Campaigning in Buslim, one of the poorest areas in Tripoli, Myriam(pictured with pink head scarf) travels round with her campaign posters in one of the the last areas in Tripoli to fall. Buslim, in the shadows, is still largely seen as pro-Gaddaffi. The occasional green flag can be viewed flashing from a tower block, although no one will claim it, and the youth flirt with wearing the colour green as an expression of their alliance.
Myriam Al Tayab lives in Buslim, she is running as a female candidate for the area in the forth coming elections. Myriams family are split, with half her family with the revolution and the other half, having seen no visible change, are still nostalgic, clinging to the ghost that remains of ‘The Brother Leader’.
During the revolution Myriam, whilst 7months pregnant, went to fight against Gaddafi loyalists in Bani Walid, AK47 in hand alongside her devoted husband. Some would call it strength and admire her courage, others label her crazy and wonder about the psychological damage to her child.
But Myriam undeniably has spirit, and buckets of it. When campaigning in Buslim, she did not try to change peoples alliance to Gaddafi, in Free Libya she feels they should be able to have a choice. Instead she explained they would see the change in their own standard of living and from there they will change their own minds. “I will not promise you gold, swimming pools and cash handouts, but I will help improve your standards of living with clean streets, better education for your children, running water and electricity, simple things, essential things. Then you will see with your own eyes how Gaddaffi neglected you”
She also spoke about justice with a fair judicial system and ideals of reconciliation for those on the margins of society and ostracised in Free Libya. One mother( pictured above) expressed how her husband had been taken by a militia, claiming without any reason, and now she has to feed seven children without an income. A familiar story in post revolutionary Libya where everyone’s alliance is questioned and a poisonous paranoia prevails.
Many in this area are choosing to abstain from voting as their protest, this a new freedom in itself, the freedom of choice, something they would not have experienced under the old regime. Myriam has a tough task on her hands in convincing people to give her their vote and is already feeling the repercussions of her efforts.
Many of her posters have been violently defaced, slashes across her eyes, her childs face painted black and one week before the elections her parents home was attacked with a rocket propelled grenade (pictured above), luckily no one was hurt, but this reiterates the risk she takes to participate in this process of democrazisation.
The likely hood of Myriam gaining a seat is slim. Not only because she is running in an area such as Buslim, but that she is a women and an independent, without the weight and security of a party. None the less she is persistent, campaigning everyday. But ultimately she leaves the choice to fate, or rather Allah. ” I am not worried, I am doing my part for my country, and it is in the hands of God as to whether I win, the choice is not mine, I just have to do my part”. Myriam’s charm and spirit is contagious and she is touching on an issue that needs much attention and is becoming one of those buzz words being thrown around: Reconciliation. The difference is, she is out their in the street taking action, rather than just sitting in 5 star hotels talking about it.