By John Ballard
I became a Holly Pickett fan during the Egyptian excitement. I forget now who made the original recommendation, but whoever it was knew a treasure when he or she found it. She's new to Twitter. Her profile reflects only 215 messages. But I'm impressed already.
Photojournalist Holly Pickett grew up in Butte, Montana. She earned degrees in journalism and history from the University of Montana in Missoula.
Holly was a staff photographer at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., from 2002 - 2007. She participated in the Missouri Photo Workshop in 2003. In early 2008 she moved to Cairo, Egypt, to pursue a freelance career. She was a 2008 Arthur F. Burns Fellow at the Sueddeutsche Zeitung in Munich, Germany.
Holly has worked in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Tunisia, Jordan, Oman, Gaza, Morocco and all over Egypt.
Her work has appeared in The New York Times, TIME, Newsweek, Stern, NPR.org, Elle, The Times (London), Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, The National (Abu Dhabi), USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, The Australian, and Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
I tried to use the new Storify format to capture yesterday's tweets in story form, but couldn't figure our how to navigate. (No way to clear an unwanted timeline or arrange messages chronologically. Better than before but still not user-friendly.
Encountered real, live Gaddafi supporters for the first time in #Sirte yesterday. I didn't receive a visa for Tripoli and the Rixos.
It was the first time I encountered fervent supporters. I asked what could bring peace to Libya and they said only Gaddafi. #Nuts.
They should be allowed to express their opinions in the new #Libya. They were understandably upset at the destruction in #Sirte.
But I find it unsettling that they still support #Gaddafi, even after he's dead. 42 years of privilege and propaganda blinded them?
Some people were hostile toward me, a Western journalist. I am perceived as siding with the revolutionaries and helping to destroy #Sirte.
@StopWarCrimes I listened to them with as much respect and concern as anyone else. They have a right to express themselves.
When I asked how Libyans could live together peacefully? "Only Gaddafi can bring peace." Maybe they were in shock?
I also met a couple of #Sirte families living in Mauritania, a part of town previously occupied by African guest workers.
One guy offered to show us his home in the destroyed area District 2, #Sirte. It was the last neighborhood to fall to rebels.
District 2 is where Col. #Gaddafi was believed to be in hiding up to the day he and the convoy made a run for it.
We went to the man's house. A live shell was in his garage. He pointed to the home next door which had been destroyed by fire.
We were invited to visit the burned home by the woman who lived there. She was married to a #Gaddafi and had 4 children, big house.
The house was burned to a crisp, and the top floor was mere rubble covered by a roof. Rebels had written "Zenga, zenga" on the wall.
...back to the woman whose house was burned and "zenga zenga" written on the wall: her husband was high in #Gaddafi security dept.
This according to the man who used to be her neighbor and brought me to Dist. 2 to see his destroyed house.
He said the woman's husband gave all the neighbors weapons to fight against the rebels. The husband is now hiding somewhere.
He said he was afraid of this family, his neighbors. When rebel forces entered #Sirte, he and his wife and kids fled.
It goes without saying that one of the biggest challenges facing any legitimate authority in the emergent post-Qadaffi Libya will be how best to represent that portion of the population who truly believes that their leader was not the person they thought he was. Many, especially the older generation, will simply have to pass on before Qadaffi's shadow no longer darkens the Libyan political landscape. And even then tribal resentments will remain among the next generations. Anyone in America who doubts this reality has not lived in the South.