“When it’s all said and done, the writing on the wall will tell the story of civilization…”For all the readers out there with big Baghdad & Burka dreams of being the next the de-facto leader of a small Middle Eastern country, here’s some advice. You can’t run around dressed like Earth, Wind and Fire, blowing millions on ES Viagra and dead weight Italian football clubs while your country is 2 camels farts away from going to shit. If you do opt for such tom foolery, remember, you can stop the flow of the interwebs, but you can’t stop you people from going hard in the paint.
Shortly after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, things started to get a little heated in Lybia’s port city of Benghazi. Around the middle of January, pissed of about political corruption and a slow moving gov’t housing system, the people decided it was time to get a little gully. By the middle of February…BOOOM! Benghazi is the ground zero of the Libyan Civil War, which could have been prevented if General Muammar Gaddafi just took his Amazon bodyguards and got the hell out of dodge.
Instead, he shuts down the innanets and tells the world that everything is good in the hood . Protest leaders turn up missing. Civilians are fired on with live rounds. Things aren’t looking up like they did for Egypt. The citizens of Libya are now The Libyan Rebel Army. And what does every primo rebel army always have on deck? Propaganda. Well they found it. In Benghazi and all over the country, a new generation of artists started taking Gaddafi’s already busted mug and turning it into ridiculing works of graf /street art. Visuals in place, the city’s new color provide the much-needed morale boosters for civilians and the Gaddafi opposition.
Up until recently this “new art” movement had a general as well. When trouble broke out months prior, in Tunisia and Egypt, Kais-al-Hilali and his newly formed ‘Furious Nation’ Crew reached out to activists of both countries in search of a blueprint that would set them on their path to freedom. At first they started protesting on Facebook, but on February 17, 2011, Gaddafi supporters proceeded to blast on Benghazi protesters with live round ammo. Furious Nation new at that point that no progress would be made using a Mahatma Ghandi playbook.
Kais was there for the first Libyan victory at Gaddafi’s Khattiba military barracks on February 20, but instead of storming for his own stockpile of weapns, he bombed the Khattiba walls. His piece of Gaddafi hanging beside the rebels’ two-fingered victory gave him legendary status and it sparked the next wave of urban assault visual strategists.
The most strategic locations in Benghazi were hit by al-Hilali’s signature style and most importantly his message. More artists were getting up, which meant more Anti Gadaffi antics. It also meant Vandal Squad. Not the donut cops either, These goons make Joseph Rivera and the NYPD Task Force look missionaries, because right after painting a piece called “Monkey of Monkeys”, 31 year old Kais al-Hilali was ambushed at a bogus checkpoint. A bullet through the neck at point blank range made him an All City martyr.
There are now more writers than Gaddafi can keep up with. The Furious Nation is still running shit, but they are doing it under a new name. The name of the crew is now Kais al-Hilali, after the General. They continue to grind at an undisclosed location in Benghazi.
When the uprising began, al-Halali and his friends started drawing pieces on paper and then handed them out them around the city for people to show at demonstrations or hang on walls, one of the crew, Akram al-Bruki, said.
“He got a message to stop”, al-Bruki continues. It was delivered by Gaddafi’s security agents before they were chased out of the eastern part of city. “But he didn’t stop. When we started doing this we swore that no one would stop us.” #cantbestopped
With not even 5 years running, Lybia’s graffiti scene already has an old school, and a new school. Due to the circumstances everybody getting up is true school.
“Schools are still closed and many shops still empty; the rebels continue the struggle to form a government-in-limbo – but they already have two news channels, dozens of newspapers, untold media committees, a dedicated recording studio for anti-Gaddafi rappers and extravagant graffiti on almost every blank wall in Benghazi.” ~ Jerome Starkey for theaustralian.com