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LIBYA: Diaspora reminisces, via Twitter

August 26, 2011 |  6:04 pm

Tasbeeh Tasbeeh Herwees, 19, is Libyan American, grew up in Cypress and is now a rising senior at the University of Southern California studying print and digital journalism. After the uprising began in Libya, she has been frequenting Twitter, Facebook and other online forums and blogging about what she sees.

Herwees has also written for The Daily Trojan and Neon Tommy, including her most recent reflection on the uprising.

Here she blogs for The Times about one discovery.

As the end of the era of Moammar Kadafi draws near, Libyans are starting to look to the future -- and reflect on the past.

A day after Libyan revolutionaries entered Tripoli and liberated it from Kadafi forces, diaspora Libyans on Twitter -- such as myself -- started a hashtag to reminisce about their time in Libya.

Tagging each tweet with #MemoriesInLibya, Libyans wrote 140-character-long recollections of visits to their homeland. The tweets were almost poetic in nature. Restricted to a few words, each one had to be chosen for the most powerful emotional impact. 

The tweets captured heartfelt family moments and memories of first visits. 

Although the initial results were touching and joyful, the tweets eventually took on a more somber tone.

Inevitably, the memories became dark, giving audiences a powerful understanding of the emotional and human impact of the crimes of the Kadafi regime. Some referenced painful events in Libya’s history, like the 1996 Abu Salim Massacre

And some evoked the fear and paranoia that wracked the lives of many Libyans, inside and outside of the country.

But it was the tweets that were tinged with regret that gave a profound insight into the psychology of diaspora communities, especially Arab ones.

Many Libyans, like Egyptians and Tunisians before them, never thought an uprising was possible in Libya and placed blame on an apathetic populace rather than the oppression they were living under. 

And still others looked to a not-too-far-off future:

Photo: Tasbeeh Herwees, 19, is a rising senior at the University of Southern California, a Libyan American closely following the uprising against Moammar Kadafi. Credit: Tasbeeh Herwees.

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