Scene From Benghazi: An Old Glory With 11 Stripes : The Two-Way Anti-Gadhafi rebels are eager to fly the flags of countries friendly to their cause, but finding a flag is near impossible in Libya, so the rebels have to make their own.
NPR logo Scene From Benghazi: An Old Glory With 11 Stripes

Scene From Benghazi: An Old Glory With 11 Stripes

A homemade American flag flies over Benghazi. Martin Kaste/NPR hide caption

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Martin Kaste/NPR

If the U.S. flag in this photo looks a little improvised, it's because it is. In Benghazi, Libya, anti-Gadhafi rebels are eager to fly the flags of countries friendly to their cause: Qatar, Italy, France and the United States. The trouble is, the American flag is not exactly an off-the-shelf consumer item in Libyan stores. So these are homemade. This one has only eleven stripes, but it still makes its point.

These flags are outside the Tibesty Hotel, which is the main crossroads for rebel officials, international envoys and aid groups (not to mention journalists).

I've also seen the U.S., French and Italian colors painted on a wall in the eastern city of Tobruk.

But the most popular flag by far is the red, black and green flag of pre-Gadhafi Libya. (Gadhafi changed the flag to all green.) These are everywhere, sold as souvenirs, fluttering from cars, draped from balconies. And, given the fact that these were also frowned upon here until the rebellion, they're also mainly homemade.