A mother (C), her daughter (L), and their family friend wait in line to enter the voting booths at the Ali Oureyeth High School in Tripoli, Libya on July, 7, 2012.
The following is an excerpt from my latest piece in Egypt Independent on Libya's historic elections:
Into a sun-washed courtyard, yards away from a street full of blaring car horns and waving flags, Laila Gurgi and her husband Mohammad al Taboli step out of the Ali Oureyeth High School. The couple has just voted for the first time in their lives, and they are smiling.
“It is difficult to explain how we are feeling,” she said. “It’s like a dream. Today we touched the sky.”
A stranger, Khansaa al-Obeydi, approaches to congratulate the couple on voting.
“We suffered a lot. Today we forgot everything except our martyrs,” al-Obeydi says.
Saturday marks Libya’s first multi-party election since February 1952. There are over 2000 candidates vying for 200 seats in a new temporary assembly tasked with picking a cabinet and appointing a new prime minister. There are lingering security concerns around the country, and many worry that some groups pushing for greater autonomy in the eastern region of Cyrenaica will destabilize a country recovering from a bloody revolution. However, the residents of Tripoli today downplayed these threats and took to the streets en masse, celebrating what many see as “victory day.”
Election volunteers display their henna-stained fingers after voting at the 'Turkish-Mosque' primary school and voting center in Souk Al Jouma neighborhood of Tripoli, Libya, on July, 7, 2012.