Before the civil war broke out in Libya, Libyan politics was very simple – you were either with the regime, or against it. The first category could, in turn, be split into two sub-categories – those who benefited from the regime and lived lavish lifestyles, and those who were very poor, but yet still supported Gaddafi.
As for the latter, there are two explanations as to why Gaddafi was able to gain their “support”. Firstly, the psychological phenomenon, Stockholm Syndrome – when an oppressed individual develops an emotional bond to their oppressor and in extreme cases, goes as far as to defend their oppressor. Some Libyans went even further and developed the notion that Gaddafi was some sort of demi-god, a Messenger/Prophet sent to better their lives. Secondly, fear was a weapon used by Gaddafi throughout his reign, but during the uprising, it was put into overdrive. Families were threatened that their loved ones would be killed if they did not take to the streets and “show their support for the brother leader.”
17th February 2011, saw what many older Libyans thought they would never witness in their lifetimes – the uprising of the Libyan people. Starting from the east, and with the help of Libyans from the north, south, east and west, Gaddafi's grip on the country began to loosen. Up until this point, Libyan politics was still relatively simple in that you were either now fighting for Gaddafi, or against him.