Tripoli, Libya: Martyr’s Square (Photo)

Martyr Square Tripoli

Martyr’s Square, Tripoli, Libya on a Friday afternoon.

This is the area of the former “Green Square” where Qaddafi gave his hours-long crackpot speeches. It now has a carnival atmosphere on the weekends. Families are out, into the evening, and according to the informal interviews I did, most seem quite happy with the new political situation.

Photography by Juan Cole, late May, 2012

4 Responses

  1. I have a question about the women in the picture. I lived in Tripoli in 1975 for about 1 year. At that time adult women wore a white cloth over the head that extended to the ground and they held it so that only one eye was showing. It was not tailored to form, just a sheet. That is how almost all Libyan adult women appeared in public. It was called a baracan (phonetic spelling). Western women in reasonably modest western clothes were not bothered, i.e. no head scarfs.

    School aged girls wore school uniforms much like the students at Catholic girls schools did in America but with the addition of long pants under the dresses.

    The women in the picture would have been scandalous to the Libyans of 1975. Has their society changed that much? Is it because of the revolution or just natural change over the 35 years?

    • They are wearing standard Muslim Brotherhood garb, seen all around the Arab world, and while Qaddafi didn’t like it, he appears to have permitted it in the last couple of decades. . They’re pretty typical of how most Libyan women dress in public. Of course, upper class women wear Western clothing and go bareheaded, but that is a strong class marker.

  2. Wow, what a hell hole. I’m pretty sure that guy in the plaid shirt is torturing someone right now.

    Those two women look awfully close. Are they a militia?

  3. Juan, what are you talking about? Bear-head without hijab is not a mark of the upper class at all, where did u get that from?? Most women wear western clothing with a hair cover, hijab. That is what most Libyan women women wear. Very few wear the black Abaya, and again minority go bear headed.

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