HEALING A NATION
AMPUTEE CARE CENTER AT BAB AZIZIA MILITARY COMPOUND, TRIPOLI, LIBYA
This project is a re-purpose of Gaddafi’s recently demolished, 150 acre, Bab Azizia military and residential compound in Tripoli into a memorial park and rehabilitation center for victims of Libya’s recent revolution. The concept is to integrate and unite a community traumatized by civil war using the site not only to heal the wounded, but also to provide the local community with positive interactions within market and park environments. The master plan tells the story of the key battle which captured the Bab Azizia compound, leading to the liberation of Libya from forty-two years of tyranny.
It’s Thursday evening, six years after the Libyan revolution. Ziu prepares himself to go to the Amputee care center at Azizia Memorial Park with his family. He’s excited because this is his first appointment to get his artificial leg adjusted in town rather than abroad. He drops off his wife and daughters in Garyan Market and heads towards the recently-opened center. Approaching the building, he can see the park and honor memorials reflected in a polished metal wall. He stops for a minute at the entry to check the shiny stainless steel screen. He recalls reading an article about the screen’s pattern being derived from the victorious rebel march to Tripoli in 2011. He smiles remembering these old glory days.
He checks in and walks across the bridge that leads to the waiting room and glances at the market’s colorful activities below. In the naturally-lit waiting room, he picks up a magazine and starts reading. He feels a nice cool breeze on his skin, generated by the designed cross ventilation, and pauses. He looks out the window with views to the park. He continues reading until he hears a familiar voice, “Hello Ziu!” He turns back to see his friend Attrash coming towards him.
“ Ohhhh! How are you Attrash, long time no see! What brings you here?” Ziu asks.
“I was transferred to the physical therapy program here. Man, I can tell you, working out at the gym is much better with the views to the market. Oh, and practicing on the outdoor gait walk next to the green roof and views of the park is amazing,” Attrash affirms.
“ Ah really!! I’m looking forward to that!”
“Isn’t it amazing that we finally can meet our fellows at this center?” Attrash continues.
“ Oh yes! By the way, I heard that Obiedi is coming from Misrata for the vocational rehab program at Azizia Park. He is staying with his family here at the market hotel for few weeks,” Ziu reports.
“That’s great! The market hotel has good discounts for rehabilitation residents coming from different cities. I’ve been wanting to meet that courageous man forever. He was one of the planners and leaders of the great march to Tripoli when all the revolutionaries were coming from all around the country to fight their last battle against the tyrant,” Attrash recalls.
“Right, my cousin was in the troop coming from Az-zawya West for Tripoli. He was amazed by how cars, full of patriotic fighters, lined the highway leading to Tripol,.” Ziu confirms.
Attrash adds,“ What a great day and a great leader! I should meet with him to hear the story of how he helped breach the fortified Bab Azizia wall that eventually led to the fall of the compound.”
“ I’ll never forget that day. All of us in Benghazi were celebrating victory and we all felt the taste of freedom. Libya was announced free of Gadafi’s regime afterwards.” Ziu adds.
Meanwhile, at the market, Ziu’s wife rests from shopping with a coffee at a café. She thinks about her husband and his excitement of the park’s accessible facilities for people who had been disabled from the war. Such accessibility did not exist during the tyrant era. Her daughter interrupts her thoughts asking, “Mum, where is Dad?”
“He is at the clinic somewhere behind that shiny metal screen. You can’t really see him from here, but he can see you. He will be out soon, dear.”
At the same time in the park, Nabous’s wife walks along the water path while her seven-year-old son plays in the shallow, accessible water fountains. She gazes intently at the reflection of her beloved husband’s memorial in the pool. She smiles and calls her son to her to tell him a story behind the park’s design.
“Son, there used to be a massive concrete wall surrounding the park. It was so high and thick that no one could ever breach it, or even look towards it. The tyrant guards arrested anyone who come close to the wall,” she explains.
“Wow! What happened to the wall?” he asks.
“During the revolution, the only way to liberate Libya from Gaddafi’s regime was to capture his compound in Bab Azizia. Your father and his brave friends fought three days to break into the fortified wall and liberate the compound. All the concrete rubble from the demolished wall was used on this walking path and these pools mark where the walls used to be,” she tells.
“He did that? I’m very proud of my father mum!”
She smiles and they continue walking to the connection path to visit the rest of the memorials honoring revolution heroes. They pass by the children’s rehab playground and her son stops to play with the children there. She looks up towards the center of the park, and sees the marvelous victory memorial standing out from the horizon. Her husband did not die in vain. This joyful and healing environment is rewarding for the whole community. She and her sons leave the park, happy and satisfied.
Back at the Amputee Center, Ziu leaves his appointment with his leg adjusted, pleased for the service and for meeting old friends. He joins his wife and daughter, and walks the ground that used to be the stronghold of Libya’s oppression. He’s relieved that his sacrifice contributed to the betterment of the country.
The Narative and characters are fictional. However, they are inspired by real events happened during the Libyan Revolution in 2011.
In the honouring memory of:
Mahdi zui : was a 48-year-old suicide bomber who helped liberating Benghazi by breaching the Abu Fedeel Katiba.
Sohail Attrash: was an intensive-care doctor who was among the first to treat the injured in the frontlines.
Ali Hadouth Obiedi: was a patriotic commander who helped in liberating Misrata
Mohammad Nabbous: Nabbous was a Libyan information technologist, blogger, businessperson and civilian journalist who founded Libya Alhurra TV, the first independent broadcast news organization since Gaddafi took power in Libya.
And all Libyan Martyrs
• Steel structure with Metal Stud wall and Gypsum Boards with proper insulation
• Stainless Steel Screen
• Reclaimed concrete rubble in paths and building base