any other overt ‘glorification’ of the former regime, and identifying oneself as a Qadhafi supporter risks attracting unwanted attention from the armed militias that view themselves as guardians of the revolution, enacting vigilante justice in absence of sufficient numbers of a trained official police force. As explained in the article ‘Where Green Refuses to Fade’:
Nervous of openly confessing their nostalgia, Sirte’s people practise their cult in code. Some dress in green, or less ostentatiously sport a green cigarette-lighter or key-ring. In some homes the colonel’s portrait still adorns the sitting-room wall. Others keep albums of the dictator’s weirdest costumes on their mobile phones.
What the article does not address is whether display of these markings associated with Qadhafi is merely a subversive expression of dislike of the new government, or whether these symbols, proving the conspiracy theorists right, are indicative of organized bands of Qadhafi loyalists planning acts of violence to undermine the new government. Some of the bombings and attacks against government officials since October 2012 are rumored to be revenge attacks by Qadhafi supporters.