Celebrate Libya Sees Olympic-scale Success While World Watches On

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3rd September 2009, 09:59am - Views: 762

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Celebrate Libya Sees Olympic-Scale Success While World Watches On

TRIPOLI, Libya, September 3 /PRNewswire-Asianet/ --

    Dignitaries from around the world gathered in Tripoli's Green

Park last night to witness what has been one of Africa's largest, most

successful and most spectacular events in history. The celebration marked the

40th Anniversary of the Al Fateh Revolution on the precise date that had seen

the unpopular King Idris deposed following the country's liberation from

Italy. Guests joined Muammar Al Gaddafi, Brotherly Leader and Guide of the

Revolution, for a full schedule of activities from a military parade to an

exclusive Iftar dinner and opening ceremony designed to bring to life Libya's

rich history and culture.

    Military precision

    The celebrations launched with a perfectly executed military

parade involving troops from countries across the world. African nations such

as Senegal and Algeria participated alongside European countries including

Italy and Ukraine, marching to music and bearing their national flags. Troops

from Greece and the French Foreign legion also participated. The soldiers

were followed by a full artillery of military vehicles, from trucks to tanks,

some carrying and anti-aircraft weaponry while naval vessels passed by

offshore. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, King Abdullah of Jordan, Emir

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani from Qatar, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah

al-Ahmed al-Sabah, Tunisia's President Ben Ali, Algeria's President Abdelaziz

Boutaflika, Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Benin's President Karekou

were amongst the VIP audience as the Frecce Tricolori, Italian acrobatic

planes, flew in formation over the parade ground and around Tripoli's

beautiful coastline.

    VIP Iftar

    Close by dignitaries made their way a specially designed

dining area, constructed to float atop the water of the Red Castle lake. A

lantern-lit path from the bank of the lake to the VIP iftar was created in

front of the Red Castle outer wall onto which unique projections were placed.

The projections mark the beginning of what is known as 'Libya by Light', a

week-long schedule of Libya inspired images across six of the country's key

cities. Some of the best international brands were brought in to offer a new

dimension to the proceedings; the meal itself was designed and prepared by

acclaimed Parisian restaurant Le Notre and guests were given limited edition

gold Chopard watches with outline of Africa on the face and a diamond marking

Libya within it.

    Libya takes to the stage

    As hundreds of performers prepared themselves for their grand

debut on what is considered by organizers to be one of the largest tent-like

stages to have ever been constructed, dignitaries arrived in golf kart

manufactured by the likes of Hummer and Cadillac. Joined by the Leader's

family, further guests attended the opening ceremony included Turkey first

lady, Prime Minister, Amina Erdogan, Ukrainian Prime Minister Ioulia

Tymochenko, French Minister for Co-operation Alain Joyandet and the President

of Chad Idriss Deby and the President of Niger Mamadou Tandja. And the show

certainly impressed; acrobats, lasers, projections and illuminated sculptures

of animals all came together to give the show a sense of style, grandeur and


    The story of Libya was told using a combination of dance,

music and lights starting from the earliest days of Libyan civilization

through to modern times. Sheshonq, a pharaoh of Libyan origin emerged from

the towering sphinx to crowds of awestruck 'followers'. The full height of

the huge stage was alive with movement as aerial displays of acrobatics

depicted both the beauty of Libyan nature and the Great Man-Made River and

the architectural splendor of Libya's ancient occupiers.

    During the performance mounted horsemen also galloped across

the stage, adding a very visual dimension to the story of Omar Al Mukhtar,

the revolutionary attributed with leading the Libyan people in a revolt

against the Italians. This visionary leader, played by Anthony Quinn in

celebrated filmed Lion of the Desert, opened a section of films highlighting

milestones in modern Libyan times. Never before seen photos of the Leader's

private life and family showed a lesser seen side of Gaddafi over the years,

viewed by all on full size screens on stage. Images of Libya both past and

present were projected onto screens of water before a Volkswagen Beetle was

driven on stage, representing an early trip taken across Libya by the Leader.

Audiences were also given the opportunity to relive through archive footage

the many highlights of the Leader's forty years, his challenges and

successes, the central idea of his Third Universal Theory, the Green Book,

and his first communique announcing the establishment of the republic in

1969, replacing the monarchy.

    Celebrate Africa

    A celebration of Africa was a core part of the performance,

with lively dancing, costume, colour and singing. Giant illuminated African

animal structures glowed in the darkness of the street representing the

diversity of African wildlife. It was also during this celebration of Africa

that a new monument to Africa and its Union was unveiled on Tripoli's

'corniche', with African national flags uncurling with dramatic precision and


    The celebration closed with a spectacular firework display, launched from

ships offshore. The show's grand finale was a spectacular fireworks display

orchestrated by the French company, Group F, who are credited with some of

the most impressive light displays including the Eiffel Tower's Millennium

Celebrations. Lasting over seven minutes, the 2,500 fireworks stunned crowds

of people as well as guests closing the awe-inspiring opening celebration.

    The grand celebration sets in motion a week of unprecedented events

scheduled to sweep through the country in an effort to introduce some of

Libya national treasures to the world. Surrounded by the Sahara dunes, in

Ghadames, VIPs will witness tribal touareg horse shows accompanied by

traditional music and dance. The location will also host the largest fleet of

hot air balloons launched, with each of the 40 proudly displaying an African

country flag. Concerts featuring both international and Arab music will be

set in some of the world's best preserved sites of world heritage such as

Leptis Magna and Sabratha, while images and lights will be projected on

monuments in cities across the country.

    With Celebrate Libya, attention has been brought to bear on

the nation with so much to offer. International investors had already long

been eyeing Libya and its emerging industries. Ranked as the second

wealthiest country in Africa and the continent's largest oil producer, the

'Gateway to Africa' has already privatized more than 100 companies in the

last six years in industries including oil refining, tourism and real estate,

with 29 of them being 100 percent foreign owned.

    The government anticipates tourist arrivals to reach ten

million within eleven years and major contracts for hotels to accommodate

them are increasingly underway. With decades of sanctions, Libya's five

UNESCO World Heritage sites have laid hidden yet magnificently preserved. The

ruins are some of the largest outside of Rome, and cities throughout the

country exhibit remnants of Phoenician, Greek, Ottoman and Byzantine

conquests. Last night's celebrations offered at least a glimpse into the

country's rich 14,000 year history.

People Travel Celebrate Libya 3 image

    For access to full media materials, visit

http://www.celebratelibyapress.com. This site will be updated with new

materials and images throughout the week's events


    - Bushra Hamwi

    - Rebecca Farquhar

    - Luiza Carter

    - Jordana Tasker - +218-917171294

    Or celebratelibya@greybeirut.com


SOURCE:  Celebrate Libya

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