Bunkered down with Uncle Curly

Today, Foreign Policy is lucky to play host to Ryan Calder’s Benghazi diary. Calder, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, has been blogging from Libya since he arrived there four days before the international intervention began. He is now based in Benghazi. One of the details we at FP loved ...

ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images
ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images
ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images

Today, Foreign Policy is lucky to play host to Ryan Calder's Benghazi diary. Calder, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, has been blogging from Libya since he arrived there four days before the international intervention began. He is now based in Benghazi.

One of the details we at FP loved the most about his piece is his observation of the rebels' nickname for embattled Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi: "Uncle Curly." Calder notes how graffiti denouncing Qaddafi is ubiquitous in Benghazi:

Spray paint, incidentally, is vital in revolutions. When you liberate a building, you spray-paint your slogans on it. When you come across a destroyed enemy tank, you spray-paint that too. Someone tagged this one "Athar Bu Shafshufah": "Uncle Curly's Ruins."

Today, Foreign Policy is lucky to play host to Ryan Calder’s Benghazi diary. Calder, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, has been blogging from Libya since he arrived there four days before the international intervention began. He is now based in Benghazi.

One of the details we at FP loved the most about his piece is his observation of the rebels’ nickname for embattled Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi: "Uncle Curly." Calder notes how graffiti denouncing Qaddafi is ubiquitous in Benghazi:

Spray paint, incidentally, is vital in revolutions. When you liberate a building, you spray-paint your slogans on it. When you come across a destroyed enemy tank, you spray-paint that too. Someone tagged this one "Athar Bu Shafshufah": "Uncle Curly’s Ruins."

Uncle Curly, of course, is Muammar al-Qaddafi. The colonel’s hair gets a lot of attention in this country. Caricatures highlighting his famous ‘do now cover the walls of central Benghazi.

And in a later entry, describing the scene along the road from Ajdabiya to Benghazi:

The atmosphere here is even more carnivalesque than at the other site. One dad walks his young son and daughter across the street, while another helps his kid up onto a tank and hands him a rebel flag, posing him with it for a picture. Passing drivers rubberneck and clog traffic, honking and taking pictures on their camera-phones as they move down the highway. Tractor-trailers pass by, hauling tanks and MRLs taken intact from the enemy, with the rebel flag planted atop them, ready to be recycled by the rebels. On a destroyed tank across the street, someone has spray-painted "Rabish Bu Shafshifah: Al-Bi’ah bi-l-Jumlah" — "Uncle Curly’s Junk: All for Sale."

For more photos of the graffiti of the Libyan revolution, click here.

Suzanne Merkelson is an editorial assistant at Foreign Policy.

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